Maintaining support for the domestic auto industry is a critical national security issue, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) asserted Thursday.

"I don't see this as being a Democrat-or-Republican issue," Kucinich said of the auto industry's health during an appearance on Bloomberg News, "I see it as a national security issue."

"America has to have the capacity to make the cars, steel, aerospace, and to make ships -- otherwise we can't defend this country," the Cleveland-based Democrat explained. "And somehow, that's not even being included in the discussion."

Kucinich's district is one of many in the rust belt affected by the downturn in auto manufacturing. President Obama's cabinet members will visit Cleveland and other Midwest cities next week.

Kucinich also urged Obama to become more involved in GM and Chrysler's day-to-day operations, so that the companies would better favor workers.

"I'm not for the government running these industries," he said. "But I'll tell you one thing: if we own it, we ought to be running it," he added of the companies.

"And we ought to be running it in the interest of the American workers and the American taxpayers," Kucinich continued. "The administration has a responsibility to get involved in the day to day operations."