FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. -- Declaring "we need to move forward" with new leadership in Washington, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder endorsed Mitt Romney for president at a chamber of commerce luncheon here today.
"The job is not getting done, and we need the leadership in Washington to get that job done, and to do that, you need the right people leading the charge. And we have a person in Governor Romney who has that background," Snyder said. "He has a great combination of private sector experience, of knowing what it takes to create a job, and how difficult that is, how to succeed in the private sector. He also brings that experience of being the chief executive of a state, of understanding what it’s to be in the public sector. And to be successful in running a state. That’s the experience we need in Washington."
Snyder, who like Romney is a former venture capital chief executive and data-obsessive, ran under the mantra "One Tough Nerd," and defeated the Romney-backed Pete Hoekstra in a Republican primary, before winning the governorship outright in the fall of 2010. Today, he adopted one of of Romney's favorite targets in giving his endorsement: the lack of business understanding in Washington, D.C.
“I was amazed in government at how little understanding there is of business. It shocked me to see how many people in government had never spent any time in business," Snyder said. "And yet the economy, business, is what drives the revenues of government, and the well-being of our citizens. And yet they don’t understand it.”
After accepting the endorsement and praising Snyder, Romney peppered his speech with Michigan nostalgia. He mentioned his love of the state's lakes, the automobile industry, and said even the height of the trees seemed right here in his home state. Less prominent in this speech? The anti-union, anti auto-bailout rhetoric that has been the hallmark of Romney's campaign stops in Michigan thus far. Snyder has taken moderate positions on both issues. He has called the auto-bailout a necessary step to save the industry, and has not made passage of right-to-work legislation a priority, as Romney has promised to do if elected.
"I love the auto industry; I want to see it thrive and grow," Romney said. "I’m glad it went through a managed bankruptcy process, which I recommended from the very beginning, to shed unnecessary costs and get its footing again. I’m delighted it's profitable. In my view, this auto industry can continue to lead the world and must continue to lead the world to keep Detroit with a vibrant and prosperous future."
The Romney campaign doubtlessly hopes Snyder's rising approval rating here will also lift Romney in what's widely seen as a must-win state for him. A Detroit News poll released today showed Romney trailing former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum by four points, 34 to 30, with 12 days to go until the Michigan primary.