Debate Remainders: Autos and Audiences
A supporting role in last night's Republican primary debate was played by the host state of Michigan, home to the American auto industry.
This state is personal for frontrunner Mitt Romney. He was born there. His father served as governor. He launched his last presidential campaign from the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation in Dearborn, wrapping himself in the Americana that the auto industry represents.
Fast forward to 2011. This campaign was launched from New Hampshire to show Romney's paramount focus on the state hosting the first primary. And when Romney came to Michigan yesterday, he was reminded of his response to the proposed government bailout of his beloved auto industry: "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.''
Second, the audience.
The crowd's response in several of the debates has been as interesting as the candidates themselves. Remember when they heckled the gay soldier? Cheered for the death penalty? Hooted at the idea of a man dying without insurance?
Well last night, when Herman Cain was asked about allegations that he sexually harassed female employees when he headed the National Restaurant Association, the audience booed its disapproval. And when the questions turned back to the economy, they cheered.
Is the Republican electorate is as disinterested in the allegations as last night's crowd in Michigan?