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QUICK TAKE: Rick Santorum Hasn’t Cornered the Market on Rust Belt Outreach QUICK TAKE: Rick Santorum Hasn’t Cornered the Market on Rust Belt Ou...

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2012 State of the Union / WHITE HOUSE

QUICK TAKE: Rick Santorum Hasn’t Cornered the Market on Rust Belt Outreach

photo of Jim O'Sullivan
January 24, 2012

Touting his administration’s “bet on American workers” and nourishment of the domestic auto industry through the Detroit bailout, President Obama early in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night cited cities struggling with post-industrial changes.

“What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries,” Obama said. “It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.” He went on to describe a unionized plant in Milwaukee returning to “full capacity” for the first time in 15 years.

Those cities have something else in common. They’re all at the center of the economies in pivotal swing states. Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin all went for Obama four years ago, but they’re part of a quadrennial Midwestern tug-of-war that could prove pivotal this year.

 

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s message on behalf of “old economy” industries has garnered him support in the GOP primary, particularly among blue-collar Republican populists, as he frequently describes a commitment to manufacturing on the campaign trail. Obama’s dwelling on Rust Belt resurgence Tuesday night signaled his unwillingness to cede that ground.

 

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