Mitchell Reports | August 28, 2012
>>> republican presidential candidate has not won michigan in nearly a quarter century, 22 years. but mitt romney was born there. his father served as governor of michigan . so joining me now, republican governor of michigan , rick snyder, and still with us, tom brokaw , nbc's special correspondent . governor, first of all, michigan is a must-win state but our information is that the romney campaign has not put up a big ad buy in michigan . have they given up on michigan ?
>> not at all. they have been active there. they just came, romney and ryan came from an early event just last week or so. they turned out 8,000 people in commerce township . it was a wonderful event. they're doing well in michigan . i just encourage them to keep going because most people assume michigan 's going to be a democratic state , and it has for many past presidential elections , but in 2010 , we swept statewide for republicans and have made a huge difference there. we're re-inventing our state. it's very exciting. we're the come-back state in the united states .
>> partly perhaps because of auto bailout money?
>> well, i wouldn't describe it that way. the auto bailout is something that needed to take place. it could have been done a lot of different ways. it got done but if you look at it, i would give credit to people in the companies for really re-inventing their companies. if you look at, ford was doing well without the bankruptcy, went on and did well. the leadership of chrysler turned over, they're doing great. gm's doing well. so you got to give a lot of credit to the people that are in these companies working hard, turning out great products. in michigan , we've had agriculture come back, we've had other industries come back. tourism. tour michigan . we're hitting on all cylinders and only being held back by the mess in washington.
>> the fact is, governor, the auto industry , especially general motors , couldn't have made the kind of comeback they did without the infusion of federal money and the determination of the early part of the obama administration to reorganize under the terms that they did.
>> what i would say is it was good it got done and i appreciate that, because it wasn't about the bankruptcy of two companies. it was about the automotive supply chain and it got done. there were other ways it could have been done but the point is it's history. it was a positive history. the question on michiganders minds is they respect that. the issue what is are we doing for jobs today, tomorrow and for the future of our kids. i view it as people should talk about it, acknowledge that it worked and just move on and focus on what's on people's minds today. how are we going to get the job for our kids coming out of school and how do we move forward for the people that still need a job.
>> what's going to happen to detroit ?
>> the city in terms of -- it's a challenge but the thing is, we've worked hard to build a good partnership. i viewer the mayor and city council , they should be running detroit and at the state level we are trying to be a good partner. all of us need to come together to say a couple things. one, we need to get the financial stability for the finances of the city so it can be solid. the second one is the citizens of detroit deserve better services than they're getting today. a lot of us are working hard to make sure that happens. they deserve a better answer and we're working to deliver that.
>> but they should have local control or are you still involved in this city manager dispute over who should run detroit ?
>> i have always believed in local control. it's only if there's a massive emergency where they are unable to do that effectively did we put in place an emergency manager law. in fact, that law goes back to governor blanchard years and years ago. we enhanced the law with an early warning system and made it easier for a manager to do the job faster, better and get out. we did a consent agreement in detroit and are working under that and it's working.
>> you had a big rally, 8,000 people as you point out, with mitt romney , paul ryan on friday in michigan , then he makes the comment, he said it was a joke, about the birth certificate . you were there. how was it received and what do you think he meant?
>> well, i think it's one of those comments he probably didn't really think enough about and probably wished he didn't. you're on tv all the time, everything you're covered, that was just one of those remarks. i don't think there is anyremarks, i don't think there was any real intent to make the birth certificate an issue. hopefully people look at it that way and we'll talk about jobs.
>> governor, there's another issue in play here and that's whether or not president obama is giving welfare recipients a free ride by not requiring them to work. a number of people have looked at his program and have said, look, he's responding to what the governor has wanted and want more flexibility in how they administer the programs and he's really responding to what they asked for. so my question to you is, has what president obama done for the state of welfare in the state of michigan helped you and are you happy in that regard?
>> we are still fully analyzing that. the concept of more flexibility to governors is a good thing, but i think there should be performance metrics . we should be held accountable for performance but flexibility on how to do it. at the same time, i think it's important that welfare is not intended to be a perpetual state. and the idea of having a work requirement or having providing the opportunity to work is critically important. that's one thing we did in michigan . i created community ventures program for the structurally unemployed in the most challenged cities to say, we have to break through this. it is really about helping people get a job. if people have a job, many of these other issues don't disappear but can be managed much better because people can make a livelihood.
>> the real question is, do you think president obama in responding to what the governors wanted in terms of flexibility in how they administer the welfare program has sent a signal to the welfare community, you don't have to work for it anymore. or has he responded specifically to what the governors wanted?
>> that's one of the things, the message could be read both ways, depending on what