Mitt Romney rallies Etna, Ohio (Photo: OhioCapitalBlog via Youtube)
There are only 3 more days until the 2012 presidential election. Throughout the race, both candidates exchanged a number of decisive blows that has made 2012 into a contest of endurance with the slimmest of margins. However, the presidential race has noticeably shifted gears no more than a week from election day.
With time dwindling down, GOP candidate Mitt Romney visited Ohio, what is arguably the most important state in this election, last week for one final campaign push. According to cleveland.com, the state of Ohio has "correctly picked the winning presidential candidate in the last 11 elections." An 11-0 streak since 1964, Ohio's reputation of clairvoyance is approaching 4 decades in the making. Essentially, if a candidate wins the battle of Ohio, the candidate all but wins the presidency.
Romney rallied in Ohio with zeal. A particularly unique state, democratic opponent President Barack Obama acknowledged that one out of every eight men and women of Ohio make their living from the automotive industry. With that in mind, Romney focused his attention towards jobs. During his rally at Etna, Ohio, Romney said, "Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China. I will fight for every good job in America."
What's more, as one of the final ads the Republican will run before election day, the candidate broadcasted "Who Will Do More?" on October 28 to re-emphasize the sentiment. For the ad's closing statement, the voiceover claimed, "Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job."
To the Republican party's surprise, Romney's bid to win the job vote in Ohio faced unprecedented backlash. Shortly following Romney's claim on Jeep, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne released a prompt internal e-mail to Chrysler Group employees: "I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China."
Marchionne continues, "Jeep is one of our truly global brands with uniquely American roots. This will never change. So much so that we committed that the iconic Wrangler nameplate, currently produced in our Toledo, Ohio, plant, will never see full production outside the United States. Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. It is inaccurate to suggest anything different."
And finally, Marchionne lays it: Jeep will be adding another 1,100 new jobs in Toledo, Ohio, as the brand anticipates a new generation of Jeep models.
The significance of Romney's gaffe, if you can call it that, is interesting. As mentioned earlier, Ohio's role as a decisive state should not be underestimated and Romney's win or loss seems to now hinge on his error on Ohio's livelihood and our specialty-- the auto industry.
Not only has Ohio media (and national media, for that matter) ripped Romney apart for his lies about Jeep, but the subject has remained a top-10 trending topic on MSN ever since (ranked #8 as of writing this article).
Because of Romney's false Jeep statement during his Ohio rally, the latest presidential poll data from realclearpolitics.com reveals a 49.3 to 46.4 lead in Ohio for President Obama over Romney despite Obama's campaign hiatus to address the Hurricane Sandy crisis in New Jersey.
While Ohio's tremendous voting record has caused many political observers to call the state "Election Ground Zero," its overwhelming influence doesn't make it a law. According to Fox News, American political author Dick Morris said, "This business that everybody should hang on what happens in Ohio is ridiculous. He could lose Ohio and carry either Pennsylvania or Minnesota or Michigan and Wisconsin or New Hampshire and Iowa and win the election. And it's ridiculous to say that everything hinges on Ohio. Ohio is proving more intractable and more even, dead even."
As a final note, MSNBC's political program, "The Rachel Maddow Show," provided a bold and revealing take on Romney's inaccurate statements on Jeep and Chrysler. Please take a look at this-- it's worth your time:
Do you believe that the influence of the auto industry can become the deciding factor in this year's presidential election? Let us know in the comments below!