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Ex-Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm: “In Romney’s World, Cars Get the Elevator, Workers Get the Shaft”

StorySeptember 07, 2012
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Among the more attention-grabbing speeches on the closing night of the Democratic National Convention Thursday was a rousing address by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. “How did [Romney] make that fortune? And at whose expense?” Granholm told the crowd. “You know, too often, he made it at the expense of middle-class Americans. Year after year, it was profit before people.” [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to former Governor Granholm of Michigan, who gave one of the most electric speeches of the night.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM: I’m Jennifer Granholm, from the great state of Michigan, where the trees are just the right height. Hey, let me tell you a story about the dark days in my home state. So, toward the end of my time as governor, Ford closed one of its biggest factories, a factory in Wixom, Michigan. And the plant had employed over the years thousands of middle-class men and women in neighborhoods near and worlds away from the place where Mitt Romney was raised. And when Ford’s decision to close the factory hit, I went down to the local union hall, and it was actually almost empty. A few workers were milling about, really in a state of shock and grief. And I talked to a 45-year-old guy who told me, “This is the only place I’ve ever worked. I’ve been loyal. I’ve done everything they’ve ever asked. And just like that, it’s gone.” And he looked around the hall, and he said, “So, Governor, is it over for us? Is the American auto industry dead?” And honestly, at that moment, I just didn’t know.

But that was just the beginning. When the financial crisis hit, things got worse, and fast. The entire auto industry, and the lives of over one million hard-working Americans, teetered on the edge of collapse—and with it, the entire manufacturing sector of this country. And we looked everywhere for help. Almost nobody had the guts to help us—not the banks, not the private investors, and not Bain Capital.

But, in 2009, the cavalry arrived, and our new president, Barack Obama, came in! He organized a rescue. He made the tough calls. And he saved the American auto industry.

Now, you know—you know, Mitt Romney, he saw the same crisis, and you know what he said? “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” Now, sure, sure, Mitt Romney loves our lakes and our trees. He loves our cars so much, they even have their own elevator. But the people who design and build and sell those cars? Well, in Romney’s world, the cars get the elevator, and the workers get the shaft! You know what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying.

Mitt Romney, he says—he says that his business experience qualifies him to be president. Sure, he’s made a lot of money. Good for him. Good for him. Or maybe I should say, good for him. But how did he make that fortune, and at whose expense? You know, too often, he made it at the expense of middle-class Americans. Year after year, it was profit before people.

But, President Obama, with the auto rescue, you know, he saved more than one million American jobs. But it wasn’t just Michigan. Hey, hey, hey! It wasn’t just Michigan, my friends. In Colorado, the auto rescue saved more than 9,000 jobs. In Virginia, Virginia, more than 19,000 jobs. In North Carolina, 25,000 jobs. In Wisconsin, Wisconsin, 28,000 jobs. In Pennsylvania, 34,000 jobs. In Florida, 35,000 jobs. In Ohio, 150,000 jobs. And in the great state of Michigan, 211,000 good-paying American jobs. All across America, autos are back. Manufacturing is rebounding! Why? You know what I’m saying!

AUDIENCE: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!


AUDIENCE: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

JENNIFER GRANHOLM: All right, now. Because when Mitt Romney did say, “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” who took the wheel? Barack Obama! When America was losing 750,000 jobs per month, who gave us a lift? Barack Obama! When American markets broke down, who jump-started our engine? Barack Obama! And when America needed it most, who got us rolling again on the road to recovery?

AUDIENCE: Barack Obama!

JENNIFER GRANHOLM: America, we need to rev up our engines in your car and on your ballot. The “D” is for drive forward. The “R” is for reverse. In this election, we are driving forward, not back. Let’s re-elect our great president, Barack Obama!

AMY GOODMAN: That was former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. And that does it for our two-week series of “Breaking With Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency,” from the Republican and Democratic convention. To get the whole series, you can go to our website at

As we continue our 100-city Silenced Majority tour, tonight in Asheville, North Carolina, at 7:00 p.m., I’ll be speaking at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Then it’s Burnsville Saturday morning at 9:00 at the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in Durham, North Carolina, at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road in Durham. You can go to our website to see the interactive map of the entire tour. We’re on to then Philadelphia and all through Ohio. We’ve been broadcasting from an independent media space set up for coverage of the DNC called “The PPL,” on the web at

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