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Obama says Michigan 'coming back'

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

President Barack Obama told a Detroit radio station Tuesday that Michigan is making progress, but said the state needs to elect a Democratic governor and Democratic senator to continue to progress.

Obama urged listeners to vote for former Rep. Mark Schauer, who is running against first-term Gov. Rick Snyder, and Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, who faces Republican Terri Lynn Land, in the Senate race, saying the state has "great candidates."

"Michigan is a bellwether state and the fact is no where have we seen the importance of politics more than in Michigan because six years ago the auto industry was on the verge of collapse and we stepped in," Obama told Frankie Darcell, a radio host at 92.3 (WMXD) in Detroit that also broadcasts on another station in Philadelphia.

He hailed the state's economic progress, but said Democrats were responsible.

"The state is coming back and we've got to continue that progress. The only way we continue that progress is if we have a strong Senate and a strong person in the governor's office in Michigan and Mark Schauer is an outstanding individual. I know him. He is somebody who has fought for us. We now have to have his back — and Gary Peters who is running for Senate — this is a guy who knows what it means to fight for working families."

Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, said on Twitter that Michigan's economy is coming back because of Snyder and "the Republican Legislature" not the Democratic candidates.

Obama urged listeners to "get off the couch" and vote, but said "brothers" often don't vote. He said people shouldn't complain if they don't vote.

"I just want to send a message to everybody: If you're serious about trying to bringing about change to the city of Detroit or any other of the communities in Michigan ... then you have to exercise your franchise, be responsible," Obama said, saying to "do me a favor this week" and vote.

Obama, who visited Detroit on Saturday, in the radio interview again touted his support of the $85 billion auto bailout and said it had saved a million jobs.

Obama spoke to Mildred Gaddis, another Detroit radio host, on Monday on WCHB.

DShepardson@detroitnews.com