Confessions of a Hoosier Democrat

Blogging Indiana Politics and the 2008 Presidential Race.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bayh in Michigan!

Sen Bayh was the keynote at Michigan's JJ Dinner this past weekend...

Bayh addresses Michigan Democrats

Hoosier says GOP has been lax on security and trade
issues.

DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press Writer

DETROIT -- Michigan Democrats assembled Saturday to
gear up for the November election, getting
encouragement from the party's top state leaders and a
potential 2008 presidential candidate.

"The Republicans and the Bush administration have got
to be swept out of power this November," U.S. Sen.
Carl Levin said during the Democrats' annual
Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner at Detroit's Cobo Center.

In the keynote speech, Sen. Evan Bayh, of Indiana,
urged Democrats to tell voters about their strengths
on national security, saying President Bush and the
Republican Party have used the issue more for
political gain than sound policy reasons.


"While they may have won some elections, the American
people have lost valuable ground," Bayh said.

Bayh has said he is seriously considering a run for
the White House, and he is expected to make a decision
after this year's midterm elections.

The two-term senator and former Indiana governor also
accused Republicans of being lax in enforcing trade
laws and giving China an unfair edge over domestic
automakers.

Bayh said Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co. --
which may sell models in the United States as early as
2007 -- copied a Chevrolet vehicle designed by General
Motors Corp.

"If that's true, those Cherys can sit on the dock and
rust," he said.

GM and Chery last year settled a dispute in which GM
had accused Chery of pirating the design of its Spark
minicar, which looks similar to the Chery QQ. The
company also has agreed not to market its vehicles
under the name Chery in the United States.

The $150-per-person fundraiser also featured speeches
from Gov. Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Sen. Debbie
Stabenow, first-term Democratic officeholders who are
up for re- election this year. Democrats want to hold
onto those offices and win enough seats from
Republicans to take control of the Legislature.

About 2,000 people attended the dinner.

Jobs and the economy have been the leading issue in
Michigan, which has one of the nation's highest
unemployment rates and has lost about 180,000
manufacturing jobs since 2000. The U.S. auto industry
has been in the midst of a restructuring that is
expected to ripple through the state's economy for
years.

"Democrats are the ones fighting to keep jobs here,"
Granholm said in her speech. "Democrats are the ones
fighting for fair trade."

Republicans blame Granholm for the state's economic
woes, arguing that heavy manufacturing states like
Indiana and Pennsylvania have started to rebound while
Michigan's unemployment rate remains high.

"This is a great opportunity for the governor to
explain to the people of Michigan why we're losing one
job every 20 minutes," state GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis
said Saturday. "At some stage, she's got to accept
responsibility."

Anuzis also defended Bush's record on national
security.

"Everybody is doing the best job they can getting the
war on terror under control," Anuzis said. "The
Democratic solution is basically to complain. They've
offered no new proposals. It's very easy to take cheap
shots."

Granholm's likely opponent in November, Republican
businessman Dick DeVos, already has spent more than $2
million on air time for television ads since Feb. 16,
according to the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance
Network.

Granholm said DeVos does not represent average people,
and she noted that Democrats led the push to increase
the state's minimum wage -- the first raise in nine
years.

"We are not highfalutin' millionaires, we are
middle-class families," she said.

At the end of his speech, Bayh sought to portray
himself as the kind of conservative Democrat who could
win conservative-leaning states. He talked about how
Bush won Indiana by 21 percentage points in 2004,
while Bayh defeated his opponent by 24 percentage
points.

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