Watch CBSN Live

Obama team targets all GOP candidates on auto bailout

President Obama's re-election team is betting the government bailout of the auto industry is a winning issue for Mr. Obama in key states like Michigan -- and one they can use to slam not just their main GOP target Mitt Romney but all of the prospective GOP candidates.

Obama for America is launching a 30-second ad in Michigan today, called "Made in America," that contrasts Mr. Obama's support for the bailout with the uniform Republican opposition.

"When a million jobs were on the line, every Republican candidate turned their back," a narrator says as the ad shows an image of all four Republican candidates. The ad then zooms in on the current frontrunners, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, and cites the 2008 op-ed Romney wrote entitled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

The ad shows Mr. Obama at a Chrysler plant in Indiana, saying, "Don't bet against the American worker" and touts a "retooled and restructured industry."

General Motors and Chrysler were restructured as part of the $85 billion auto bailout, which started under President George W. Bush's leadership and was extended after Mr. Obama took office. Some analysts have claimed more than 1 million jobs were saved by the bailout.

Polls show voters in Michigan approve of the bailout and strongly prefer Mr. Obama over any of the GOP candidates. In a recent NBC/ Marist poll from Michigan, 63 percent of registered voters said the bailout was a good idea. In head-to-head match-ups, Mr. Obama beats all of his potential rivals by double digits.

In the 20th Republican debate Wednesday night, Romney sought to clarify his "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" op-ed, explaining he wanted a so-called managed bankruptcy without taxpayer support.

Santorum sought to cast Romney's position as less consistent than his, since Romney supported the Wall Street bailout, while Santorum opposed both.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, said the money given to help the auto industry was a bailout of the United Auto Workers union. Government bailouts of any kind are completely out of sync with Rep. Ron Paul's libertarian views.