Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says the Obama administration's bailout of the auto industry has become an "overblown" issue and voters are more interested now in hearing how the presidential candidates intend to deliver future and better jobs to the state.
"The auto bailout, I think, is overblown in terms of how big an issue it has become," the Republican told Fox News' Neil Cavuto on Monday.
"The citizens of Michigan, their main concern is more and better jobs today and in the future," Snyder continued. "And that is what they want to hear about. So, the auto bailout is something that was done. It is over with. It worked. Let`s move forward."
Snyder made the comments as a new set of national and Michigan polls shows the race in the state between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has narrowed.
Snyder acknowledged that Romney does appear to be gaining ground on Obama, who had held a double-digit lead, primarily because of his efforts to keep the state's auto industry alive.
But Snyder said Romney's post-debate focus on his own five-point plan to create more jobs and get the economy nationwide back on track was responsible for much of the support he appears to be getting now in the state where he was born and his father served as governor.
"The debate made a major difference in terms of kind of swinging momentum. And that has added a positive impact for Gov. Romney and the whole campaign," Snyder said.
But he added, "There is more focus now on talking about his program and looking towards the future because the question isn`t looking back in history and time all the time, but really looking forward to say, 'What is the solution to the serious problems we have in Washington?'"
"I think he is becoming more and more outspoken about those issues," he added.
Snyder also spoke about the move in Michigan by organized labor to place an initiative on the ballot that would protect collective-bargaining rights for both public and private employees.
Many in the state have voiced concern about the possibility of Republicans trying to turn Michigan into a right-to-work state, despite Snyder's insistence that it is not part of his agenda.
"I believe in collective bargaining," he told Cavuto, although he said he disagrees with efforts to enshrine it in the state constitution.
"There is protection in [state] law already for collective bargaining," he said, stressing that he has not made right-to-work an issue in Michigan as some Republican governors have done in other states, where collective bargaining rights for public employees have been eliminated or restricted.
"I have said it is a divisive issue. It`s not on my agenda," Snyder added.
Snyder also addressed another ballot initiative that would require a two-thirds vote by the legislature or a statewide vote to increase taxes.
"This is just really bad public policy," he said, disagreeing with some in his own party who support the idea of limiting government's authority over tax issues.
Snyder said the wording of the initiative "sounds appealing" but would end up placing "small minorities" in charge of tax matters.
"By having a regular majority [in the legislature], we are able to do massive tax reform very much in the positive and create jobs," Snyder said. "And so I hope people just step back and look back to say, it may sound appealing, but it`s really bad policy."
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