Romney says story about Michigan layoffs is ‘humorous’
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday told a story about his father closing a factory in Michigan that he said tickled his funny bone.
Speaking to thousands of Wisconsin voters during a tele-town hall, the former Massachusetts governor recalled what he described as a “humorous” anecdote that left some Michigan workers without jobs, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“One of [the] most humorous I think relates to my father,” Romney remarked. “You may remember my father, George Romney, was president of an automobile company called American Motors. … They had a factory in Michigan, and they had a factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And as the president of the company he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin.”
“Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign,” he continued, explaining that his father later participated in a parade where a high school band only knew how to play Wisconsin’s fight song.
“Every time they would start playing ‘On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin,’ my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin,” Romney chuckled.
The Detroit News noted that Hudson Motor Car Co. production was moved from Michigan to Wisconsin in 1954 after the company merged with Nash-Kelvinator and became American Motors. While some workers were asked to relocate to Wisconsin, 4,300 more lost their jobs.
Romney’s awkward sense of humor has been a problem for him throughout his campaign.
During a January Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Nashua, New Hampshire, the candidate joked that he liked “to be able to fire people.”
At an event in Rochester, New Hampshire, the multimillionaire told voters that he also had also worried about getting a pink slip.
“I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re going to get fired,” Romney said. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.”
In February, he tried to relate to voters in Michigan by telling them that his wife “drives a couple of Cadillacs.”
The Wall Street Journal determined that Bain Capital, a venture capital company founded by Romney, forced about 22 percent of the companies it acquired to file for bankruptcy or shut down completely, “sometimes with substantial job losses.”
Watch this video from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast March 28, 2012.
(H/T: Maddow Blog)