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An attempt at humor and friendly voter outreach backfired for Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney on Wednesday when he was roundly criticized by leading Democrats for joking that his father, George Romney, as an American Motors executive decades ago, once shut down a factory in Michigan and moved it to Wisconsin.
Romney joke draws Democratic criticism
To Mitt Romney, it was a humorous story about his father’s gubernatorial campaign and a marching band. But Democrats saw it as an illustration of an “out-of-touch” millionaire. On a Wednesday morning conference call with Wisconsin voters, the presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts governor joked about how his father, the American Motors president who went on to be governor of Michigan, joked that a band leading his father in a parade didn’t know the Michigan fight song, but knew the one for neighboring Wisconsin. “So 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 said, chuckling.
Romney calls in to Wisconsin voters from Texas: embraces Walker and Ryan
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel // Craig Gilbert
One of most humorous I think relates to my father. 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,” said Romney. “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.”
Romney Laughingly Recalls Father's Layoffs
Talking Points Memo
File this one under the ever-growing "Romney wealth gaffes" category. The GOP frontrunner recalled a "humorous" anecdote about how his father, George Romney, closed an auto factory in Michigan during his businessman years only to go to great lengths to hide this fact from voters when he ran from governor in the same state. Not only that he suggested this gave him a closer relationship to Wisconsin, the state where George Romney shipped his factory, in his own current campaign.
Mitt Romney’s Story About Dad’s Lay Offs Draws Ire from Dems
A story told by Mitt Romney about his father laying off workers during his tenure as an automobile executive has drawn ire from Democrats who are using the remark as yet another example of the candidate’s tendency to appear out of touch with voters.
The Lighter Side of Destroying Jobs
New York Times//DAVID FIRESTONE
Another candidate might have stayed away from a joke about closing auto plants. Considering that Mitt Romney’s private equity company forced thousands of layoffs at companies it purchased, and that he opposed a bailout of the auto industry that saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, it’s a subject he would be well-advised to avoid.
Romney’s ‘Humorous’ Tale of a Factory Closing
New York Times // Ashley Parker
Mitt Romney opened a “tele-town hall” with Wisconsin voters on Wednesday afternoon with what he described as a “humorous” story highlighting his connections to the state. But not everyone found the story, about his father closing a Michigan factory, quite so funny.
Romney jokes about dad's decision to close Detroit auto plant
Detroit News// DAVID SHEPARDSON
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney joked about his father's decision to close aDetroit plant in the mid-1950s and shift the work to Wisconsin. On a telephone town hall meeting with Wisconsin voters Wednesday, Romney recounted the decision of his father, George, who was CEO of American Motors, to close the company's Hudson plants on Detroit's east side and shift the work to the company's Kenosha, Wis., plant.
A Humorous Story From Mitt Romney
In a tele-townhall with Wisconsin voters today, Mitt Romney touted his own connections to the state. Then he shared this anecdote, which was reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “One of most humorous I think relates to my father. 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,” said Romney.
Mitt Romney Tells 'Humorous' Story About Father Closing A Michigan Factory
Huffington Post//Amanda Terkel
Mitt Romney is known for his sometimes awkward sense of humor, and some of his biggest campaign missteps have come when he has made statements that seemed out of touch with Americans' economic struggles. During a tele-town hall meeting with Wisconsin voters Wednesday, those two issues converged.
Romney tells 'humorous' story about his dad closing a Michigan auto factory
The Hill // Cameron Joseph
Mitt Romney gave Democrats more attack ad fodder on Wednesday when he told a "humorous" story about his father closing down a factory in Michigan. The story, as relayed by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, came about as Romney touted his connections to Wisconsin, which will hold its primary on April 3.
Romney’s “humorous” story — shutting factory
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Mitt Romney has again come across as a man to the manor born, this time entertaining a Wisconsin conference call what Romney called a “humorous” anecdote about the time his father shut down a car factory and laid off its workers. The Republican frontrunner’s father, George Romney, was head of American Motors before running for governor of Michigan. The story, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, starts with Romney saying he has an old connection to the Badger State:
Romney tells a ‘humorous' tale about how his dad laid off workers
Some people tell knock, knock jokes, other like to recall funny movie lines. Today, Mitt Romney told a “joke” to voters about how his father closed a factory in Michigan and then tried to hide it from voters. Romney narrated what he described as a “humorous” tale in a conference call with Wisconsin voters.
Mitt Romney amuses Wisconsin voters with yarn about Michigan losing an auto plant
Detroit Free Press// Todd Spangler
Mitt Romney told a jokey anecdote on a conference call Wednesday with Wisconsin primary voters that had Michigan – and the closing of an auto plant – as part of the punch line. It should be said up front that the anecdote is an old one, dating back six decades or so to when his dad, George Romney, was running American Motors.
Source: DNC Press