Detroit News endorses Romney despite 'Let Detroit go bankrupt' op-ed

DETROIT Despite his often-repeated “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed, the Detroit News officially endorsed Republican nominee Mitt Romney today.

The paper claimed Romney has a “credible plan” to help the country’s economy recover.

“President Barack Obama came into office in 2009 riding a wave of hope and change,” the editorial said.

“Unfortunately, he has not delivered on the nation’s yearning for change nor on the specific promises he made to fix what is broken. The president is asking the country to be patient, but his plan isn’t producing results that would merit more patience, and the president hasn’t spelled out what he would do differently in a second term. Hope and change are still what Americans are seeking. This time, Republican challenger and Michigan native Mitt Romney offers the best hope of changing the nation’s fate.”

The endorsement is of little surprise, as the paper has a history of supporting Republican candidates. The News – the city’s second-largest paper – officially describes itself as Libertarian yet has never endorsed a Democratic candidate for president.

Only three times has the paper not endorsed a candidate at all: Twice during President Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, and in 2004 when the paper refused to endorse President George W. Bush for re-election. The News feels that Romney will be similar to current Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has drawn mixed reviews during his first term.

“Snyder has rapidly set Michigan on the path to revival by applying sound business practices and accountability to government operations,” the News said. “We expect that Romney will also employ a results-oriented approach and be ever mindful of his customer, the taxpayer.

“Also like Snyder, we find Romney to be less partisan than the typical politician, and not bound by rigid ideology. The nation will be best served if the entrenched disagreements of the past four years give way to cooperation and achievement.”

As for Romney’s infamous 2009 “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed in the New York Times that alienated a large number of Michigan residents of both parties, the News said that it credits President Obama for helping lead the restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler. They acknowledged that without the bailouts, Michigan’s economy would’ve completely collapsed.

“We have said in past editorials that while Romney rightly advocated for structured bankruptcies in his infamous “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” New York Times op-ed, he was wrong in suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the private markets,” the News said. “Obama put a rescue team to work and they were true to the task.

“We have criticized Obama for rewriting bankruptcy law on the fly to hold harmless his supporters in the United Auto Workers union. Still, Michigan is better off today because of Obama’s leadership on this issue.”

The paper said that despite the bailout and the resurgence of the auto industry they would still endorse Romney, insisting that the economy is still “broken.”

The paper said that they feel Romney will “replace government checks with private sector jobs.”

“Romney’s goal is to help all Americans live independent and productive lives, free to rise to the extent of their personal capabilities,” the News said. “He would not shield them from risk or the consequences of their decisions, but neither would he deny them their earned rewards.”

Numerous polls show President Obama firmly ahead in Michigan – a state that has not been carried by a Republican since 1988.

By contrast, the city’s largest newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, endorsed President Obama in 2008 and will announce their endorsement later this week.

Follow Jay Scott Smith on Twitter @JayScottSmith