(Cross-post from Redstate)

Macomb County, Michigan, is one of the homes of the Reagan Democrat. Today, I saw John McCain give a town hall in the closing stretch of the Michigan primary. I don’t have pictures because my video camera was stolen, but I have impressions.

Michigan is in an a single-state recession. Unemployment is above 7%. Many of the current jobs are in manufacturing which, the Detroit News, the conservative paper in the state, has noted won’t come back. How to handle this is the fundamental debate. Mitt Romney is saying that he, personally, can turn the state around and that the future of Michigan is bright. McCain has argued that more realism and effort is needed, and has focused on retraining programs. My gut is that McCain wins this fight by recognizing the challenges. In New Hampshire exit polls McCain received substantially more support from people with economic anxiety, and Romney won only one economic subgroup, those making between $150k and $200k.

McCain’s answer is a retraining program. In March, I was in New Hampshire (before my camera was stolen), and asked him a similar question. This was his answer:

This is the backdrop of the town hall and the current debate in Michigan. Between 600-700 people attended (contrast with around 150 at Romney’s the previous day. In the Romney campaign’s defense, they have had some scheduling snafus that have forced them to cancel a number of events) The questions were primarily about national security, veterans, Iraq, etc., and economic issues like pharmaceuticals and healthcare, and the subprime crisis.

McCain was asked about the subprime crisis, and he passed the microphone to Carli Fiorina, the CEO of HP (formerly Hewlett Packard). She said that she had never campaigned before and was supporting McCain because he is "a unique and inspiring leader." She turned to answering the question and focused on the need for transparency and accountability. She said that there were many things "off balance sheet" so that risks couldn’t be properly accounted for. She then invoked Enron and said "if you can’t see it, you can’t understand it." One person in the audience liked the answer enough to say "Thank you Madame Vice President."

Off to an event at the Americans for Prosperity Forum.