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The ONE decision that gave Obama four more years

November 07, 2012 14:28 IST

A bailout by President Barack Obama played a key role in returning him to the White House for another stint. Rediff.com's Bikash Mohapatra reports from Ohio

Barack Obama didn't have much going for him during his campaign for re-election.

In the lead up to the 2008 elections, he had promised more jobs and reduction in the unemployment rate. He failed to keep that promise.

Obama had also affirmed that he would strive towards reducing the fiscal deficit by 50 per cent. It doubled.

Obamacare had its share of critics.

His views on abortion and gay marriage led to him being labelled the 'devil'.

However, to his credit, there were a few areas in which he did make an effort. And it is one such effort which played a key role in him getting another four years.

Obama's aggressive efforts to rescue the ailing auto industry helped him triumph in the two states housing the industry, Michigan and Ohio. The latter -- a toss up state -- proved decisive in his re-election.

The President's bailout package to struggling auto makers General Motors and Chrysler helped him secure another four years in office.

"Most of the pundits of the time thought it was only a stop gap measure and that eventually both the companies were going to fail, especially Chrysler, which has always been the weakest of the three major US automobile manufacturers," explained business analyst Robert Schoenberger.

"Now fours later, looking back in retrospective, it's a lot more successful," he continued, adding, "I think many people didn't expect this. But General Motors came out with figures last week and they are doing quite well".

"Chrysler is now propping up FIAT instead of the other way around. The latter would incur loses if it weren't for the former," he said.

The bailout package helped the state's economy to a considerable extent, helping bring jobs back to the state. As things stand, Ohio's rate of unemployment is much less than the national average, something that Obama has been credited with.

And the people of the two states expressed their gratitude by doing their bit to get him re-elected. While Obama won Michigan with ease, in Ohio he just about pipped Mitt Romney, the result albeit proving crucial from an overall perspective.

"The President gave a lifeline to the auto industry. That really changed the trajectory for Ohio," reasoned analyst Terry Pluto, before providing an interesting side story.

"The auto bailout was started very reluctantly by the George W Bush administration. When the bailout went through and the companies emerged from the whole process, there was a change in the rhetoric. The Republicans distanced themselves," he said.

It is ironical that Romney's chances were indirectly hit by an auto crisis, considering his father owned an auto company in Michigan.

Obama's campaign, on the other hand, was really reliant on the 'auto recover'.

Fortunately for him, the positivity surrounding his effort manifested itself into a lot of votes, and resulted in his re-election. 

Bikash Mohapatra In Cleveland