Looks like the Michigan presidential primary confirms that even the leading candidates have a ways to go to connect with the American people.
Bottom line: all of the candidates failed to articulate an urgent yet practical agenda for investing in people, stirring innovation, rebuilding cities and schools, and restoring the environment. That's what America's heartland needs to kick this Rust Belt funk.
The results in the Great Lakes State keep Democrat Hillary Clinton's candidacy in limbo. With half of the polls reporting at this hour, Sen. Clinton's support hovers around 50 percent. But, interestingly, 39 percent of Democrats cast 'uncommitted' votes. Who are they waiting for? Barack Obama or John Edwards, neither of whom put their names on the ballot this go around? Maybe Al Gore? Michael Bloomberg?
The Michigan vote also thrusts Mitt Romney forward as the latest Republican frontrunner. Saul Anuzis, chairman of Michigan's Republican Party, is on the national airwaves saying the impending victory is due, in part, to strong turnout among conservative voters. Yet Romney's support appears soft here in the West Michigan region, the state's conservative seat, where I'm tuned into the returns.
Gov. Romney was born in the Great Lakes State. His father was governor. And he got off a campaign line that no doubt appeals to Michiganders when he said, "Washington politicians look at Michigan and see a rust belt. But the real rust is in Washington."
But, like tens of thousands of others, he left the state for a bright career somewhere else. Now he's come back claiming to be the answer. And he's pulling just 39 percent of the vote.
On the Republican side, voters also gravitated toward John McCain and Mike Huckabee, both of whom talked more passionately, genuinely, and realistically about rebuilding the economy and what the nation needs to do abroad, according to some exit polling.
On to Nevada and South Carolina....................