Such useful reporting is echoed elsewhere: MLive featured an aggregated piece that compared Republican positions on the bailouts. Christina Rogers of Automotive News smartly points out that neither Obama nor any of the Republican candidates seem particularly eager to remind Michigan voters that President Bush initiated the auto bailouts. John Gallagher suggested to Free Press readers that what or whom to credit for Michigan’s nascent economic recovery (and the auto industry’s rebound) is a matter up for debate. (It seems that GM’s CEO agrees). Gallagher observes that while GM and Chrysler are reporting impressive profits, industry challenges still loom, such as rising fuel prices. Importantly, Gallagher also emphasizes that Michigan is not singularly employed by the auto industry, and gives a nod to how the state is diversifying its economy even as manufacturing remains its backbone. It’s a gesture that reminds readers of the importance of candidate policies that go beyond the auto industry.

This is the kind of coverage Michigan readers need more of through the run of the presidential election: reporting that acknowledges the auto industry’s significance in Michigan and examines (and provides context for) the candidates’ related positions and claims. In the end, the auto bailout story is more than just Mitt Romney—and Michigan’s story is more than the auto industry.

Disclosure: The writer of this article contributed to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008, volunteering on two separate occasions and making a small donation. She has not contributed to any political candidate of any kind in the current election cycle.

Anna Clark is CJR's correspondent for Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A 2011 Fulbright fellow, Clark has written for The Guardian, Grantland, and Salon; blogs at Isak; and can be found on Twitter @annaleighclark. She lives in Detroit.