Brewer said if Romney and Perry thought their opposition to the federal loans was so great, they would have mentioned it during their speeches.
Turnout could be an issue in Michigan for Obama, especially among young and minority voters who voted for him in 2008 but now are feeling the brunt of Michigan's 11.2 percent jobless rate, the nation's third-highest. When an estimated 300,000 Democrats stayed home in 2010, Republicans swept all of Michigan's statewide offices, grabbed a majority in the state House and regained a majority on the state Supreme Court.
Republican National Committeeman Saul Anuzis of Michigan sees a likely repeat in 2012, especially since labor unions that supplied the foot soldiers three years ago have seen membership shrink by more than 100,000.
Alex Gage of Virginia-based TargetPoint Consulting, which helped Republican President George W. Bush target voters in his 2004 campaign, agrees that the drop in union households will hurt Obama, as will the 25 percent drop in Detroit's reliably Democratic population over the past decade.
But he said the GOP nominee will have capture at least 60 percent of populous Macomb County north of Detroit to win, as well as not let Obama get too far ahead in upscale Oakland County. Obama won both while sailing to victory in 2008.
"You're going to have a very competitive race in this state," Gage said.
Kathy Barks Hoffman can be reached at http://twitter.com/kathybhoffman.
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