U.S. Rep Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) made his message loud and clear Saturday when he announced he was seeking a bid for the White House.
The congressman announced before a crowd of a few hundred people Saturday that he is in the race for president of the United States — then brought out his American flag-themed guitar to play some bluesy rock music at the Freedom Festival at Whitmore Lake, sponsored by conservative talk radio station WAAM-AM (1600).
McCotter , which includes Canton, Garden City, Livonia, Milford, Novi, Northville, Plymouth, Redford, South Lyon, Westland and White Lake. He was elected in November to his fifth consecutive term.
He was joined onstage by his wife and two of his three children on a sweltering evening with temperatures nearing 100 degrees, where he emphasized that the U.S. doesn't need big government, but rather self-government.
WAAM radio host Thayrone X, who joined McCotter onstage for the musical performance, said McCotter could bring business issues into the national spotlight.
He said he likes that McCotter brings something new to the political discussion — and the fact he wields a guitar doesn't hurt, either.
"He's not a square," the radio host said. "He's not traditional."
Dolores Kehl of Sterling Heights attended the festival with her daughter, Cheryl Oberholtzer of Chelsea. They said that while they came for the music and food, they were impressed by McCotter's message.
"He's fantastic," Kehl said. "We like him very much. His principles were very, very honest and straightforward."
Oberholtzer said she agreed with McCotter's view that the founding principles of government favor the private sector versus the public.
Emily Bell of Centerville, OH, said she came up to visit family for the Fourth of July weekend but couldn't pass up an opportunity to hear McCotter speak.
She said she liked that a candidate was running who "understands what's going on in the Midwest."
Still, she said she isn't sure whether she'll vote for McCotter in the Republican primary election next year.
McCotter said after leaving the stage that he decided to run for president because of the "situation in our country" and "in response to a lot of the events that happened in '08 and '09," referring to government bailouts and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion federal stimulus program that invested in infrastructure and other measures with hopes of creating jobs.
He said he hopes to bring Michigan's problems to the forefront if he wins the Republican nomination.
He cited lower wages and declining industry as issues that need to be addressed.
McCotter already has earned early support from at least one of his Michigan peers in Congress.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Howell) that he supported McCotter's bid.
"When there's a Michigan guy talking about running for president and gets our issues out across America, (it) can't be a bad thing," Rogers said.
McCotter is the only current Michigander in the race for president. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Michigan native whose father, George Romney, was a Michigan governor, also is in the race.
McCotter joins an already crowded field of 45 vying for the Republican nod. Along with Romney, they include:
- Former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich of Georgia.
- Businessman Hermain Cain of Georgia.
- U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, M.D., of Texas.
- Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor.
- U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Minnesota.
- Gary Johnson, former New Mexico governor.
- Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.
- Jon Huntsman, former U.S. ambassador to China.
Hartland Patch editor contributed to this report.