The Washington Times - October 20, 2012, 10:13AM

Retired auto executive Lee Iacocca, credited with saving Chrysler in the 1980s, has endorsed Mitt Romney.

The endorsement could help Mr. Romney in states like Michigan and Ohio, where the Obama campaign has hammered the Republican candidate as no friend of the auto industry.

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The news could also help the GOP ticket in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Iacocca was born and raised and where, in 1991, he declined an appointment to the U.S. Senate from then-Democratic Gov. Bob Casey Sr.

Mr. Iacocca, who now lives in California, in 2010 praised the Obama administration’s auto bailout and in previous years has backed Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry in 2004. Four years later, he supported former New Mexico Gov. Gary Richardson.

But the legendary executive, 88, refers to himself as an independent and has, on occasion, backed Republicans, including George W. Bush in 2000.

Mr. Iacocca took a shot at the president in his statement of support for Mr. Romney, saying, “America is in deep trouble,” and “hope and speeches won’t get our people back to work.”

Mr. Iacocca said he is backing the Republican ticket because Mr. Romney has a plan for “a stronger America.”

“Mitt Romney has successfully led both public and private sector turnarounds,” Mr. Iacocca wrote. “He is a bright and successful man; he is a good man, a caring man, a man of integrity, family and faith. Importantly, he recognizes we are in a tough situation. With dozens of years of real-world experience in the public and private sectors, he knows what he’s talking about.”