Micheline Maynard, Contributor Sorting out the new American auto industry Follow (70) AUTOS | 10/18/2012 @ 3:53PM |2,478 views Look Who's Back: Lee Iacocca Endorses Mitt Romney + Comment now Once, not all that long ago, Lee Iacocca was courted as a possible presidential candidate. But on Thursday, the 88-year-old former Chrysler chief executive put his weight behind Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Business icon Lee Iacocca (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife) Iacocca has voiced his support for Romney in the past, notably on an appearance last year with Charlie Rose. His endorsement came in a statement issued by his California office and reported by the DetroitFree Press. He said Romney has “dozens of years of experience in the public and private sectors” and a plan that “will enable a stronger America.” Mitt Romney's Auto Bailout Stand Could Cost Him MichiganMicheline MaynardContributor What GM Can Learn From Lee IacoccaSteve SchaeferForbes Staff Should CEOs Be In TV Ads?On MarketingContributor There are all kinds of layers of politics, pragmatism and nostalgia wrapped up in Iacocca’s endorsement Politics. First, Iacocca has always been a political independent, although probably a more Democratic-leaning one. It was Jimmy Carter and a Democratic Congress that pushed for assistance to his ailing auto company. More recently, Iacocca said he supported President Barack Obama‘s efforts to save General Motors and Chrysler, although he was concerned about the impact on dealers who lost their franchises. Iacocca does not seem to have endorsed a candidate in the last president race, the Free Press said. But eight years ago, Iacocca endorsed Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who unsuccessfully challenged President George W. Bush. Pragmatism. We haven’t heard much from Iacocca over the past few years, so the endorsement puts his name back in the spotlight, even if just for a short news cycle. His mention of Romney’s business skills is clearly a top priority with Iacocca, who has always pushed for Washington to be run in a more-corporate fashion. Romney and Obama have had heated exchanges over Romney’s contention that the Detroit auto companies should have gotten private, not federal financing for their bailout, and the endorsement puts Iacocca in the Romney came. Nostalgia. Iacocca was a rising executive at Ford Motor Company at the same time that Romney’s father, George, was in charge at American Motors Corporation. Later, as Iacocca became more influential at Ford, he undoubtedly had some dealings with the senior Romney, who became Michigan’s governor. Plus, the Iacoccas and the Romneys lived in the same wealthy Michigan enclave, Bloomfield Hills. It’s not clear whether Iacocca’s endorsement will have that much impact on the race: the business community seems to be pretty solidly behind Romney, and retired auto industry executives also are likely to already be voting for him. Iacocca is revered in his home state, Pennsylvania, where he’s an avid supporter of Lehigh University, his alma mater. So perhaps, his endorsement can swing a few votes there. And, Romney’s endorsement gives us an excuse to dig up this classic commercial. Maybe some of Iacocca’s salesmanship will inspire the Republican contender.