After a lifetime of voting for and supporting Democrats — and even declining appointment to the U.S. Senate from a Democratic governor — Lee Iacocca Thursday endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president.

The blessings of the onetime Chrysler chairman are expected to help Romney in two highly competitive states: Pennsylvania, where the 88-year-old Iacocca was born and raised and is still widely respected, and in Michigan, where Iacocca rose to become a major figure in the auto industry and won international praise for cobbling together the government-backed loans that saved Chrysler in 1980.

Iacocca, who now lives in California, issued a statement saying he backed Romney because of his “dozens of years of experiences in the public and private sectors” and because the GOP nominee has a plan that “will enable a stronger America.”

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