Mitt Romney won Michigan’s Republican primary on Tuesday, after whacking John McCain for supporting tougher fuel-economy regulations and promoting “radical climate change legislation.” Romney portrayed himself as a defender of Michigan’s floundering auto industry and said the automakers shouldn’t be burdened with having to produce more fuel-efficient cars. McCain also got broadsided by an anti-environment front group, the American Environmental Coalition, whose members include many people with close links to the Romney campaign. Said an AEC co-chair, “When it comes to climate change, John McCain and Al Gore are far too much alike for my comfort. John McCain has been sponsoring legislation for the past several years that would give Al Gore much of the regulatory control and power he sought when he and Bill Clinton tried to get America to sign on to the UN’s Kyoto global warming treaty.” The Michigan outcome was a big blow to McCain after his New Hampshire win last week, in which he seemed to get a boost from talking about fighting climate change.

Update: George Landrith, co-chair of the American Environmental Coalition, says neither he nor his organization made the statement comparing John McCain and Al Gore.