News / USA

Obama: 'The American Auto Industry is Back'

President Barack Obama talks with United Auto Workers [UAW] president Bob King after arriving to speak at the UAW conference in Washington, February 28, 2012.
President Barack Obama talks with United Auto Workers [UAW] president Bob King after arriving to speak at the UAW conference in Washington, February 28, 2012.
Kent Klein

Three years after approving government bailouts for two major U.S. automakers, President Barack Obama is proclaiming the industry's revival. The president also has created a government unit to investigate allegations of unfair trade by other countries.

Labor unions have strongly supported Democratic Party candidates for decades. And the United Auto Workers union conference in Washington on Tuesday gave the president an enthusiastic reception that at times sounded like a political rally.

“The economy is getting stronger. The recovery is speeding up. Now is the time to keep our foot on the gas, not put on the brakes. And I am not going to settle for a country where just a few do really well and everybody else is struggling to get by," said Obama.

The president in 2009 authorized a payment of almost $25 billion to struggling U.S. automakers General Motors and Chrysler. Today, GM has regained its position as the world’s biggest car company. Chrysler is growing. And Obama is claiming at least partial credit for their success.

“Three years later, three years later, that bet is paying off. It is not just paying off for you. It is paying off for America. Three years later, the American auto industry is back,” said Obama.

Many Republicans at the time opposed the bailouts. They were concerned about the huge cost to taxpayers and the prospect of government involvement in private industry. Mitt Romney, now a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, wrote an opinion column in The New York Times newspaper in 2008, titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

Speaking to the auto workers Tuesday, the president did not mention former Massachusetts Governor Romney by name, but he ridiculed the column.

“Some even said we should ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’ You remember that. You know," said the president.

White House officials denied that the president’s appearance was a campaign speech.

Obama, however, did speak on the same day that voters in the Midwestern state of Michigan, the base of the U.S. auto industry, were voting in a Republican Party primary election.

While campaigning in Michigan earlier this month, Romney said the auto industry bailout was done in exchange for big campaign contributions to Obama from the United Auto Workers.

Meanwhile, the president announced that he has signed an executive order creating an agency to monitor trade violations by America’s trading partners. He again singled out China.

“We are doing it today. I am creating a Trade Enforcement Unit that will bring the full resources of the federal government to bear on investigations. And we are going to counter any unfair trading practices around the world, including by countries like China,” said Obama.

Obama reminded the auto workers that he had signed into law a trade agreement with South Korea, which he said will result in more American cars being sold there.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid