Entries in Detroit (6)


Vice President Joe Biden: ‘Detroit’s Getting Back Up’ Economically

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- Revving up a crowd at a Detroit high school, Vice President Joe Biden offered up one of his father’s old adages to illustrate the tenacity the people of Detroit possess as their city works to recover from the crisis in the auto industry.

“My dad used to say you measure a man or woman – it wasn’t whether they got knocked down, but how quickly they got up. And guess what? Detroit’s getting back up,” Biden told an estimated crowd of 1,100 packed into a narrow hallway at Renaissance High School Wednesday.

Detroit’s unemployment rate remains more than a point above the national average, sitting at 9.7 percent in June, but over the past three years, the unemployment rate in the city has decreased dramatically from its 27.8-percent rate in July 2009. Michigan’s unemployment rate rose last month, jumping from 8.6 percent in June to nine percent in July.

Biden, who called Mitt Romney a “decent” man despite boos emanating from the crowd, knocked the presumptive GOP nominee for the 2008 New York Times op-ed he penned with the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” saying that the president’s approach to dealing with the auto industry proved successful.

“In spite of Gov. Romney’s insistence that we let Detroit go bankrupt, we rescued the automobile industry,” Biden said.

The Romney campaign claimed Biden’s comments about Detroit’s turnaround are “out of touch.”

“For millions of middle-class families, Vice President Biden couldn’t be more out of touch with the state of the economy,” Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Romney, said in a statement. “After claiming yesterday, ‘the middle class is coming back,’ the vice president is now claiming that ‘Detroit is getting back up.’ But after nearly four years, middle-class families are struggling with lower income, fewer jobs, and increasing unemployment. The Romney-Ryan plan will provide 12 million new jobs, higher take-home pay and a brighter future for the middle class.”

While in Detroit Wednesday morning, the vice president had coffee with Michigan United Auto Workers leaders and, in the afternoon, he held two fundraisers in the Detroit area.

The vice president’s trip to Detroit came two days before Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, were set to campaign together in the state. A June NBC News/Marist Poll found President Obama ahead of Romney by four points.

The vice president shared the stage with a local phenom when he was introduced by Claressa Shields, a 17-year-old boxer from Flint, Mich., who won an Olympic gold medal in London earlier this month.

“We’ve had tough times in Michigan, but we never give up,” Shields said. “We just get up and keep going. We keep fighting with the president and vice president who’ve got our backs.”

While he attested to President Obama’s character with stories about their close relationship, the vice president also mentioned just how well he knew some of the other presidents.

“Folks, I can tell you I’ve known eight presidents, three of them intimately,” Biden said. “I have never, never once, in all the time I’ve been with this president … I’ve never once in the difficult decisions he’s had to make heard him ask me or anyone else, ‘What are the politics in this for me?’ Not one single time.”

Before departing the school, Biden posed for photos with the high school’s football team and offered them words of encouragement for their upcoming season.

“Hey guys, have a great season! Get up!” Biden said.

“Four more years!” one of the players shouted back.

“When you go to states, invite me. I’ll come!” Biden said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Challenges China at WTO over Auto Tariffs

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(MAUMEE, Ohio) -- As he embarked on a campaign swing across northern Ohio, President Obama announced new action against China in the World Trade Organization, challenging duties imposed last year on U.S. auto exports.

“Just this morning my administration took a new action to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices that harm American automakers,” Obama said during a campaign stop in Maumee, Ohio. “We’re going to make sure that competition is fair. That’s what I believe. That’s part of our vision for America.”

The tough line toward China coincides with Obama’s appeal to blue collar workers in Ohio, home to many U.S. auto manufacturers and suppliers.  The bus tour — themed “Betting on America” — will promote the 2009 Obama-backed bailout of GM and Chrysler and portray the president as a champion of American manufacturing.

White House spokesman Jay Carney disputed that the timing of the announcement was anything other than coincidence.

“This is an action that has been in development for quite a long time. USTR [the U.S. Trade Representative] studies these issues and prepares actions with great deliberation to ensure their success at WTO. This one has been under development for many, many months,” Carney told reporters on Air Force One. “It can’t suddenly be a political action because it happens during the campaign.”

Carney noted that the new WTO complaint is the seventh the administration has filed against China and that the previous six have been “successful.”

Administration officials say the duties, which target Ohio-made cars like the Jeep Wrangler, affect $3.3 billion in exports, hampering prices and potentially imperiling jobs.

“The Chinese duties in question cover more than 80 percent of U.S. auto exports to China, including cars manufactured in Toledo and Marysville, Ohio, and Detroit and Lansing, Michigan,” said Carney. “The duties disproportionately fall on General Motors and Chrysler products because of the actions that President Obama took, as you know, to support the auto industry during the financial crisis.”

China cites Obama’s 2009 taxpayer-funded bailout of U.S. automakers GM and Chrysler to claim that the companies received an unfair advantage in the global marketplace, akin to subsidies that are forbidden by WTO rules.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama, Lee Praise US-Korea Trade Deal as ‘Win-Win’ in Detroit

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- President Obama traveled to Detroit Friday to tout the success of his administration’s bailout of the auto industry and to highlight the job-creating potential of the newly-passed Korean trade deal. However, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who was along for the field trip, clearly stole the show.

Wearing a bright blue Detroit Tigers baseball hat, Lee walked on stage at the General Motors plant in Lake Orion, Mich., to cheers and applause.

“As you can see, President Lee is a pretty good politician,” Obama joked. “He knows how to get on your good side.”

Lee, a former Hyundai CEO, highlighted how the trade deal will help revive the American auto industry and reassured workers that the agreement will not ship their jobs overseas.

“I am here with President Obama today because I want to give this promise to you, and that is that the KORUS FTA will not take away any of your jobs; rather, it will create more jobs for you and your families, and it is going to protect your jobs.  And this is the pledge that I give you today,” Lee said.

“Motor City is going to come back again, and it’s going to revive its past glory.  And I have all the confidence in the world that you are going to do that,” he added.

Obama agreed, saying the pact was a “win-win” for both countries that will ultimately “lead to more jobs, more opportunity for both nations.”

“Even though, you know, he’s a Hyundai guy,” Obama said of Lee. “If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais from Korea, then I know Koreans should be able to buy some Fords and Chryslers and Chevys that are made right here in the United States of America.”     

The day after their official state visit at the White House, Obama and Lee spent the afternoon touring the GM facility where the Chevrolet Sonic is manufactured, a car that was originally engineered for GM Korea. The White House asserts that the Orion plant, which was scheduled to close its doors two years ago during GM’s bankruptcy restructuring, was brought back from the brink by a joint venture with GM Korea, ultimately saving the jobs of the 1,750 workers.

The subcompact car went on to become the first that GM has built in the U.S. in over 40 years and the only one sold in the country that is built in the U.S.

Touting the success of his decision to bail out the auto industry, Obama said: “Two years ago, it looked like this plant was going to have to shut its doors. All these jobs would have been lost; the entire community would have been devastated.  And the same was true for communities all across the Midwest.  And I refused to let that happen."

“When I took office, I was determined to rebuild this economy based on what this country has always done best:  not just buying and consuming, but building, making things, selling those goods all around the world stamped with three proud words:  ‘made in America.’” Obama added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Regulators Investigating Ford Pickup Trucks for Recall

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- More than two million Ford pickup trucks could be recalled due to a fuel tank problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday that steel belts around the fuel tank in the F-150 models from 1997 to 2001 can fracture from rusting. The group started conducting an investigation after complaints came in of the tanks dragging on the road and leaking fuel.

So far there have been two cases of F-150s exploding. There were no reported injuries in either incident.

There are an estimated 2.7 million Ford F-150 pickup trucks that could be affected by the recall.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Houston the Top US Manufacturing City, Detroit Falls in Rank

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(EVANSTON, Ill.) – Manufacturers' News Inc. has released a list of the top U.S. cities based on the number of manufacturing jobs in each city at the end of 2010.

Houston made the top of the list with 228,226 jobs in manufacturing. Other cities in Texas – Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin – also made the top 50.

Rounding out the top three were New York with 139,127 jobs and Chicago with 108,692.

The overall number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., however, has declined 8.4 percent since 2008, according to MNI. One of the hardest-hit cities has been Detroit, which fell from 29th place in 2008 to 45th this year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Goodbye, Mr. Goodwrench: GM to Retire Iconic Service Brand

Photo Courtesy - GM/YouTube(DETROIT) -- General Motors is putting Mr. Goodwrench out to pasture.

The iconic auto repair brand will be replaced early next year as GM and the American auto industry continue to rebuild.

General Motors is replacing its Goodwrench service with more specific labels such as Chevrolet Certified Service, Buick Certified Service, GMC Certified Service and Cadillac Certified Service.

“Our number one priority is providing a world-class ownership experience that creates positive long-lasting relationships with our customers,” said Steve Hill, vice president and general manager, GM Customer Care and Aftersales.

The automaker says it plans to retire the Goodwrench name effective Feb. 1, 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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