Entries in Auto Industry (6)


Obama, Biden Unite as Auto Champions in Ohio

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(DAYTON, Ohio) – With debate season in the rearview mirror, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden united Tuesday in western Ohio, casting themselves as the only true champions of the state’s resurgent auto industry in an effort to bolster their working-class vote.

The Democratic ticket triumphantly asserted that voters there understand better than any what the Obama-backed 2009 auto bailout meant for Ohio jobs. And they argued that no matter what Republican nominee Mitt Romney now says, his past opposition to the bailout is widely known.

“I hope I made clear that there’s a big difference between me and Mitt Romney. And it’s not just that he’s got better hair,” Obama joked about Monday night’s final presidential debate.

“Governor Romney looked you right in the eye, looked me in the eye, tried to pretend that he never said, 'Let Detroit go bankrupt.' Tried to pretend he meant the same thing I did when we intervened and worked to make sure that management and workers got together to save the U.S. auto industry, pretended like somehow I have taken his advice,” Obama said.

“The people don’t forget. The people of Dayton don’t forget. The people of Ohio don’t forget,” he said.

In 2008, Romney wrote an op-ed in the New York Times opposing a taxpayer-funded bailout of GM and Chrysler, calling instead for a “managed bankruptcy,” which ultimately occurred. The article’s title, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” was written by the paper, not Romney.

“Barack Obama’s attack has been deemed false by multiple independent fact checkers and is clearly designed to hide his failed record and lack of an agenda for a second term. Mitt Romney proposed the right course for the automakers, a structured bankruptcy process to allow them to keep jobs in Ohio and emerge as sustainable and profitable enterprises,” said Romney spokesman Chris Maloney.

Democrats contend the process could not have proceeded successfully without the backing of the federal government to assure investors.

“Without government support, those companies would have fallen,” said senior Obama advisor David Plouffe. “I think Gov. Romney was having one of his bouts of ‘Romnesia’ he has. If he was president of the U.S. the American auto industry would have been decimated.”

The auto industry supports one in eight Ohio jobs, according to the Labor Department.

Obama has visited Ohio 17 times this year -- more than any other state. Vice President Biden has swung through the state nine times, often focusing on the auto manufacturing theme.

Biden Tuesday accused Romney of trying to “rewrite history” on the auto industry rescue in claiming that a managed bankruptcy was his idea all along.

“Half the time, I didn’t know whether Governor Romney was there to debate Barack Obama or endorse Barack Obama,” he said mockingly. “You know, I mean, it was hard to tell! But I have a message for the good governor. Governor, you can’t run from the truth.”

Polls show the Obama-Biden ticket holds a slight lead over Romney-Ryan in the 2012 presidential race in Ohio, but the margin has tightened in recent weeks. No candidate for president since 1960 has won the presidency without winning Ohio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Compares Auto Industry Struggles in Michigan, Wisconsin

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(ROCHESTER, Mich.) --  In Mitt Romney’s home state, Paul Ryan held a rally Monday in front of one of his largest crowds on the campaign trail and tailored his remarks for the Michigan audience, comparing job losses in his home state of Wisconsin to the auto industry’s struggles in Michigan.

“We lost four auto factories in the area I represent in just the last four years,” Ryan said.  "We lost our plant, our GM plant in Janesville, our Chrysler Kenosha plant, we lost two Delphi plants in Oak Creek.  Trust me, I come from Detroit West.  We know we need a healthy auto sector.  I come from a GM town, and as we said in Janesville, we've always said -- as GM goes, so goes Janesville."  

"Well, we've all gotten knocked down.  We've seen some carnage in the auto sector," he continued.  "Know this: We want the strongest auto sector.  We lost 38,000 manufacturing jobs just in the last two months.  Over 10,000 of them came from auto.  The good news is if you put the right people in place and get the right policies in place, we can turn this around.”

At a fundraiser earlier Monday in Pontiac, Mich., Ryan first made the comments about the auto industry and thanked the donors who paid between $1,000 and $50,000 for “helping” to “communicate this to our fellow Michiganders and Wisconsinites.”

The Obama campaign sent out an aggressive response to Ryan’s comments, saying the “American people have come to expect stunning dishonesty from Congressman Ryan and Mitt Romney, but the truth is their policies would be devastating for middle class families.”

“Ryan told supporters that Romney knows we need a strong auto industry, but Romney would have just ‘let Detroit go bankrupt,'” Obama spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement, referring to the controversial op-ed Romney wrote for the New York Times in November 2008 where he called for the Michigan auto industry to go through a “structured bankruptcy.”

The GOP vice presidential nominee told reporters on Monday that he thinks his ticket will take the state, adding, “I think we got a really good chance.”  However, polls have the president leading in Michigan and the Romney campaign is not running any television advertising in the state.

Ryan will be in Florida Tuesday for another intense day and a half of debate prep before he faces off against Joe Biden Thursday in the only vice presidential debate, hosted by ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama's Weekly Address: No Shortcut To Taking Control of Our Energy Future

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people that three years after helping the auto industry save more than one million jobs, the American auto industry is back and creating cars that he says are more fuel efficient than ever. 

But he also stresses how the American people must also end the $4 billion in tax breaks that he says oil companies receive each year. 

Full transcript as follows:

"Hi, everybody.  Earlier this week, I spent some time with the hardworking men and women of the American auto industry, who are busy writing a new chapter in America’s story.  

"Just a few years ago, their industry was shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Two of the Big Three – GM and Chrysler – were on the brink of failure.  If we had let this great American industry collapse – if we had let Detroit go bankrupt – more than one million Americans would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

"I refused to let that happen.  These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck – they’re a source of pride and a ticket to the middle class.  These companies are worth more than just the cars they build – they’re a symbol of American innovation and a source of our manufacturing might.

"So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We got the companies to retool and restructure.  Everyone sacrificed.  And three years later, the American auto industry is back.
Today, GM is the number one automaker in the world.  Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company.  Ford is investing billions in American plants and factories, and plans to bring thousands of jobs back home.  All told, the entire industry has added more than 200,000 new jobs over the past two and a half years.

"And they’re not just building cars again – they’re building better cars.  Thanks to new fuel efficiency standards we put in place, they’re building cars that will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s almost double what they get today.  That means folks will be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week, saving the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time.  That’s a big deal, especially as families are yet again feeling the pinch from rising gas prices.

"So what’s happening in Detroit will make a difference.  But it won’t solve everything.  There’s no silver bullet for avoiding spikes in gas prices every year.  There’s no shortcut to taking control of our energy future.  We have to pursue an all-of-the-above strategy that helps develop every source of American energy.  And we have to do it now.

"The good news is, we’ve been making progress.  Take a look at this chart.  Six years ago, 60% of the oil we used was imported.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has decreased every single year.  In fact, in 2010, for the first time in thirteen years, less than half the petroleum we consumed was imported.  Part of that is because we’re producing more oil here at home than at any time in the last eight years.  

"But we can’t just drill our way out of this problem.   While we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil, we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  We’ve got to develop new technology that will help us use new forms of energy.  That’s been a priority of mine as President.  And because of the investments we’ve made, our use of clean, renewable energy has nearly doubled – and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

"Now we need to keep at it.  And to do that, we need to make the right choices.  

"Here’s one we can make right now.  Every year, $4 billion of your tax dollars go to subsidizing the oil industry.  These are the same companies making record profits – tens of billions of dollars a year.  I don’t think oil companies need more corporate welfare.  Congress should end this taxpayer giveaway.  If you agree with me, I’m asking you to e-mail, call, or Tweet your representative.  Tell them to stop fighting for oil companies.  Tell them to start fighting for working families.  Tell them to fight for the clean energy future that’s within our reach.  Because the sooner we all get started, the sooner we’ll get there together.  Thanks and have a great weekend."


Democrats Hit Romney on Auto Bailout

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ahead of Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate in Michigan, Democrats are renewing attacks on Mitt Romney over his opposition to the multi-billion dollar government bailouts of GM and Chrysler -- automobile giants that are headquartered in the state.

In a new web video titled “Hit the Road, Mitt,” the Democratic National Committee highlights a November 2008 op-ed Romney penned for The New York Times titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” and features an audio clip of Romney saying those same words.

“This city.  Where American rubber meets the road.  A town that’s been to hell and back.  So what was his answer for the Motor City?” the narrator asks.

“Let Detroit go bankrupt,” interjects Romney’s voice.

The automakers, who did ultimately receive an infusion of government cash backed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats, have since experienced a resurgence of viability and profitability.  The issue has become an accomplishment frequently cited by Obama and his re-election campaign.

“Voters in Michigan will have a clear choice between Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field which wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, and President Obama, who not only extended a loan and restructuring package that saved 1.4 million jobs up and down the auto supply chain,” DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse said in a statement.

GM and Chrysler have repaid much of the funds they received and preserved thousands of American jobs, but independent analysts say the bailout has cost taxpayers at least $14 billion because the stock the government received in exchange for the loans -- and later sold -- did not equal the value of the loans.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Visit Ohio Chrysler Plant, Speak on Auto Bailout's Success

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- President Obama will visit a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio Friday, congratulating once-bankrupt auto companies for zooming back to life.

The president is expected to tout the success of bailing out the auto industry -- a decision that was not popular when he took office, and remains controversial for some, who re-dubbed General Motors' "GM" as "Government Motors."

His tour of the plant comes a day after the Treasury Department announced it was selling back its final stake in Chrysler to Fiat.  After being bailed out, Chrysler has repaid all of its debt, six years ahead of schedule.

Half of the General Motors stock the government owns has been sold back to the public, and the White House claims taxpayers will get back $66 billion of the $80 billion invested.

And perhaps not coincidentally, Obama's announcement is being made in a key a battleground state in the 2012 election.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Hails Chrysler Factory 'Shining Example' of Auto Recovery 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(KOKOMO, Ind.) -- Describing the Chrysler factory as once “dark and empty,” President Obama on Tuesday trumpeted the success of the Kokomo, Indiana, factory, now at full capacity, hailing it a “shining example” of the auto industry’s recovery since the federal bailout.

“Even as we continue to face serious challenges, what's happening here at this plant, the changes we're seeing throughout Kokomo, are signs of hope and confidence in the future, in our future, together,” Obama said from the floor of the Chrysler factory Tuesday afternoon.

The Kokomo plant two years ago had plummeting production and had to lay off many of their workers. With the federal government’s bailout, the plant is back at full capacity and hiring workers. Kokomo's unemployment has gone from a staggering 20 percent in June of 2009 to 12 percent this fall.

“There were those who were prepared to give up on Kokomo and our auto industry,” the president said. “There were those who said it was going to be too difficult, or that it was bad politics, or it was throwing good money after bad. You remember the voices arguing for us to do nothing. They were pretty loud, suggesting we should just step back and watch an entire sector of our economy fall apart.”

The president heralded the Big Three automakers’ recovery as well, saying that for the first time in over a decade Americans are buying a larger share of Chrysler, Ford, and GM cars and a smaller share of their foreign counterparts.

Bringing up the bipartisan summit scheduled for next Tuesday from the White House, the president called for Democrats and Republicans to work together to better the economy, and work on tax cuts, in order to “make it easier, not harder, for middle-class families to get ahead.”

President Obama and Vice President Biden made three local stops in the Kokomo area. The pair visited an elementary school and the Gingerbread House Bakery and ate lunch with firefighters who had been laid off but got their jobs back due to a FEMA grant.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio