The Note: Of Clintons and Clintonistas

"Warning of a doomsday economic scenario, the top executives of the Big Three US automakers made a historic appeal yesterday for $25 billion in loans, telling Congress the money is desperately needed to stave off the collapse of the companies and the direct and indirect loss of millions of jobs," Michael Kranish writes in The Boston Globe. "A Senate vote could be held as soon as today, but prospects for passage were unclear."

Even Mitt Romney, son of Detroit, says let the companies fail: "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won't go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed," Romney writes in a New York Times op-ed. "Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course -- the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check."

Not helping their cases: "The CEOs of the big three automakers flew to the nation's capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy," ABC's Brian Ross and Joseph Rhee report.

Presidential leadership, anyone? "Amid rising foreclosures, President-elect Barack Obama faces pressure to jump in before January and ask Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to release unexpended financial rescue funds to help homeowners modify the terms of their mortgages," Politico's David Rogers reports. "Obama has already spoken up for the auto industry -- an issue for his former colleagues in the Senate this week. But amid the transfer of power in Washington, going to Paulson would be a more unusual move: an incoming president tipping the scales in what's become a dispute in the outgoing administration between Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp."

What he is doing: "At an international conference on climate change convened Nov. 18 by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Obama told the audience in taped remarks that he intended to stick to the aggressive carbon-reduction targets he promised before the election, beginning with a federal cap-and-trade system that would put the U.S. on course to reduce emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020, then cut them by another 80% by 2050," Time's Bryan Walsh writes. "The move reassured doubtful greens."

Advice for the president-elect: "What should be his very first act? Keeping his Blackberry," Newsweek's Jonathan Alter writes. "Before Obama gets to 'Yes, We Can,' he has to start with 'Yes, I Can.' And the only way he can be successful in the presidency is if he can stay connected to the world beyond the 'splendid isolation' of the presidency. To succeed, he must be constantly exposed to a wide variety of opinions -- not just from advisers, experts, pundits and polls, but from his friends."

To be resolved Thursday: John Dingell vs. Henry Waxman.

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