The president said last week that the decision to send more troops to Afghanistan was his most difficult to date. I wonder if he’d now say that the GM-Chrysler decision he announced today was even tougher. Make no mistake: Obama may be giving GM and Chrysler one last chance to get it right, but the president also signaled how hard it will be for the companies to clear the bar he’s set. The key paragraph? After some internal debate, the president decided to openly discuss the B-word — bankruptcy: "While Chrysler and GM are very different companies with very different paths forward, both need a fresh start to implement the restructuring plans they develop. That may mean using our bankruptcy code as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger," President Barack Obama said in his remarks Monday. "Now, I know that when people even hear the word ‘bankruptcy’ it can be a bit unsettling, so let me explain what I mean. What I am talking about is using our existing legal structure as a tool that, with the backing of the U.S. government, can make it easier for General Motors and Chrysler to quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down so they can get back on their feet and onto a path to success; a tool that we can use, even as workers are staying on the job building cars that are being sold. What I am not talking about is a process where a company is broken up, sold off, and no longer exists. And what I am not talking about is having a company stuck in court for years, unable to get out." The economics of this decision are complex. The politics are perilous. The White House can’t afford headlines in Michigan like the notorious New York Daily News headline that followed President Ford’s 1975 decision to refuse federal aid to NYC: "Ford to City: Drop Dead." That’s why Obama opened his talk with praise for America’s autoworkers and closed it with a clear promise: "I will fight for you." For now, key Michigan politicians won’t abandon Obama. They’ll emphasize the positive in the president’s announcement. But look for them to join the pitchfork gang if bankruptcy proceedings begin before summer.