After today’s major environmental announcement at the White House where President Obama announced major new national auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked what changed to get the U.S. automakers to agree to standards they’d been fighting against for decades.
"Agreements like that are all about timing," said Schwarzenegger. "Sometimes you hit the wall. You can’t get anywhere and then other times when there’s a crisis, like you have right now, all of a suddenly the car manufacturers, you know, they needed the money, they needed the taxpayers’ money. They needed the federal government to help them.
"And in order to get that help, I’m sure that President Obama said, ‘Okay, if we’re going to give you that help, but here’s what you need to do,’" Schwarzenegger suggested. "And so I think that certain things changed very quickly because of that. So when there is a crisis, there is great opportunities."
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs rejected that the billions in bailout dollars had anything to do with the decisions by General Motors and Chrysler to go along with today’s announcement.
"It didn’t play a role," Gibbs said.*
* Updated with correct Gibbs quote