Obama Makes Third Lap in Automaker Tour, Touts the Industry is Back

Aug 5, 2010 1:02pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: Rounding out his tour of the big three automakers, President Obama said from the floor of the Ford plant in Chicago today that the auto industry has “proved the naysayers wrong” and is “on its way to becoming number one again.” “I have put my money on the American worker,” Mr. Obama said before workers, “because of your efforts and the sacrifices that have been made across this industry over the past year, this industry is growing stronger.” The president said the efforts are starting to pay off because, “The industry isn't just on the way back; it's — it's on the way to being number one again.” Once again defending his decision to bail out the automakers, the president said that they saved “an industry on the brink.” Ford did not accept bailout money like GM and Chrysler, but the President noted today that if the other two auto companies folded it would have had consequences for their company too. “If your competitors had gone down, they would have taken down a whole bunch of the suppliers you depend on. The brand of American autos would have diminished. That would have had severe consequences for Ford,” Obama said. After touring the Ford plant where he sat in – but did not drive – a 2011 Ford Explorer, the president announced a new $250 million Export-Import Bank loan guarantee for the company. “This will help Ford export more than 200,000 cars and trucks overseas. And that means more production and more manufacturing jobs right here in the United States of America,” the president said, adding that his goal set out in the State of the Union address is to double American exports of goods and services over the next five years. The Department of Energy earlier awarded Ford a two-year loan commitment to help make more fuel efficient models, which Ford used to retool the next-generation Explorer, 30 percent more fuel efficient than the last model. The president said that his last car before he started receiving Secret Service protection was a Ford Escape, but he was only able to put 2,000 miles on it before he wasn’t allowed to drive anymore and ultimately the lease expired. “That was a spiffy car,” he said, “I really enjoyed those 2,000 miles.” After spending his birthday night in his hometown, the president said “there’s nothing like coming home, especially when your home is Chicago,” but noted – yet again – that he comes back home with more gray hair. Last week President Obama visited GM and Chrysler in Michigan. -Sunlen Miller

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