Obama’s Weekly Address: Defending the Auto Bailout

Mar 3, 2012 6:00am

President Obama continued to tout his bailout of the auto industry and draw sharp contrasts with his Republican rivals who opposed the decision.

“If we had let this great American industry collapse – if we had let Detroit go bankrupt – more than 1 million Americans would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression,” Obama said today in his weekly address, referencing GOP front-runner Mitt Romney’s 2008 New York Times op-ed, entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” “I refused to let that happen.

“In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility,” the president added. “We got the companies to retool and restructure. Everyone sacrificed. And three years later, the American auto industry is back.”

With Americans feeling the pain at the pump, the president highlighted the steps his administration has taken to improve fuel efficiency standards, arguing that the auto industry isn’t just building cars again, “they’re building better cars.”

“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,” he said.

That isn’t enough, however, Obama added, continuing to promote his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and reject calls for increased domestic oil production.

“We can’t just drill our way out of this problem,” he said. “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.”

Obama argued that repealing oil and gas subsidies is something Congress can act on immediately to ease the nation’s energy challenges.

“Every year, $4 billion of your tax dollars go to subsidizing the oil industry,” he said. “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.”

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