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America “Cannot Walk Away” From Auto Industry

President’s speech signals a new direction.

by on Feb.25, 2009

"The nation cannot walk away" from the auto industry.

"The nation cannot walk away" from an auto industry "millions of jobs depend on."

“The nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it,” declared President Barack Obama, during a speech to the joint houses of Congress, Tuesday night.

The 52-minute address, effectively the new President’s first State of the Union, covered a broad range of topics, from the nation’s economic crisis, to the war in Iraq, from health care to education. But a fair share of the President’s comments were devoted to the ailing American auto industry and the energy policies that could shape the future of transportation.

Noting that “millions of jobs depend on it,” President Obama said that, “We are committed to the goal of a retooled, reimagined auto industry that can compete and win.” That was undoubtedly good news to Detroit’s troubled Big Three automakers. But other comments were also aimed at chastening the executives who oversaw the domestic industry’s desperate slide.

“As for our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink,” said the President. “We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices.”