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Bush Defends Auto Bailouts

“The only option,” says former president in new book.

by on Nov.09, 2010

Former President George W. Bush meeting with his advisers in the Oval Office.

Though they have become a target of the Republican right wing, former President George W. Bush is defending the decision to offer bailouts to General Motors and Chrysler.

Warning he could have left “a mess” for his successor, Barack Obama, Bush says the use of federal funds to keep the two carmakers alive was “the only option.”

The presidential memoir, titled “Decision Points,” and released today by Crown Publishers, underscores the former chief executives concerns about not just the worsening economy but the potential catastrophe of failing to take prompt action “to safeguard American workers and families.

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Ultimately, Bush approved an interim bailout, worth $17.4 billion, for GM and Chrysler.  He failed to get Congressional approval for the helping hand, however, after a disastrous appearance by the CEOs of the Detroit Big Three before two Capitol Hill panels, and had to instead use his authority to tap the so-called TARP fund for the cash.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program was originally set up to provide $700 billion for the nation’s faltering banking system.