July 31st, 2010
10:29 AM ET
4 years ago

Obama touts auto industry turn around, pushes for small biz help

Washington (CNN) - President Obama used his weekly internet and radio address to discuss the auto industry's future and to press for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act, a measure which Obama says Senate Republicans are blocking.

Related: Republican says Obama's agenda hurts small businesses

(Read Obama's full remarks after the jump)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Detroit, Michigan

Hello everyone. I’m speaking to you from the GM auto plant here in Detroit, Michigan, where a hopeful story is unfolding in a place that’s been one of the hardest hit in America.

In the twelve months before I took office, American auto companies lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Sales plunged 40 percent. Liquidation was a very real possibility. Years of papering over tough problems and failing to adapt to changing times – combined with a vicious economic crisis – brought an industry that’s been the symbol of our manufacturing might for a century to the brink of collapse.

We didn’t have many good options. On one hand, we could have continued the practice of handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to the auto industry with no real strings attached. On the other hand, we could have walked away and allowed two major auto companies to go out of business – which could have wiped out one million American jobs.

I refused to let that happen. So we came up with a third way. We said to the auto companies – if you’re willing to make the hard decisions necessary to adapt and compete in the 21st century, we’ll make a one-time investment in your future.

Of course, if some folks had their way, none of this would be happening at all. This plant might not exist. There were leaders of the “just say no” crowd in Washington who argued that standing by the auto industry would guarantee failure. One called it “the worst investment you could possibly make.” They said we should just walk away and let these jobs go.

Today, the men and women in this plant are proving these cynics wrong. Since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, our auto industry has added 55,000 jobs – the strongest period of job growth in more than ten years. For the first time since 2004, all three American automakers are operating at a profit. Sales have begun to rebound. And plants like this that wouldn’t have existed if all of us didn’t act are now operating maximum capacity.

What’s more, thanks to our investments, a lot of these auto companies are reinventing themselves to meet the demands of a new age. At this plant, they’re hard at work building the high-quality, fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow – cars like the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt that can run 40 miles before taking a sip of gasoline. Throughout Michigan, an advanced battery industry is taking root that will power clean electric cars – an industry that produced only 2 percent of the world’s advanced batteries last year, but will now be able to produce as much as 40 percent in a little over five years. That’s real progress.

There’s no doubt that we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do before folks here and across the country can feel whole again. But what’s important is that we’re finally beginning to see some of the tough decisions we made pay off. And if we had listened to the cynics and the naysayers – if we had simply done what the politics of the moment required – none of this progress would have happened.

Still, even as these icons of American industry are being reborn, we also need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s small businessmen and women, as well - particularly since they’re the ones who create most of the new jobs in this country.

As we work to rebuild our economy, I can’t imagine anything more common-sense than giving additional tax breaks and badly-needed lending assistance to America’s small business owners so they can grow and hire. That’s what we’re trying to do with the Small Business Jobs Act – a bill that has been praised as being good for small businesses by groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. It’s a bill that includes provision after provision authored by both Democrats and Republicans. But yesterday, the Republican leaders in the Senate once again used parliamentary procedures to block it. Understand, a majority of Senators support the plan. It’s just that the Republican leaders in the Senate won’t even allow it to come up for a vote.

That isn’t right. And I’m calling on the Republican leaders in the Senate to stop holding America’s small businesses hostage to politics, and allow an up-or-down vote on this small business jobs bill.

At a time when America is just starting to move forward again, we can’t afford the do-nothing policies and partisan maneuvering that will only take us backward. I won’t stand here and pretend everything’s wonderful. I know that times are tough. But what I also know is that we’ve made it through tough times before. And we’ll make it through again. The men and women hard at work in this plant make me absolutely confident of that.

So to all the naysayers out there, I say this: Don’t ever bet against the American people. Because we don’t take the easy way out. That’s not how we deal with challenge. That’s not how we build this country into the greatest economic power the world has ever known. We did it by summoning the courage to persevere, and adapt, and push this country forward, inch by inch. That’s the spirit I see in this plant today, and as long as I have the privilege of being your President, I will keep fighting alongside you until we reach a better day.

Thanks.


Filed under: issues • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Dale

    Republican leaders WANT the recession to be as long and deep as possible so Obama will get the blame and be seen as a failure. "I want Obama to fail." <– their words, not mine.

    July 31, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Marie MD

    Now that this actually worked and jobs were kept and auto industries are in the black where are the naysayers of the party of NO, poe, burton, carter, diaper man vitter and grand jury investigation into ethics violations ensign?
    Oh right, it worked so now they are keeping their big money filled mouths shut!

    July 31, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. jay

    You have to remember that the GOP wants all jobs exported and all Goods imported, that's why they say no to everything.

    July 31, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. marxist dogs are out of control

    Obama strong armed 83 BILLION dollars from American taxpayers and flushed it down the GM toilet. We will never get our money back. Good show, but one big fat lie.

    July 31, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Donnatella

    I'm am so glad that Obama saved the American auto industry, these so-called patriots ride around in foreign cars supporting communist countries while at the same time calling our president a communist, hypocrites all of them. I drive a blue Mustang with white stripes, when my lease is up I'm getting the new Camaro, there is nothing like a good American car, foreign cars feel light as a feather from the cheap steel they use and they have no style. Thank you President Obama!

    July 31, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. thor

    Obama shows his complete failure to understand the free market system and capitalism.He forgets that FORD made it through the tough times without government intervention.We will never know what the outcomes would have been for both GM and Chrlysler because the free market system was not allowed to work.Obama can talk all he wants and say that he made things better but i say that is all it is -TALK.I have yet to see the improvements that he continues to promote.As far as his "summer recovery tour" put it in the land of dark !!!

    July 31, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. ib

    Ih a ve Chevy HHR that was built in Mexico and a Honda Accord this was built in Maryville, Ohio now you tell me which company employed more US workers in building these cars. GM and the other so called American companies need to start building cars back in the USA and not in Mexico and Canada.

    July 31, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Charlie in Maine

    Speaking of cars. Who was driving when we flipped over and went into the ditch? That's right ladies and gentlemen. In many ways Obama's job has been that of "Tow truck driver in Cheif" for the last 20 months he has worked tirelessly to get us turned back right and pull out of the ditch the GOP put us in.

    Well now this bunch (swearing they are sober now) want us to give them the keys. Don't do it America.

    July 31, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Keith in Austin

    Wow!! Even though Bozo is now in full campaign mode spewing his lofty rhetoric to a bunch of union shills at GM (Government Motors) the American People are not buying his Liberal BS any longer!

    July 31, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Marie MD

    @keith in austin – why don't you take your fellow state trailer trash folks and secede?
    The name is President Obama – you are the bozo!!!
    GM stants for General Motors and if it hadn't been for the President Michigan would be in a worse shape than it is at present.
    Pull your head out of your fat behind and stop listening to faux news and the limberger guy. Try to educate yourself, then again . . . . . some people just don't like the facts in front of them.

    July 31, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Doraine Gordon

    The Republicans have never been interested in Small Business, the children or the Grandchildren before. Why are they showing an interest in these things now? Remember the CHIPS program, an insurance proram for needy children? Bush vetoed that bill time and time again until he got more war money. The GOP keeps harping about how stopping the tax cuts for the wealthy will destroy Small Business, That is a bald fced lie and they know it. I didn't realize how mean and heartless the Republicans are but they definitely are a sorry lot. Do you know how to tell when they are lying? Their lips ae moving.

    July 31, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. annie s

    Once again, our thanks to this President for saving jobs and helping to bring pride and excellence back to the American auto industry. Mostly, thanks to him for understanding and trying, in spite of obstructionism from republicans, to do what is necessary to heal our economy and to bring our nation forward into the 21st Century.

    July 31, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Timothy McVeigh would have been a teabag leader today

    Thanks to a great President.

    July 31, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. vic

    One News network certain time in day called themselves opinion network we called them full time advocacy network

    Thursday (07-29-2010) morning they criticizes president attending View same afternoon advocacy network took 180 turn “he can’t take credit that first president attending day show G.W.Bush attend Dr.Phill show in 2004”

    Friday (07-30-2010) morning Detroit bail out didn’t work unemployment in Detroit is 13% after president speech when public came to know auto industries back on track because of bail out same day evening advocacy network took 180 turn in the evening said this “G.W. Bush helped auto industries in November 2008 to avoid bankruptcy”

    July 31, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Quick quiz:

    What president has, now, with 2Q 2010 figures released, saved this country by helping direct it to FOUR CONSECUTIVE quarters of GDP growth?

    Thank you Mr. President for ending Bush's recession!

    July 31, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    What ever went with the affordable auto why cant they build a car that retails for 10.000 dollars or less the auto industries are living beyond the little peoples mean's

    July 31, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Bill in CA.

    Glad I own a Ford...they don't owe the govt. one friggin dime!

    July 31, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. malabar

    Yeah! leave ears alone! only dems have the right to insult republican presidents, paint hitler mustaches on them, produce films and write books about his assasination! dems have the right to lynch black conservatives in public (clarence thomas) and call any black republican uncle tom. only dems like sandra bernhard can hope 4 palin to b raped by black brothers with no womens org caring. only dems cud cheat on their taxes and get a promotion. only dems can play hide the salami with ugly fat chicks and remain prez. only dems can alter video and take words out of context. dont u c how superior, tolerant, and progressive dems r! u uneducated, patriotic, baby lovers! now stop hating the American middle class and go spend 2 million bucks on a wedding to show how in touch u r with us! y arent u more tolerant! go wish rush dies! go slander millions of people bcuz of their beliefs! no, not the islamic extremists silly, church going inbreds! now preach about going green then go drive ur suv hahaha

    July 31, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. katiec

    The republican party is not going to help small business, they are not going to help the unemployed, which they created, middle class American, veterans, less fortunate etc.
    The ONLY support they give is for Wall St and the rich.
    Wake up America. They are not representing you.

    July 31, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. u2canfail

    Thank you President Obama, thousands of suppliers stayed in business because you supported the auto industry. That is millions of jobs. SAVED JOBS!

    July 31, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Paul H

    Our economy goes in cycles people. The Auto industry is one of the first hit when things start going bad. GM and Chrysler would have retooled, and made some changes on their own, and survived without Government intervention (look at Ford).
    It's the nature of things, up's and down, and as soon as the economy started going south the first thing Bush did was spend money on bail out's, then Obama with all of his touting of change did the same thing, and even more so.
    And we have a media that want's to divide us left and right. It's our government in general that has taken the wrong path, and that's why tea parties have come into existence.
    It's not left, or right. Get back to the middle, and common sense.

    July 31, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Ancient Texan

    Keith in Austin.– You're correct! Obama is just preaching to the choir on the success (?) of UAW Motors, Everyone else knows better.

    July 31, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Bob of Lompoc

    As much as I like and support President Obama, I have to say that my independent observations give me a bad feeling, contrary to his, about The American Auto Industry. As I drive by the auto lots of my City, County ansd State I continue to notice a large percentage of the new and used autos on the lots that are the monster motor and gas eating types, such as "Cowboy Pickup Trucks", "Adolescent Appealing Mustangs, Corvettes, Dodge Chargers" and, finally, "The Large Country Club Type Four Door Republican Cars", sitting on the lots, gathering dust. They are NOT moving. Trouble. GM, Ford, Chrysler, etc.: When will they ever learn?

    July 31, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. jonas

    watch out for 2012 he is going to GRilll the GOP and the REpubs.

    July 31, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Obama knows nothing of the economy

    Funny how Obama touts his supposed successes.... Ford is doing better than the two groups that took BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars.

    The jobs that Obama touts he saved would have gone to more competetive companies. Now instead, $40B will never be paid back.

    (...and to the idiots that claim that republicans want our economy to fails so that Obama fails–that is just stupid. We all want to live our lives without Obama's oversight. We want bad policies to fail.)

    July 31, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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