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President Obama on GM: "One of the Toughest Tales" Becoming a "Success Story"

The President discusses General Motors' relaunch as a public company, allowing the government to take huge steps towards giving up its stake and getting the taxpayers' money back.

The last time GM made as much news as their IPO has it was on the brink of destruction, at a point where many didn't think the situation was salvagable.  Today's news was considerably better, as the President explained this afternoon:

Today, one of the toughest tales of the recession took another big step towards becoming a success story.

General Motors relaunched itself as a public company, cutting the government’s stake in the company by nearly half.  What’s more, American taxpayers are now positioned to recover more than my administration invested in GM.

And that’s a very good thing.  Last year, we told GM’s management and workers that if they made the tough decisions necessary to make themselves more competitive in the 21st century -- decisions requiring real leadership, fresh thinking and also some shared sacrifice –- then we would stand by them.  And because they did, the American auto industry -– an industry that’s been the proud symbol of America’s manufacturing might for a century; an industry that helped to build our middle class -– is once again on the rise.

Our automakers are in the midst of their strongest period of job growth in more than a decade.  Since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, the industry has created more than 75,000 new jobs.  For the first time in six years, Ford, GM and Chrysler are all operating at a profit.  In fact, last week, GM announced its best quarter in over 11 years.  And most importantly, American workers are back at the assembly line manufacturing the high-quality, fuel-efficient, American-made cars of tomorrow, capable of going toe to toe with any other manufacturer in the world.

By contrast, independent estimates have said that a million or more American jobs would have been lost had the government not taken the tough steps it did, dealing another brutal blow to the larger economy when it was teetering on the bring of complete disaster...

That wasn’t an acceptable option –- to throw up our hands and to quit.  That’s not what we do.  This is a country of optimistic and determined people who don’t give up when times are tough.  We do what’s necessary to move forward.

So these last two years haven’t been easy on anybody.  They haven’t been without pain or sacrifice, as the tough restructuring of GM reminds us.  And obviously we’ve still got a long road ahead and a lot of work to do -– to rebuild this economy, to put people back to work, to make America more competitive for the future and to secure the American Dream for our children and our grandchildren.

But we are finally beginning to see some of these tough decisions that we made in the midst of crisis pay off.  And I’m absolutely confident that we’re going to keep on making progress.  I believe we’re going to get through this tougher and stronger than we were before.  Because just as I had faith in the ability of our autoworkers to persevere and succeed, I have faith in the American people’s ability to persevere and succeed.  And I have faith that America’s best days and America’s -- and American manufacturing’s best days are still ahead of us.