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Yesterday afternoon, President Obama stopped by the Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan to talk about the auto bailout, and the resurgence of America's auto industry over the past few years.
"I wanted to come here to Michigan because this state proves no matter how tough times get, Americans are tougher," he said.
President Obama explained how, a few years ago, almost 20 percent of auto workers were laid off, and 400,000 auto industry jobs vanished in the year before he took office. "And then as the financial crisis built," he added, "we faced what once seemed unimaginable when just two of the Big Three -- GM and Chrysler -- were on the brink of failure."
Noting that the bailout wasn't a very popular decision at the time -- even in Michigan -- the President made clear that his job is not to just do the easy or popular things, but instead to do the right thing.
"And saving the American auto industry was the right thing to do," he said. "Betting on you was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do. And that bet has paid off for America, because the American auto industry is back."
President Obama added, however, that in exchange for the help provided throughout the bailout, we demanded responsibility.
"We said to the auto industry, you’ve got to change with the times," he said. "Plants retooled. Plants restructured. Labor and management worked together, settled their differences. Everybody put some skin in the game." As a result, some of the world's most high-tech, fuel-efficient, and well-designed cars are once again being designed, engineered, and forged right here in America.
The President also noted an important milestone we reached last month -- the official end of the rescue of the auto industry.
"The auto companies have now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my Administration invested in you," he said -- adding that the auto industry has created about 500,000 jobs over the past five years.
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