By Eric Zimmermann - 04/24/10 10:00 AM EDT
Federal aid to the auto industry is showing clear dividends, President Barack Obama said Saturday.
Obama cited this week's news that Chrysler posted a profit last quarter for the first time since the financial collapse. Moreoever, the president touted estimates that 45,000 jobs have been created in the industry since GM went through bankruptcy.
"[I]t wasn’t an easy call," Obama said in his weekly address. "But we decided that while providing additional assistance was a risk, the far greater risk to families and communities across our country was to do nothing."
Obama said the turnaround will hasten the day when the federal government will no longer have a stake in the auto industry.
"As I’ve said many times, I did not run for president to get into the auto business or the banking business," he said. "As essential as it was that we got in, I’m glad to see that we’re getting out."
The president sought to tie the long-term health of the industry to the financial reform currently pending in Congress. Stricter oversight of Wall Street, Obama said, will help the auto industry get back on its footing.
"Part of what led to the crisis in our auto industry – and one of the main causes of the economic downturn – were problems in our financial sector," the president said.
Passing a financial regulatory overhall, Obama said, will "restore trust and confidence in our markets."
"That’s how we’ll help to put an end to the cycles of boom and bust that we’ve seen," he added. "And that’s how – after two very difficult years – we’ll not only revive the economy, but help to rebuild it stronger than ever before."