By Keith Laing - 05/10/11 08:59 PM EDT
The White House took credit for the $2 billion U.S. investment announced by General Motors Tuesday, saying President Obama's "tough love" helped the company regain its footing.
Ron Bloom, assistant to the president for manufacturing policy, said GM's announcement would not have happened if President Obama had listened to the mostly Republican critics of the auto bailouts.
"Had the Administration failed to intervene, conservative estimates suggest that it would have cost at least an additional one million jobs and devastated vast parts of our nation’s industrial heartland.
"But at the same time, the President did not provide unconditional support," Bloom continued. "He insisted that the companies and their stakeholders make tough choices and undertake massive restructurings requiring huge sacrifices from all of their stakeholders. Because of this 'tough love,' the American auto industry is now positioned to grow and prosper as the economy recovers."
GM on Tuesday announced it plans to spend $2 billion on 17 auto plants in eight states. GM Chairman Dan Akerson said the company is "confident about demand for our vehicles and the economy."
Obama was widely criticized for intervening in the affairs of the auto companies after federal officials removed the head of General Motors in 2009. The company was derisively referred to as "government motors" and Obama famously declared in a news conference, "I don’t want to run auto companies. I don’t want to run banks.”
"I’ve got two wars to run,” Obama said in April of 2009. “The sooner we can get out [of Chrysler and GM], the better off we’re going to be.”
President Obama's reelection campaign has already begun targeted pitches to factory-heavy Midwestern states like Michigan and Ohio that credit Obama with "saving" the American auto industry.
GM has been touting its sales for the first four months of this year, which were up 24.8 percent over the same period in 2010. The company has had five consecutive profitable quarters since emerging from bankruptcy.