President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAfter the loss of three giants of conservation, Biden must pick up the mantle Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy, and the politics of rage Former Obama White House adviser pleads guilty to wire fraud MORE is planning to tout the $80 billion bailout of the U.S. auto industry that was managed by his administration during a trip to Michigan Wednesday in the run up to his upcoming State of the Union address.
Obama is traveling to a Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., where he is scheduled to speak on Wednesday afternoon.
Ford was the only major U.S. auto company that did not receive a bailout out from the federal government in 2008 and 2009, but White House officials said Obama would use the appearance to “highlight the workers in the resurgent American automotive and manufacturing sector now that the auto rescue has been completed, and the decision to save the auto industry and the over one million jobs that went with it.”
The bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler were first initiated under former President George W. Bush. But the Obama administration has moved to take credit for them as the U.S. auto industry has improved its performance in recent years.
Obama hammered 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy, and the politics of rage Romney says it 'would be nuts' for the RNC to block candidates from commission debates MORE for his opposition to the loans for the duration of his bid for re-election that year. The bailouts were credited with playing a large role in helping Ohio to win the critical swing of Ohio en route to his defeat of Romney.
Conservatives sharply criticized the auto bailouts when they were first issued, frequently referring to General Motors as “Government Motors” in reference the federal government’s decision to purchase a large percentage of GM’s shares when the company was badly struggling at the beginning of the bailout.
The Treasury Department announced the end of the auto bailout last month, however, saying that the federal government has sold all its shares in auto companies.
Manufacturing groups in Washington said Obama deserved to take a victory lap now that the auto bailouts have proven to be successful in turning around the U.S. car industry, even as they pressed for other actions to boost manufacturing in the nation.
“I’m excited that President Obama is visiting Michigan to draw attention to the rebounding U.S. auto sector, the health of which is a point of national pride,” Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said in a statement.
“This administration deserves tremendous credit for its rescue plan for GM and Chrysler, which put those companies and the entire auto supply chain on sound footing in the face of potential economic doom,” Paul continued.” But I’m concerned that this same administration appears to be tone deaf to the real concerns of domestic automakers and their workers that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement could undermine their competitiveness.”
The auto bailout was part of the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP, which spent more than $400 billion bailing out a number of companies from a wide range of industries after the financial crisis.