Obama to Defend Car Bailout with Auto Plant Visits

President Obama will travel to Chrysler and GM plants in Detroit and Chicago.

President Barack Obama will visit Chrysler and General Motors plants this week, to defend the "tough decisions" he made last year to save the firms from going under, the White House said on July 23.

The visits will mark the latest attempt by Obama to defend his policies, as polls show Americans souring on his economic management amid high unemployment and fears that the rebound could be slowing.

Obama will travel to Chrysler and GM plants in Detroit on Friday, July 30, and then go to a Ford plant in his home town of Chicago the following week, the White House said.

"Just over a year after President Obama made tough decisions to save Chrysler and GM, these companies are returning to profitability, hiring workers, and keeping plants open," the White House said.

"Because of the steps the administration and Congress have taken with Cash for Clunkers and the Recovery Act, the industry overall is strengthening."

Cash for Clunkers was a wildly popular incentive scheme for consumers to turn in old, polluting, gas guzzling cars for new more efficient models and the Recovery Act was Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan.

The White House said the Detroit Hamtramck plant Obama will visit was one of nine that GM recently kept open, during a planned summer shutdown.

The Chrysler plant has added a second shift of workers worth 1,100 jobs and the Chicago Ford plant is also looking at creating 1,200 new jobs.

Now that GM and Chrysler have been restructured, cut costs and are targeting growth and their sales figures are improving rapidly, the White House will argue their recovery was due to Obama's action.

Obama will also likely stress that bailout funds are being paid back and may bill the stock the government owns in the auto industry, which it will slowly divest, as a bargain for taxpayers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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