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Obama: We will recoup all auto bailout money

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WASHINGTON » President Barack Obama said the government will recover all the taxpayer money his administration provided to bail out the auto industry last year.

In an interview aired yesterday on the ABC daytime talk show "The View," Obama said the auto industry "tells a good story" of his administration’s efforts to rescue the economy. He planned to highlight that story with stops at three auto plants over the next several days, including stops at General Motors and Chrysler plants in Detroit today.

"You now have all those U.S. auto companies showing a profit. They’ve rehired 55,000 workers. We are going to get all the money back that we invested in those car companies," Obama said in the interview.

The Obama and Bush administrations poured $85 billion into General Motors, Chrysler, auto lenders and suppliers to avoid an industrywide meltdown in 2008 and 2009. The companies have shown signs of improvement, and Obama plans to discuss the progress in the auto industry following the government-led bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler.

The White House said Obama’s proclamation on recouping funds referred only to the $60 billion his administration spent rescuing the auto industry, not the $25 billion spent under the Bush administration. The most recent government estimate found that taxpayers will lose $24.3 billion on the auto bailout.

Obama will visit GM’s Hamtramck plant, which is planning to assemble the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car. The plant is one of nine the automaker will keep open during the typical two-week summer shutdown to boost production of popular models.

In nearby Detroit, Obama will tour Chrysler’s Jefferson North plant. Next week the president will visit the Chicago plant.

In a report on the status of the auto industry, the White House said failing to intervene would have led to the loss of nearly 1.1 million jobs. The auto industry has added 55,000 jobs in the year since the automotive bankruptcies, making it the strongest year of job growth in the industry since 1999.


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