- - Tuesday, August 9, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Car czar Bloom to step down

President Obama’s top manufacturing adviser Ron Bloom will step down at the end of August, the White House said Tuesday.

Mr. Bloom oversaw the restructuring of Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors, helping restore their profitability after multibillion-dollar taxpayer rescues in 2009 that saved them from collapse.

One of his final public acts was to brief the White House press corp last month on a deal between the administration and top automakers to lift U.S. fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Mr. Bloom was appointed assistant to the president for manufacturing policy in September 2009. His goal was to aid the White House in revitalizing U.S. factory jobs. But the tepid economic recovery has hobbled hiring and U.S. unemployment remains high at 9.2 percent.

Mr. Obama frequently cites the auto rescue as evidence he is prepared to take politically unpopular decisions to protect U.S. manufacturers. But public anger over the bailout has lingered, with many Americans anxious about their jobs and struggling to make ends meet.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama sees political opportunity in debt crisis

President Obama says there’s some good news from the bitterly partisan debt debate — it made people so frustrated with Washington that Democrats will be able to draw a clear divide with Republicans heading into the 2012 election.

The president says that the public thought divided government might be a good idea but that they didn’t sign up for dysfunctional government. And he said he thinks they’re not convinced by what he described as the Republican strategy of slashing spending on social programs.

The president spoke at two Democratic National Committee events Monday night in Washington, one a fundraiser and the other to reach out to donors. He made some reference to Monday’s stock market plunge, saying that even before recent days in the stock market it was clear the recovery wasn’t happening fast enough.

GUATEMALA

U.S. requests panel to decide labor case

The United States said Tuesday it was requesting a dispute settlement panel to hear its year-old complaint that Guatemala has failed to protect workers’ rights as required under a free-trade agreement.

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