- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 13, 2012

President Obama on Saturday touted his administration’s rescue of the American auto industry, a theme the president and vice president have been hammering home on the campaign trail, especially in swing state Ohio.

“Just a few years ago, the auto industry wasn’t just struggling — it was flatlining,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly prerecorded Saturday address. “But we refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way.”

“All of this is something the American people can and should be proud of,” he added. “It’s a reminder that when the American people put their mind to something, there’s nothing we can’t do.”

Mr. Obama, who is preparing for the crucial second presidential debate Tuesday night with GOP challenger Mitt Romney, was in Ohio on Tuesday and is scheduled to return to the Buckeye State next week.

Mr. Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have also crisscrossed the state this week, and both men have events scheduled in Ohio on Saturday.

Mr. Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, have emphasized the 2009 auto bailout in Ohio, where one in eight jobs are related to the industry. In Saturday’s address, the president noted that new car sales are at a four-year high.

General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are all taking steps forward, the president said.

He also pointed to GM’s announcement this week that it plans to hire 1,500 more workers for a new Michigan research center.

“GM is back,” the president said. “Ford and Chrysler are growing again. Together, our auto industry has created nearly a quarter of a million new jobs right here in America.”

Not only is the Motor City making more cars and trucks, Mr. Obama said, but it’s making better ones.

He pointed to his administration’s efforts to raise fuel standards so that in a little more than a decade American-driven cars and trucks will average nearly 55 miles per gallon. That’s almost twice as much as today.

“That means you’ll only have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s good for your wallet, it’s good for our economy, and it’s good for the environment.”

The president also highlighted the potential of the free trade agreement he signed last year with South Korea to put more American cars on the road in foreign countries.

“I want to see more cars on the road in places like South Korea imported from Detroit and Toledo and Chicago,” Mr. Obama said.