President Obama credited himself during his re-election campaign for rescuing Detroit’s auto industry, but the White House said Thursday that he has no immediate plans to save the city itself from bankruptcy.
A reporter asked White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday if the president planned to help Detroit, which has as much as $20 billion in debt and has stopped making payments on some pension obligations.
“I know that the president is aware of the situation in Detroit and that administration officials have been in contact with leaders in Detroit, but I am not aware of any plans or proposals that the president has, but we’re certainly aware of the circumstances,” Mr. Carney said.
In 2009, the president authorized an $80 billion federal bailout of Detroit-area automakers General Motors and Chrysler. After the companies’ fortunes turned around, Mr. Obama campaigned for re-election on saving the industry, and the move was credited with helping him win Michigan and Ohio in 2012.
Some leaders in Detroit, which voted heavily for the president, have said Mr. Obama should bail out the city as thanks for helping him to gain a second term.
“Our people in an overwhelming way supported the re-election of this president and there ought to be a quid pro quo, and you ought to exercise leadership on that,” said Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson in December. “Of course, not just that, but why not?”
A petition drive was started on the White House’s Website on July 2 asking Mr. Obama “to address the fundamental issues that led to Detroit’s financial crisis, and to examine the viable option(s) to bankruptcy, canceled pensions, and more poverty and violence.”
The petition needed 100,000 signatures to get a response from the White House, but The Detroit News said it had only 18 supporters as of late Thursday afternoon.