President Obama took a victory lap of sorts for the resurgence of the U.S. car industry Tuesday, stopping by the Washington Auto Show in a surprise visit to proclaim that the bailed-out industry is “back.”
“Let me just say, when you look at all these cars, it is testimony to the outstanding work that’s been done by workers — American workers, American designers,” Mr. Obama said after taking a look at some of Detroit’s new models on the showroom floor. “The U.S. auto industry is back.”
Holding up GM’s re-emergence as the world’s largest automaker as a case study of the possibilities of supporting U.S. manufacturing, Mr. Obama reminded the crowd that gathered around him that he stood by his decision to pour billions of dollars into GM and Chrysler during the depths of the economic crisis.
The brief remarks offered an implicit point of contrast with GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, who, even though he is a son of a Detroit auto executive, opposed the auto bailout. If Mr. Romney is the frontrunner, the Obama campaign will undoubtedly use every opportunity possible in the months ahead to showcase the industry’s dramatic resurrection.
“It’s good to remember the fact that there were some folks who were willing to let this industry die. Because of folks coming together, we are now back in a place where we can compete with any car company in the world,” Mr. Obama said. “And these are not only selling here in the United States, they also serve as a platform for us to sell product all around the world.”
“So I’m just very proud of what we’re seeing here. That Camaro with the American eagle and the American flag — that helps tell the story,” he concluded.