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By Justin Hyde | Motoramic –
President Barack Obama took a brief tour of the Washington Auto Show today to jump in a few cars and tout his bailout of Detroit’s automakers. But only one model — the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 — elicited a presidential seal of approval, namely: “This car is sick.”
Obama used the half-hour jaunt to hammer on a new favorite talking point: How he saved Detroit when Republicans would have let it collapse. Potential Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney opposed the 2009 government-run bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler, their resurgence has given Obama an easy issue to run on in the Midwest’s auto-heavy swing states — even as the government’s own estimate of its losses due to the bailouts has grown to $23 billion.
“The fact that GM is back to number one I think shows the kind of turnaround that’s possible when it comes to American manufacturing,” Obama said, referencing GM’s reclaimed title as world’s largest automaker. “It’s good to remember the fact that there were some folks who were willing to let this industry die.”
While Obama sat in a range of models from Detroit — including a Chevy Silverado and Corvette ZR1 and the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid — he lingered in the 650-hp Mustang, telling a Ford executive “This is what I needed in high school.” He also took note of the American Pride Camaro, a tribute car painted with scenes from military history.
But Obama steered clear of any vehicles made by foreign automakers in the United States, even though they had been asked to shift models for his visit. A spokeswoman for Global Automakers, the trade alliance for U.S. arms of foreign makers, said the group was “very disappointed” by the snub, noting that those firms employ 80,000 Americans and built 3 million vehicles in the United States last year.
Photo: Associated Press