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GM revival a bailout success: Obama

US President Barack Obama is touting the revival of a bailed-out auto company as a vindication of his administration's controversial decision to bail out the financially strapped auto industry last year.

business Updated: Nov 24, 2010 12:13 IST

US President Barack Obama is touting the revival of a bailed-out auto company as a vindication of his administration's controversial decision to bail out the financially strapped auto industry last year.

A week after General Motors' post-bankruptcy stock sale smashed records on Wall Street, Obama told an assembled group of autoworkers at a Chrysler plant in Kokomo, Indiana Tuesday that the industry is "coming back, we're on the move!"

The GM stock sale and the revival of the plant, he added, proves that his decision to rescue the industry - decried by Republicans - saved jobs that otherwise would have vanished and triggered Kokomo's economic rebound.

"You remember the voices arguing for us to do nothing," Obama said at Indiana Transmission, which manufactures components for Chrysler vehicles. "We made the decision to stand behind the auto industry. Today we know that was the right decision."

The rally was Obama's first campaign-style event since the November midterm elections, when a Republican surge - fuelled in part by voter anger about the economy - cost Democrats control of the House and weakened their majority in the Senate.

Both Chrysler and GM employ thousands in Kokomo, and Obama said those jobs have a ripple effect on the local economy, preserving jobs and spurring growth at restaurants, shops and other small businesses.

As a result, Obama said, his administration's investment in the auto industry - including the financial bailout and the popular "Cash for Clunkers" buyer incentive plan - helped save this small town, and others like it, in the nation's heartland.

Noting the "welcome news" that the still-anemic economy grew faster than was forecast in the third quarter, Obama challenged Republicans to work with him to preserve the soon-to-expire Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class.

That partnership, he said, can help preserve the economies in other small towns across the country.

"This is what we can do as Americans when we come together," Obama said, adding that Komomo's success shows how a "Main Street revival" can be accomplished. "We don't give up; we don't turn back. We fight for our future."

"No, we aren't out of the woods yet," he said. "It took a lot of years to get us into this mess. It will take longer than anybody would like to get us out. But I want everybody to be absolutely clear, we are moving in the right direction."