President Obama addresses Toledo Chrysler plantWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In his trip to Toledo on June 3, President Barack Obama announced to the Toledo Chrysler plant that the company has paid off its debt to the government.
“Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes the American taxpayer from the investment we made during my watch,” Obama said. “And by the way, you guys repaid it six years ahead of schedule. Last night, we reached an agreement to sell the government’s remaining interest in the company. Soon, Chrysler will be 100 percent in private hands, earlier and faster than anybody believed.”
Obama said that all three members of the auto industry were turning a profit for the first time since 2004 and that automakers were gaining market share for the first time since 1995.
“I’m proud to announce the government has been completely repaid for the investments we made under my watch by Chrysler because of the outstanding work that you guys did,” said Obama to the crowd. “That’s because of you.”
Obama told those in attendance that two years ago the government faced many choices pertaining to the auto industry and that many in Washington thought they should do “nothing,” which would have resulted in “an uncontrolled freefall” for U.S. automakers.
“If we let Chrysler and GM fail, plants like this would have shut down, dealers and suppliers across the country would have shriveled up, and Ford and other automakers could have failed too, because they wouldn’t have had the suppliers that they needed,” Obama said. “By the time the dominoes stopped falling, more than a million jobs, and countless communities and a proud industry that helped build America’s middle class for generations wouldn’t have been around anymore.”
Ultimately, Obama said the most important step was to “refuse” to let that happen. He said the government ultimately decided to rescue the auto industry and retool it to avoid future struggles.
“We said that if everyone involved was willing to take the tough steps and make the painful sacrifices that were needed to become competitive, then we would invest in your future and the future of communities like Toledo,” Obama said. “We would have your back. I placed my bet on you. I put my faith in the American worker. And I’ll tell you what — I’m going to do that every day of the week because what you’ve done vindicates my faith.”
Before he left, however, Obama warned that problems were still out there for the industry and the economy.
“We still face some challenges,” Obama said. “This economy took a big hit. It’s just like if you had a bad illness or if you got hit by a truck. It’s going to take a while for you to mend. That’s what’s happened to our economy, it’s taking a while to mend.”
Obama arrived in Toledo around 11:30 a.m. and was greeted by Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur.
Before his press conference, Obama joined Bell, Brown and Kaptur for lunch at local restaurant Rudy’s Hot Dogs.
“For those of you who I’ve met up close I just want you to know that I stopped by Rudy’s and had two chili dogs with onions,” Obama said. “I’ve been looking for a mint backstage. It tasted pretty good going down though.”