President Obama got the opportunity to trumpet his campaign season theme of the revival of American auto companies and to court his needed union supporters in one shot in an address to the United Auto Workers today.
“And you know why I knew this rescue would succeed?” Obama said at the union’s Washington convention. “It wasn’t because of anything the government did. It wasn’t just because of anything management did. It was because I believed in you.
“I placed my bet on American workers,” the president continued, according to prepared remarks released by the White House. “And I’d make that same bet again any day of the week. Because three years later, that bet is paying off for America. Three years later, the American auto industry is back.”
Obama told the union members “you make me proud” and said the auto bailout helped save a million jobs in their manufacturing sector.
“Think about everyone who depends on you – schoolteachers and small-business owners; the server in the diner who knows your order and the bartender who’s waiting for you when you get off,” the president said. “Their livelihoods were at stake, too.”
He used the address on the friendly turf to criticize opponents of the GM and Chrysler rescue.
“It’s been funny to watch some of these politicians completely rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet,” Obama said. “These are the folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.’ Now they’re saying they were right all along.
“Or worse, they’re saying that the problem is that you, the workers, made out like bandits in all of this; that saving the American auto industry was just about paying back unions,” he said. “Really? Even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you-know-what.”