In last night's televised speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama vowed to commit to a reworking of the domestic auto industry, saying that it is too important to let go:
But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.
Obama will present is first budget proposal on Thursday, but in his speech, he said that his administration will focus on three things: energy, health care, and education. All three components of his focus have the potential to impact the auto industry, but Obama took particular pains to acknowledge that the U.S. has fallen behind in renewable energy production, noting that "New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea."

In his speech, Obama was short on specific courses of action, but he acknowledged that Detroit's automakers have fallen into disrepair in part because of their own doing and in part because of market conditions:
As for our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink. We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices.
[Source: Automotive News (subs. req.) | Image: Saul Loeb/Getty]

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