After General Motors and Chrysler required a combined $80 billion in government assistance to keep their doors open, many speculated that Uncle Sam would want to keep a hand in the carmaking cookie jar. While it is debatable how much control (a lot) the White House and Congress have over the Detroit automakers, it certainly appears that our politicians have taken a keen interest in the nation's auto industry.

One sign that our government is keeping an eye on our investment is the overwhelming amount of interest Washington is reportedly taking in the 2010 North American International Auto Show. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Congress, the Department of Transportation and other agencies are making so many requests for access to the press days of the show that special gray and silver government badges are being created just for them. NAIAS Chairman Doug Fox says more than twice the politicians and government agencies have requested to attend the show than last year, and we're guessing the queries will continue to pour in as the show draws nearer. There is also speculation that President Obama may himself attend the show, though the White House isn't likely to confirm or deny that until much closer to the actual event.

On one hand, it's nice to see that Washington has finally decided to pay attention to the auto industry, but we can't help but wonder what what the value add is of joining the scrum during press days. We're thinking most of the politicians and government officials can learn all they need to know about the show from Autoblog, save a few million dollars, and perhaps avoid some time in the frozen tundra that is Detroit in January.

[Source: Detroit Free Press | Image: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty]