President Obama will cap a week of economic events on Friday, traveling to a Kansas City-area Ford plant to tout the revival of the auto industry ahead of looming fiscal fights with Congress.
“In the beginning of the administration, the president took unprecedented — and unpopular — steps to save the auto industry, which saved a million jobs across the country,” a White House official said, previewing the president’s event in Liberty, Mo. “Today, the American auto industry is back.”
Obama repeatedly championed the auto bailout on the campaign trail, using the controversial decision in an appeal to blue-collar voters in the Midwest and areas dependent on car manufacturing for their economic lifeblood.
However, Obama will trumpet the multi-billion infusion to the U.S. auto industry with fresh memories of Detroit — the Motor City — filing for bankruptcy. The development cast a shadow over a Detroit comeback story Obama was more than happy to tell during his re-election bid.
Ford was also the only Big Three American automaker not to accept federal funds in the bailout.
On Friday, Obama will highlight 340,700 jobs created in the U.S. auto industry since 2009.
However, critics contend the government should not have used taxpayer money to bail out private companies that made unwise financial decisions.
The event also gives the White House another opportunity to attack Republicans ahead of looming deadlines to keep the government funded and raise the nation’s borrowing limit.
The White House argues that a shutdown or default will hit American families still recovering from the Great Recession.
“The last thing we can afford right now is a decision by a minority of Republicans in Congress to throw our economy back into crisis by refusing to pay our country's bills or shutting down the government,” the White House official said. “American families have made some tough decisions over the last few years, now it’s time for Washington to do its part.
This story was published at 6:00 a.m. and has been updated.