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Obama trumpets auto industry success in Indiana


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Obama trumpets auto industry success in Indiana

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

Associated Press

KOKOMO, Ind. — President Barack Obama promoted the revival of the U.S. auto industry today, taking his pitch to the heart of the Rust Belt where a bruising economy has taken its toll on Democrats.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden toured a rebounding Chrysler transmission plant in this hard-hit industrial city, holding it up as a symbol of the “hope and confidence” of a better economy even while millions are still unemployed and hurting.

“We’re coming back,” Obama said. “We’re on the move.”

The visit represents the White House’s new focus on showcasing the results behind his administration’s politically contentious economic stimulus and the bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors.

The economic message, however, was overshadowed by North Korea’s surprise shelling today of a South Korean island, a provocation that added another complication to Obama’s recent foreign policy challenges.

And in a sobering development that underscored the president’s economic difficulties, the Federal Reserve lowered its outlook for the economy through 2011, citing worse-than-expected growth.

Obama made sure to embrace a new Commerce Department report that the economy grew slightly faster last summer than first thought, benefiting from stronger spending by U.S. shoppers and improved overseas sales of U.S. goods. He called the news welcome and then promised, “We’re going to keep on making it grow faster.”

The trip to Kokomo, a city Obama visited during his 2008 presidential campaign, came a week after GM’s initial public stock offering, a turnabout sign for the bailed-out automaker.

“We made the decision to stand with you because we had confidence in the American workers, and today we know that was the right decision,” the president said.

For Obama, the visit was also a chance to promote the $800-billion economic stimulus he pushed through Congress in the early days of his presidency.

Before touring the plant, Obama stopped at the Kokomo Fire Department, which the White House said was able to rehire nine firefighters with help from stimulus money.

The presidential motorcade also stopped at an elementary school where Obama greeted cheering, screaming children. The Kokomo-Center Township Consolidated School Districts received more than $12 million in stimulus money, the White House said.

“I shook his hand!” one delighted child said.

“I got trampled,” said another.

Read more: Obama trumpets auto industry success in Indiana | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101123/BUSINESS01/101123075/Obama-trumpets-auto-industry-success-in-Indiana#ixzz16AK6FKFL

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