President Obama to visit Detroit

Saturday, January 9, 2016 - 4:40pm

President Obama speaks at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant on Jan. 7, 2015 about the importance of federal aid in sustaining the auto industry.

President Obama speaks at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant on Jan. 7, 2015 about the importance of federal aid in sustaining the auto industry. Buy this photo
Luna Anna Archey/Daily

 

President Barack Obama announced that he would visit Detroit later this month to tour the North American International Auto Show in his weekly address Saturday.

The NAIAS, held annually, includes a series of both professional and public events aimed at highlighting the industry.

In his address, Obama highlighted the progress made in reviving the auto industry after its near breakdown in 2008. The Obama administration spearheaded a controversial $85 billion bailout package for General Motors and Chrysler in a bid to stop the industry from collapsing.

"Just seven years ago, the industry was on the brink of collapse, with plants closing and hundreds of thousands of workers getting laid off,” Obama said. “Today, the American auto industry is back. Since our plan went into effect, our automakers have added more than 640,000 new jobs.”

Obama noted in his address the initial opposition to the bailout, but said he chose to ignore the critics and instead focus on American workers.

“Our plan wasn’t popular,” he said. “Critics said it was a road to socialism or a disaster waiting to happen. Some said it was too late to turn things around, but I refused to turn my back on so many of the workers that I’d met. Instead, I placed my bet on American workers.”

The president will visit the show on Jan. 20. The White House has not yet announced specifics regarding his visit, and it is unclear whether the president will make additional stops during his trip.

In January of last year, Obama visited a Ford Motor manufacturing plant where he spoke with employees about how the auto industry’s improvements were an example of the country’s success during his time is office. He has visited the state multiple times while in office.

In a statement Saturday, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) said she looked forward to the president’s visit. 

“President Obama will witness that Detroit remains in the driver seat where the next-generation products and technologies continue to make their world debuts,” she said. “I am a car girl and proud of it. I have been showing off what we do at this car show for more than three decades and the thrill of it never diminishes. I cannot wait to see him here.”

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton will also be visiting Detroit for a fundraiser during the two-week long auto show, but does not currently have plans to attend it, according to Max Muncey, a spokesman for the auto show and Detroit Auto Dealers Association.