NEW YORK – On a day in which the international news cycle was dominated by the Islamic terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, President Obama traveled to Wayne, Michigan, to deliver a pre-arranged speech celebrating his rescue of the U.S. auto industry.
Ironically, the Ford Assembly Plant that Obama visited is closed temporarily this week because of lack of demand for the small cars and hybrids the plant produces, with 2014 sales of the Ford Focus down 6 percent and the C-Max hybrid down 22 percent.
In his tour of the Ford plant, Obama sat for a minute in a red Mustang and then emerged to declare “this is an American car, right here, this Mustang. That’s beautiful.”
In his speech to an enthusiastic crowd at the assembly plant, Obama asserted America’s “resurgence is real – don’t let anybody tell you otherwise,” echoing his 2012 campaign mantra that “Osama Bin Laden is dead, but General Motors is alive and well.”
“Last year, 2014, was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s,” Obama said. “We’ve now had a 57-month streak of private sector job creation. We’ve created nearly 11 million new jobs. That’s the longest stretch in our history of private sector, uninterrupted job creation.”
In a speech regarded as a warm-up for the economic-success narrative Obama is expected to tout during his upcoming State of the Union speech, he took credit for what he claimed is a strong and continuing recovery.
“Since 2010, we, America, have put more people back to work than Europe, Japan and every other advanced economy combined,” Obama claimed. “After a decade of decline, American manufacturing is in its best stretch of job growth since the 1990s. Here in Michigan, manufacturers have created more than 100,000 jobs, helping to cut your unemployment rate in half.”
Obama, in his speech, neglected to note Ford did not join GM and Chrysler in the bankruptcy proceedings his administration managed in 2009, though Ford did benefit from a $5.9 billion low-cost government loan used to overhaul its factories and to re-engineer more fuel-efficient technology.