Obama turning attention to struggling automakers

WASHINGTON (AP) Obama scheduled remarks at 12 noon EDT; Chrysler LLC had a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Thursday to have deals in place with labor, creditors and Italian automaker Fiat.

As for General Motors Corp., its bondholders want a majority stake in the restructured automaker in exchange for forgiving their claim to $27 billion of GM debt. GM has come out with a plan that would give the U.S. government a 50 percent equity stake in exchange for about $10 billion in loan forgiveness.

The president said at a news conference Wednesday night: "You know, I don't want to run auto companies."

But he said the United States should have a competitive auto industry and that the government has a role to play in helping the companies restructure and survive. Obama said the goal is for the government -- as investors for the public -- to help stabilize the auto giants and then "get out, find some private buyers."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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