Obama Hails Auto Industry Bailout a Success

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President Barack Obama said Friday that automakers are "proving the naysayers wrong" after making good use of the controversial government bailout he says allowed the auto industry to turn around.

Obama made the remrks while visiting Chrysler and GM factories in Detroit, where he greeted workers and hailed their success as a sign of better days.

"This industry is growing stronger," Obama declared from the floor of Chrysler's Jefferson North plant, which recently added about 1,100 jobs with a second shift.

He later added that the big three U.S. automakers are "operating at a profit for the first time in six years."

Click play to watch a portion of President Obama's speech, Friday, at a Chrysler plant in Detroit.

The president's visits came one day after the White House released a report defending the auto bailout. The administration claimed the industry has added 55,000 jobs -- the strongest growth since 1999.

Obama did say he understood why the country was skeptical of the bailout and admitted that "the politics of it weren't good."

"Listen, this was a hard decision," he said. "I didn't want government to get into the auto industry. I've got enough to do."

Although progress is being made, GM and Ford seem to be bouncing back quicker than Chrysler, which has posted little net profit since leaving bankruptcy protection in June 2009.

Chrysler did reveal early Friday that a Michigan plant once facing closure will remain open and will even add a second shift of production. The company has also managed to repay about half of the $4 billion loan portion of its bailout.

GM has repaid $6.7 billion in government loans and is expected to start the process of selling stock to the public in August.

Next week, the president will visit a Ford plant in Chicago, continuing his campaign on the bailout's success.

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