Obama travels to the heartland to make economic case

September 20, 2013

As Washington faces a potential government shutdown, President Obama will take his case to the heartland Friday during a tour of a Ford plant in Missouri designed to highlight the rebounding U.S. auto industry.

Obama plans to deliver a speech marking the progress he says the economy has made in the five years since the financial crisis began. The president also plans to argue that Republicans in Congress, if they refuse to authorize spending to keep the government funded, would jeopardize the nation's economic recovery.

"The last thing we can afford right now is a decision by a minority of Republicans in Congress to throw our economy back into crisis by refusing to pay our country's bills or shutting down the government," a White House official told reporters in a memo previewing Obama's remarks in Missouri.

During his visit to the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, Mo., Obama will tour the manufacturing facility and deliver remarks to Ford employees and guests. He sees the facility, which builds the iconic Ford F-150 truck, as a shining example of the advances the auto industry has made since the 2009 auto bailout. (Ironically, though, Ford was the only one of the "Big Three" U.S. automakers that the government did not bail out.)

The Ford assembly plant has seen significant job growth recently. In May, 2,500 factory workers were employed there, while today there are 3,500, and by next year there will be nearly 4,500, as the plant also makes the all-new Ford Transit van series, according to statistics provided by the White House.

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Aaron Blake · September 20, 2013