Transcript: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Obama Addresses Workers at GM Plant

Tuesday, September 15, 2009; 11:16 AM

It is good to be back in Ohio, and it's good to be at one of GM's flagship plants with all of you. I just finished having a productive discussion with some of your coworkers about the challenges you're facing, both here and in your communities, and how we can meet them.

We talked about the economic troubles you've been weathering here in Trumbull County since long before our current crisis. Over the years, you've seen factories close, your friends laid off, and your sons and daughters move away in search of jobs and opportunity. I know it was painful around here earlier this year, when three shifts at this plant were cut down to one. And today, the local unemployment rate is unacceptably high - the second-highest in Ohio. I know at times, it seems like this community is on the brink - again.

There are some who see this pain and suggest that it's all somehow inevitable - that the only way for America to get ahead is for communities like yours to be left behind. But we know better. We know that our success on a nation depends on the success of communities just like this one. We know that the battle for America's future will be fought and won not just in the big cities, not just on the coasts, but in towns like Elkhart and Pittsburgh; Warren and Youngstown.

That's why I'm proud to be here with all of you. You work hard. You meet your responsibilities. You deserve better. You deserve better than the attitude that's prevailed from Washington to Wall Street to Detroit for too long; an attitude that valued wealth over work, selfishness over sacrifice, and greed over responsibility. And that's why I want you to know that every day I step into the Oval Office, I am thinking about you, I am working for you, and I am fighting on your behalf.

Sometimes, that involves making tough decisions that have been put off for too long. Now, as I've said before, I didn't run for President to manage auto companies. It wasn't something on my to-do list. It wasn't even something on my want-to-do list. I wasn't going to put any more tax dollars on the line if it meant perpetuating the bad business decisions that led to this point. But in the midst of a deep recession and financial crisis, the collapse of the auto industry would have caused enormous damage to our economy. So we intervened for one simple and compelling reason: your survival and the success of our economy depended on it.

Our belief was that if GM retooled and reinvented itself for the 21st century, it would be good for American workers, good for American manufacturing, and good for America's economy. I'm pleased to report that's exactly what's begun to happen at this plant and at others. And I'll tell you what: I will double down on the American people and all of you any day of the week.


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