Obama sees need for auto bailout

Obama sees need for auto bailout

By Steve Holland – Analysis

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Since his election last week, Barack Obama has largely avoided getting entangled in resolving issues now that will face him later as president, except for one big item: Bailing out the U.S. auto industry.

A heated debate has broken out in Washington over whether to use $25 billion of a $700 billion financial bailout package to provide a lifeline to the Big Three automakers — GM, Ford and Chrysler — which are suffering from plummeting sales.

Professing that the United States has “only one president at a time,” Obama is avoiding Washington this week as world leaders who would love to take his measure are gathering there for a financial summit.

He is also steering clear of a lame-duck session of the U.S. Congress that will attempt to craft a new economic stimulus package, a job that will be left to him when he takes over on January 20 should an agreement fail to materialize. more

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