Obama at Wayne Ford plant: 'Betting on auto industry was right thing to do'

WAYNE, Mich. (AP) - President Barack Obama visited a Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in suburban Detroit Wednesday as part of a three-state swing ahead of his State of the Union address.

Obama spoke Wednesday afternoon at the Ford assembly plant in Wayne. It says he'll discuss how auto workers contribute to the resurgent American auto industry.

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The president  highlighted the role of his decision to rescue the auto industry in saving American jobs, but first he quipped about the Detroit Lions' playoff defeat to the Dallas Cowboys.  

He said that he would have been a "a little irritated" if that happened to his Bears.

"Even a Bears fan has to admit that was a little suspect," he said. "I have never seen anything like that before.

"One thing you can always take to the bank is that Detroit always comes back, and that's why I am here." 

Obama said that one of his new year resolutions is for everyone to feel like they are coming back. He said that due to the steps taken to rescue the economy, there is confidence that America is coming back.

He said that  2014 was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. 

"We've now had a 57-month streak of private sector job creation, we've created nearly 11 million new jobs," he said. 

Obama said the auto bail out was not popular at the time when the decision was made.

"Saving the American auto industry was the right thing to do," he said. "Betting on you was the right thing to do. The American auto industry is back."

Obama said the rescue of the auto industry came to an end last week officially. American auto companies paid the roughly $80 billion back five years later, he added.

Ford was the only American automaker to not accept any of the federal aid.

In the past five years, 500,000 new jobs were added to the industry as well, he added. Among them were jobs that Ford returned from a plant in Mexico, he said.

He said that the auto industry recovery has been key in securing the middle class' future.

"The auto industry has proved that any comeback is possible," he said. "And so has the motor city."

Obama touched on Detroit's recovery from bankruptcy and the positive changes in both the public and private sectors. 

The White House has said that Obama's visits to Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee this week aim at highlighting how his economic policies aid America's recovery.

Obama is to visit Arizona on Thursday and Tennessee on Friday.

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