President Obama Plans To Drop The "Car Czar"

(H/t Heather at VideoCafe)

Obama sure faces a tremendous amount of problems upon taking the oath of office.

President Obama has dropped the idea of appointing a single, powerful “car czar” to oversee the revamping of General Motors and Chrysler and will instead keep the politically delicate task in the hands of his most senior economic advisers, a top administration official said Sunday night.

Mr. Obama is designating the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, and the chairman of the National Economic Council, Lawrence H. Summers, to oversee a presidential panel on the auto industry. Mr. Geithner will also supervise the $17.4 billion in loan agreements already in place with G.M. and Chrysler, said the official, who insisted on anonymity.

The official also said that Ron Bloom, a restructuring expert who has advised the labor unions in the troubled steel and airline industries, would be named a senior adviser to Treasury on the auto crisis. The unexpected shift comes as G.M. and Chrysler race to complete broad restructuring plans they must file with the Treasury by Tuesday. The companies’ plans are required to show progress in cutting long-term costs as a condition for keeping their loans.

On FNS, Chris Wallace tried to smear the UAW by bringing up stalled negotiations by the union and the automakers as a way to paint them as selfish. The usual Republican anti union line. David Axlerod wouldn't comment on the negotiations, but did say a restructuring of the entire auto industry is needed and not just by the auto workers.

Wallace: How do you view that the UAW talks collapsed?

Axelrod: Well, obviously this is a difficult situation and everyone's going to have to continue to work toward a solution. We're going to wait and see what the Automakers have to say on Tuesday and go from there.

How interesting since the negotiations aren't dead in the water after all.

On Sunday afternoon, G.M. and the U.A.W. resumed discussions in Detroit about reducing the company’s labor costs, a person with direct knowledge of the talks said. This person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private, characterized the talks Sunday evening as “intense” but did not indicate that an agreement was imminent. The U.A.W. had walked away from the bargaining table late Friday as the two sides clashed over how to cover retiree health care costs.

I'm sure the Richard Shelby's of Congress will be getting a ton of media attention very soon as the auto industry problems heat up again. Michael Steele is probably looking at a fresh set of resumes for make-up people as my keyboard types these words.


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