Beltway Confidential

At Ford factory, Obama reboots 'you didn't build that' argument

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Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering,Barack Obama,2012 Elections,Big Government,Ronald Reagan,Auto Industry

President Obama traveled to a Ford factory in Liberty, Mo., on Sept. 20 to promote his economic message: that (big) government is essential to American business.

His words were carefully crafted, but his speech showed hints of the "you didn't build that" message that angered entrepreneurs during his 2012 re-election campaign.

Obama claimed Republicans in Congress are damaging the economy with the threat of a government shutdown.

"[I]t’s important that we get it right in Washington because even though our success as a country is ultimately going to depend on great businesses like Ford, hard workers like you, government has to do some things," he said.

Obama reminded the audience of government's role in education and transportation infrastructure before highlighting some of the modern equipment in the factory.

"If we’re going to have scientific research and development --- I was looking at all these newfangled pieces of equipment here --- some of the things that allowed the efficiencies of this plant originated in laboratories and scientists doing work on the government’s dime," he said. "That's how we always maintain our cutting edge."

So what is behind the greatness of the American economy? Obama carefully gives credit to the private sector, but he argues that government is essential to this process.

"These are things that help us grow," he continued. "These are things that help the private sector succeed."

To illustrate his point, Obama pointed out to the government bailout of the auto industry.

Chrysler and General Motors required a government bailout during the 2008 crisis, but Obama said that Ford would have been hurt as well if their competitors went bankrupt.

"Alan will tell you, if GM and Chrysler had gone down, suppliers would go down; dealers would have gone down. And all of that would have had a profound impact on Ford," Obama said, referring to Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

"I refused to let that happen," the president said.

Obama has spent his entire presidency trying to refute President Reagan's memorable 1981 inaugural address declaration that "government is not the solution, government is the problem."

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