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Beltway Confidential

Obama's vision of Detroit fails

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National Journal’s Major Garrett has an excellent column today looking back on President Obama’s 2011 Labor Day speech in Detroit. “This is a city that has been to heck and back,” Obama said then. “And while there are still a lot of challenges here, I see a city that’s coming back.” Noting that Obama cited the “advanced battery industry taking root here in Michigan,” Garrett points out that the battery firm in question, A123 Systems, received $249 million in Energy Department grants–and is now bankrupt. And of course so is the city of Detroit.

Garrett notes in a stinging paragraph that the policies Obama cites look pathetic next to his grandiloquent rhetoric.

“With public housing being demolished, a text system for late or nonexistent bus service, and a federally funded lithium-ion battery factory that never met its hyped employment plans and then fell into bankruptcy, does any of this sound like, as Obama said, the foundations of a ‘city where people, brave and bold, courageous and clever, are dreaming up ways to prove the skeptics wrong and write the next proud chapter in our history’?”

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Michael Barone

Senior Political Analyst
The Washington Examiner