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Obama agenda: Bankruptcy for GM

"The Obama administration plans to take the next step toward resuscitating the American auto industry today, sending General Motors, the storied manufacturer, into bankruptcy protection," the Washington Post front-pages. More: "The purpose of the bankruptcy is to restructure the automaker, as the government has been attempting do with Chrysler, having GM emerge from the process smaller, with fewer workers and brands, less debt, but also more viable… The United States will invest another $30 billion during and after the GM bankruptcy process, bringing the U.S. commitment to $50 billion."

USA Today adds, "The government … says this will be the end of the taxpayers' financial support of GM. Under bankruptcy-court supervision, GM and the task force aim to create two companies: a new GM with its best and profitable assets and the old company left with the rest. They hope the new GM can emerge within 60 to 90 days able to succeed in a smaller market; the old one will be liquidated."

But, per the Wall Street Journal: "The question now facing 56,000 auto workers, 3,600 GM dealers and the Obama administration: Will it work?... The reorganization faces myriad risks, ranging from legal challenges to the uncertainty of when consumer demand for new cars will rebound. In becoming GM's new owner, the government is also entering largely unexplored terrain filled with political minefields, notably the possibility of meddling by Congress in the company's daily operations and business plans." 

The AP's Kuhneman writes that "Obama couldn't let General Motors fail… As GM enters into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Obama's economic team is stressing that its goals are to maximize the return to taxpayers and to exit from its involvement as quickly as possible. But as one administration official put it Sunday night, there is an inevitable tension between those two objectives. And the snap in that tension could sting -- politically for Obama, economically for the auto industry and fiscally for the taxpayer."

Looking at other issues… Politico examines Obama's China policy: "He leveled tough words at China during the campaign. But as president, Barack Obama is hewing close to the playbook drafted by his predecessor when it comes to economic engagement with the Asian giant." 
"The United States and Cuba are to start up immigration talks again, another sign that relations between the two countries are warming since President Obama's election. The communist country has agreed to resume talks discussing legal immigration of Cubans to the United States and direct-mail service between the two countries, a State Department official told The Associated Press on Sunday."

And here's the coverage of Saturday's date night in Manhattan… The New York Daily News: "Some of the loudest applause at 'Joe Turner's Come and Gone' Saturday night was for the First Couple, who received a five-minute standing ovation from before the show… The show finally started more than 45 minutes late at 8:47 while employees flickered the lights on and off in an attempt to calm down the clapping audience." Also in attendance Meryl Streep and Olympia Dukakis. Before heading off to New York the first couple took in daughter Malia's soccer game. 
And while they ate: "In typical Manhattan style, diners at a Greenwich Village restaurant Saturday night pretended not to notice the famous couple at dinner - until after dessert. ... Michelle Obama had two martinis, and the President had the wine that accompanied the tasting menu." Said one diner: "When they stood up to leave," she continued, "this blasé New York crowd stood up and exploded in spontaneous applause." And apparently Michelle's fitness secret, as told to a diner: "All about Pilates."

How about security logistics? "Diners said they were searched by Secret Service before going into the restaurant. The entire block of Washington Place was closed off and residents said they were ordered to keep their windows closed."