From NBC's Mark Murray
Promising "the beginning of a new GM," President Obama today announced that General Motors was entering bankruptcy protection, and that the federal government was giving it an additional $30 billion, making taxpayers a 60% owner of the auto giant. "Understand we're making these investments not because I want to spend the American people's tax dollars, but because I want to protect them. Instead of taking so much stock in GM, we could have simply offered the company more loans."
Obama continued, "But for years, GM has been buried under an unsustainable mountain of debt. And piling an irresponsibly large debt on top of the new GM would mean simply repeating the mistakes of the past. So we are acting as reluctant shareholders -- because that is the only way to help GM succeed."
The president also stressed that he has no interest in running GM. "GM will be run by a private board of directors and management team with a track record in American manufacturing that reflects a commitment to innovation and quality," he said. "They -- and not the government -- will call the shots and make the decisions about how to turn this company around."
He concluded, "I recognize that today's news carries a particular importance because it's not just any company we're talking about -- it's GM.
"But while the GM of the future will be different from the GM of the past, I am absolutely confident that if well managed, a new GM will emerge that can provide a new generation of Americans with a chance to live out their dreams, that can out-compete automakers around the world, and that can once again be an integral part of America's economic future. And when that happens, we can truly say that what is good for General Motors and all who work there is good for the United States of America."