Obama: Factories coming back to life

August 5, 2009 10:10:28 AM PDT
Trumpeting a "made in America" message, President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled a national investment in electric cars as the latest effort to rebuild an economy that keeps shedding jobs. "We don't give up," Obama told employees on the steamy factory floor of Monaco RV in northern Indiana, a region suffering from one of the worst unemployment surges in the nation.

Obama's comments amounted to part pep talk, part defense of his economic agenda. In the heart of small-community America, he relied heavily on a pro-American spirit in his remarks.

"I'm committed to a strategy that ensures that America leads," said Obama, promoting a $2.4 billion program of grants to build up electric-car manufacturing, from batteries to motors.

He spoke near the border region of Michigan and Indiana, the two states that will benefit the most from the grants. It is part of a $787 billion stimulus program approved by Congress at Obama's urging - one he defended Wednesday amid criticism the plan has been slow to kick in.

Obama said Indiana's factories "are coming back to life," earning robust cheers.

For his backdrop, he chose Monaco RV, purchased in June by Navistar International Corp. after its previous owner went bankrupt because of the collapse in the recreational vehicle industry. Indiana's Elkhart-Goshen area had an unemployment rate of 16.8 percent in June. That's up 10 percentage points from last year.

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