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Obama adviser issues warning to automakers

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2008 (AP): President-elect Barack Obama's top adviser has a warning for U.S. automakers: Without a plan to retool and restructure, there is very little taxpayers can do to help.

U.S. Congress last week refused to act on a bailout plan for the Detroit Three auto companies. Lawmakers are demanding that company executives first explain how they would reorganize themselves and make the industry viable.

Obama adviser David Axelrod says Congress is sending the right signal to the industry. He appeared on two Sunday talk show broadcasts.

The automakers had asked for at least a $25 billion rescue. Obama has supported giving the industry a hand, but has said he would not support a ``blank check.''

The fate of the auto industry is among the most pressing economic issues facing the incoming Obama administration. Congress last week rebuffed appeals for help from executives from General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. Congressional leaders urged them to return next month with a specific reorganization plan that spelled out how much money they need and how they intended to remain financially viable.

Axelrod said ``the signal sent by Congress was the right one.''

The auto executives did not make a strong impression during congressional hearings last week—appearances that were further undermined upon news that they had flown to Washington in private, corporate jets.

Axelrod couldn't resist taking a jab at the executives.

``I hope that they will come back to Washington in early December—on commercial flights—with a plan,'' he said.

 

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