I loved this speech Obama gave to about 1,600 current and retired autoworkers. If I don’t get the video interview soon, at least this transcript will get his message out:
"If we had turned our backs on you; if America had thrown in the towel; GM and Chrysler wouldn't exist today. The suppliers and distributors that get their business from those companies would have died off, too. Then even Ford could have gone down as well. Production: shut down. Factories: shuttered. Once proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps. And all of you - the men and women who built these companies with your own hands — would've been hung out to dry. These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck. They're a source of pride. They're a ticket to a middle-class life. They make it possible to own a home, to raise kids and send them to college, to retire. These companies are worth more than just the cars they build. They're a symbol of American innovation; the source of our manufacturing might. And if that's not worth fighting for, what is? So no, we were not going to take a knee and do nothing. We were not going to give up on your jobs, your families, and your communities. This notion that we should have let the auto industry die; that we should pursue anti-worker policies in hopes unions like yours will unravel — it's part of that same old you're-on-your-own philosophy that says we should just leave everyone to fend for themselves."
"It's been funny to watch some of these politicians completely rewrite history now that you're back on your feet. These are the folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, 'you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.' Now they're saying they were right all along. Or worse, they're saying that the problem is that you, the workers, made out like bandits in all of this; that saving the American auto industry was just about paying back unions. Really? Even by the standards of this town, that's a load of you-know-what. About 700,000 retirees saw a reduction in the health care benefits they had earned. Many of you saw hours reduced, or pay and wages scaled back. You gave up some of your rights as workers. Promises were made to you over the years that you gave up for the sake and survival of this industry, its workers, and their families. You want to talk about values? Hard work — that's a value. Looking out for one another — that's a value. But they're still talking about you as if you're some greedy special interest that needs to be beaten. Since when are hardworking men and women special interests? Since when is the idea that we look out for each other a bad thing?"