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Obama Requests Aid for Struggling U.S. Auto Industry

Posted November. 12, 2008 08:20,   


U.S. President-elect Barack Obama made his first post-election visit to the White House Monday to discuss helping the struggling U.S. auto industry and government transition plans with incumbent President George W. Bush.

In a 65-minute one-on-one meeting, Obama asked Bush to set aside part of the 700 billion dollars in immediate emergency aid for automakers.

The New York Times said Bush could allow such assistance if Democratic congressmen help pass a free trade agreement with Colombia.

Republicans said Bush is likely to agree to the aid in return for congressional cooperation on ratifying free trade agreements with Colombia, Korea and Panama, according to the newspaper.

The Times said neither Obama nor Democratic leaders are inclined to concede the Colombia pact, and could decide to wait until Obama assumes power Jan. 20.

Rahm Emanuel, the incoming chief of staff, told ABC Sunday, "You don`t link those essential needs (such as aid to the auto industry) to some other trade deal.”

By visiting the White House six days after his election, Obama has completed an unprecedented fast transition following appointment of his chief of staff and his first news conference since election last week. He will announce major Cabinet appointees in the middle of next week.