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Obama news conference: 'I don't want to run banks'

April 29, 2009 |  6:30 pm


The final question of the news conference is about the government becoming “the chief shareholder” of financial companies and car companies.

“I don’t want to run auto companies,” the president says. “I don’t want to run banks. I have got two wars I gotta run already; I’ve got more than enough to do.”

(And yet, he also loves to bash the critics who tell him he’s taken on too much in his first 100 days. Having it both ways, anyone?)

“I believe that America should have a functioning, competitive auto industry,” he says. “My goal is to help these companies make some tough decisions.”

As soon as the markets have stabilized and “the economy is less fragile” he says, the goal is “to get out, to find some private buyers. I don’t think that we should micro-manage.”

“I am not an auto engineer,” he adds. “I don’t know how to create an affordable, well-designed plug-in hybrid, but I do know that if the Japanese can design a well-designed plug-in hybrid, then doggone it, the American people should be able to do the same.”

That said, he would like “a nice lean portfolio to deal with … but that’s not the hand that’s been dealt us. Every generation has to rise up to the specific challenges that confront them. I am confident we are gonna meet these challenges just like our grandparents and forebears.”

And scroll down here to catch up on the other items from our news conference live-blogging.

-- Robin Abcarian

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Photo: EPA  / Shawn Thew