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Obama On Auto Bailout: "Patience Is Running Out"

President-elect Barack Obama weighed in on the auto industry bailout during a news conference this afternoon.

"The American people's patience is running out and they should seize on this opportunity over the next weeks and months to come up with a plan that is sustainable," the president-elect said.

Mr. Obama wouldn't say if he had any specific changes to the plan laid out by President Bush this morning because he had yet not examined the exact details.

He did say it was "absolutely necessary" to restructure the industry, but also added that all stakeholders should be a part of the process so that it was not just "workers bearing the brunt of the restructuring."

As he has every day this week, Mr. Obama held a news conference to announce picks for his Cabinet and other major offices. Today, he named Democratic Rep. Hilda Solis, Calif., as his pick for secretary of labor, Republican Rep. Ray LaHood, Ill., for secretary of transportation, former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk for U.S. Trade Representative and venture capitalist Karen Mills to head the Small Business Administration. Other than Mills, we knew about those picks earlier this week. Read more on the picks.

During the question-and-answer part of the presser, Mr. Obama was also asked about the economy and the size of the stimulus package he is preparing. The Washington Post reports today that some published reports have tagged that number as high as $850 million over two years, and some say it could be even higher.

Mr. Obama did not provide a specific number, only saying it would be a "bold" approach. He argued it was a necessary step in light of a deteriorating economy.

"We're not intending to spend money lightly," he added. "I'm a taxpayer like everyone else and I don't want to see money wasted."

Mr. Obama has now announced his entire Cabinet, a few days earlier than any of his predecessors. You can see the whole list here.

The president-elect now plans to head off to Hawaii for a vacation, so we do not expect to see much of him for the next week or so.

See Also:

You can read more on the bailout plan and reaction here.

You can see the basic details from the White House plan here.

President Bush's complete statement

Reaction from the automakers

And here are the exact terms of the loans as given by the Treasury to car companies (PDF): GM | Chrysler

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