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US President Barack Obama test drives Chevy Volt in Michigan

Saturday, July 31, 2010

President Barack Obama, with Assembly Manager Teri Quigley, gets behind the wheel of a new Chevy Volt during his tour of the General Motors Auto Plant in Hamtramck, Mich., July 30, 2010.
Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

United States President Barack Obama test drove a Chevrolet Volt Friday during a visit to a General Motors plant in Michigan. The visit was part of a larger trip to the Detroit area to discuss the progress of Obama's bailout of the auto industry earlier in his administration.

As the president toured the factory, managers invited him to test drive the Volt, which will soon be manufactured there. After consulting reluctant top aides and Secret Service personnel, Obama accepted. "I hope it has an air bag," said press secretary Robert Gibbs. Obama hopped into the car with assembly manager Teri Quigley, buckled his seat belt, and crept forward about ten feet (three meters). As he got out he remarked that the ride was "pretty smooth".

Obama visited the Detroit area to defend his controversial decision to invest US$50 billion in the failing auto industry last year. "It's estimated we would have lost another million jobs had we not stepped in," said Obama. Instead, job growth totaled 50,000 workers this year, the largest since 1999. Obama warns, though, that recovery is not yet complete.

This was the second time Obama drove a car since early 2007, when as a presidential candidate he requested Secret Service protection. The first was a Dodge Charger, which he drove a few months ago at a Secret Service training facility.


Sources