White House Struggles to Contrast Auto, Wall Street Bailouts

Robert Gibbs had to know it was coming. The press briefing on Monday was sure to focus on an apparent double standard from the administration when it came to the auto industry and financial sector bailouts.

But when asked to explain the disparity -- such as GM's CEO Rick Wagoner being forced to step down while bank CEOs remain in their perches -- the Obama administration press secretary seemed to struggle for words.

Was there a double standard? Read Gibbs' answer for yourself:

"Understand that we have taken and are prepared to take extraordinary steps to help the auto industry get it back up on its feet, to put it on a firmer ground, and see it return to a stronger position, to support the companies, the workers and communities they are in," he replied. "I think if you look at, I think this question was asked over the course of the last 12 hours. The original agreements contemplated a March 31 deadline whereby you would either give additional assistance or call the loan. So what I think what the president and his task force are doing is taking the steps forward to help these companies. At the same time [we are] expecting a plan for viability in the future. I would also say that the decisions that are made on any entity receiving assistance is done in a way that we think will stabilize the economy, create jobs, in some cases it is to protect jobs, and have to a have manufacturing base, like with GM, Chrysler and others. It is to get lending moving again. But I think that this administration is rightly matching and balancing the notion for responsibility, at the same time understanding that we want to be a partner in ensuring strong and viable auto industries moving forward."

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