White House Boots GM CEO

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UPDATE: My Time.com story on the White House plans for GM and Chrysler is here.

A White House official emails, “I can confirm that [General Motor’s CEO Rick] Wagoner was asked to and agreed to step down.”

President Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks on the future of the American auto industry tomorrow at 11 a.m. On Friday, Obama taped this exchange about the auto industry with Bob Schieffer of CBS:

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President, you’re scheduled to announce on Monday what you plan to do with the auto industry, as they’re asking for more federal money.

OBAMA: Right.

SCHIEFFER: You’ve told them they’re going to have to cut back, present a different business plan. Our sources tell us that, as far as the White House is concerned, they’re not there yet.

Do they have to do more in order to get this money?

OBAMA: Yes. They’re not quite there yet. There’s been some serious efforts to deal with a combination of long-standing problems in the auto industry and the current crisis, which has seen the market for new cars drop from 14 million to 9 million.

Everybody is having problems, even Toyota and other very profitable companies.

And so what we’re trying to let them know is that we want to have a successful auto industry — U.S. auto industry. We think we can have a successful U.S. auto industry. But it’s got to be one that’s realistically designed to weather this storm and to emerge at the other end much more lean, mean and competitive than it currently is.

And that’s going to mean a set of sacrifices from all parties involved, management, labor, shareholders, creditors, suppliers, dealers. Everybody is going to have to come to the table and say it’s important for us to take serious restructuring steps now in order to preserve a brighter future down the road.

SCHIEFFER: But they’re not there yet?

OBAMA: They’re not there yet.

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