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Detroit Auto Industry: Reckoning to Revival

Obstacles Closer Than They Appear

Jim Blanchard

Jim Blanchard was horrified as he watched the Detroit Three CEOs stumble through the congressional bailout hearings in November and December 2008. They seemed blindsided by the shots they took and came with no ammunition to fire back. "Oh, my God, it was terrible," said Blanchard.

As a baby-faced, 37-year-old congressman from Michigan, Blanchard was the architect of Chrysler's earlier federal bailout, which gave the automaker government backing for $1.5 billion in lifesaving loans. Blanchard convened congressional hearings in October 1979 to try to win over reluctant lawmakers who, like some of their successors 30 years later, believed Chrysler deserved to die.

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