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Summers as Obama Voice of Authority Rides Car Rescue in Fed Race

In March 2009, a newly sworn-in President Barack Obama faced a choice that split his advisers as they tried to stanch a hemorrhaging economy: Should he bail out Chrysler or let the automaker die?

Obama turned to Lawrence Summers, then his National Economic Council director and now a top candidate to be the next Federal Reserve chairman, who described with no equivocation how Chrysler’s demise could devastate the U.S. economy, according to former members of the White House auto task force. His analysis was convincing, and Chrysler received $12.4 billion in taxpayer money that helped save the company and thousands of jobs.