Yesterday was an important moment for domestic automakers: former investment banker and de facto head honcho of Obama's auto task force, Steve Rattner, had his first chat with the media.
Reading through the reports, we have to admit that the guy makes a good impression. (Then again, he's got a background in communications, so he knows how to talk all highfalutin' and fancy-like.) Here are a few quotes we've plucked from his interview with The Detroit News:
- "We're not going to put [automakers] on some kind of indefinite intravenous drip feed of money."
- "We don't have to necessarily look at the government's money the way when I was a private equity guy I would have looked at private equity money.... It doesn't necessarily have to be an investment that Warren Buffet would make, but it has to be a prudent use of taxpayer money."
- "The supplier base is critical not only to the economy of Michigan and Ohio and neighboring states; it's certainly critical to the ability of the auto industry to function."
- "We want to be mindful of the fact that the government can't bail out every company in America that runs into some kind of problem."
In the end, Rattner didn't utter anything truly shocking. To several of us here at TCC, he sounded like a retiree living on a fixed income who's trying to figure out how to buy 3G cell phones for his yappy grandchildren--which is to say, friendly but guarded, and still looking at options. At the very least, it sounds like he's open to hearing what Detroit has to say.