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Obama slams Republican shutdown schemes in speech at local Ford plant

With a potential government shutdown looming, president Barack Obama traveled to a Ford Motor Co. stamping plant in Liberty, Mo., this afternoon to give a rousing speech that excoriated Congressional Republicans.

President Obama continually lashed out at the Republican House for being “focused on trying to mess with me,” in its continuing obsession with trying to eliminate funding for “Obamacare.”

Speaking to a supportive crowd of Ford employees at the plant, which makes parts for Ford’s popular F-150 truck, the president derided congressional Republicans for “holding the economy hostage” by threating not to fund the federal budget and raise the debt limit.

“Congress has to meet two deadlines, and they’re coming up pretty quick. The first deadline: The most basic constitutional duty Congress has is to pass a budget. That’s Congress 101. If they don’t pass a budget by September 30…if Congress doesn’t pass a budget in 10 days...the government will shut down. A government shutdown shuts down many services that the American people rely on.”

“Number two…Congress must vote to allow the Department of the Treasury to pay America’s bills….This is usually done with a simple, routine vote to raise what’s called the debt ceiling. If you don’t raise the debt ceiling, America can’t pay its bills.”

In a speech that repeatedly took the tone of a campaign rally, an exasperated Obama appealed to the crowd, “Now, I tell you what, Missouri. The American people have worked too hard for too long, digging out of a real crisis just to let politicians in Washington cause another crisis.”

“This is the United States of America. We’re not some banana republic. This is not a deadbeat nation. We don’t run out on our tab. We’re the world’s bedrock investment. The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable. We can’t just not pay our bills. And even threatening something like that is the height of irresponsibility.”

President Obama also talked at length about the recovery of the American auto industry: “Five years ago, plants like this one were closing their doors. And the day I stepped into the Oval Office, the American auto industry—which is the heartbeat of American manufacturing—the auto industry was flat-lining.”

To mounting applause that reached a thunderous crescendo, the president reminded the crowd of automakers that “The Big Three are all profitable, hiring new workers. You’re not just building more cars—you’re building better cars, better trucks. Look at what’s going on right here at the plant. The new F-150 is built tougher than ever, more fuel-efficient than ever. You’ve got trouble making them fast enough. You had to bring on a third shift of 900 workers just to keep up with demand.”

Finally, president Obama related a personal connection to the Liberty Ford plant: “Now, you may not be aware of this, but you and I have a little history together. I may roll in a Cadillac these days—(laughter)—no, no, but it’s not my car. I’m just renting it, just like my house. (Laughter.) The lease runs out in about three and a half years. (Laughter.) But before that, I was driving around in a 2008 Ford Escape. (Applause.) It came right off these assembly lines. Some of you might have been involved in building it. It was a great car. Problem is I got Secret Service about a month after I bought the car, so I’ve only got 2,000 miles on it. (Laughter.) It is in mint condition.”

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