During his campaign for U.S. President, Barack Obama repeatedly declared his support for the auto industry and indicated he would support it against the tide of the economic downturn. Today President-Elect Obama reaffirmed that commitment with a speech on the economy delivered in Chicago, noting that the depth of the industry, which includes suppliers, small businesses and whole communities, requires action to help preserve it.

Obama said his Transition Economic Advisory Board would help keep the nascent Obama administration informed as the Bush Administration winds down its residency in Washington. Through the board, Obama is working on policy options to help the auto industry 'adjust', as he puts it, to the current financial crisis and the changing face of consumer demand for oil and attendant government regulations like the CAFE standards.

The support for the auto industry will be taken through existing law where appropriate, and new law may be drafted or proposed should the need arise. The auto industry forms the core of the second prong of Obama's three-pronged plan for the economy, the first being a plan to help worker losing their jobs, and the third being to stabilize the financial markets - both of which will indirectly aid the auto industry and its workers as well, should they prove successful.

Nevertheless, as Obama carefully pointed out in his speech today, "The United States has only one government and one President, and until January 20th of next year, that government is the current Administration," meaning there can be no help for Detroit without action on the part of the current Congress and the Bush Administration. That matter may yet be an uphill struggle, but discussions are already underway.