Get a new playbook: Obama’s ultimatum to GM and Chrysler

Communicator-in-chief delivers a ‘there’s no tomorrow’ halftime speech to U.S. automakers.

Communicator-in-chief delivers a ‘there’s no tomorrow’ halftime speech to U.S. automakers

It was a “fish or cut bait” moment for President Obama.

With a nation disgusted by corporate greed on Wall Street and the U.S. auto industry teetering on collapse, Obama took the podium at the White House and delivered an ultimatum to General Motors and Chrysler: Provide viable overhaul plans or kiss those federal dollars goodbye.

In less than 25 minutes, the president — as any corporate leader addressing a looming crisis should — tackled multiple missions using key points:

Flanked by economic and industrial advisors, the president bluntly averred that the plans from GM and Chrysler were insufficient to warrant further federal loans. He gave them 60 and 30 days respectively to stop musing about strategy and actually deliver some.

At each turn, he tempered brickbats with reassurance, and calls to order with encouragement that success is achievable. His approach was sober but confident, his results successful. Once again, this was the nation’s CEO, the communicator-in-chief, delivering a blunt assessment of misdirection while providing a trampoline for two stalwarts of the American manufacturing base.

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