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Obama: Don't believe the naysayers, the U.S. economy is the envy of world

Jan 21, 2016

President Barack Obama and 2016 NAIAS Chairman Paul Sabatini
Credit NAIAS

An upbeat Barack Obama was greeted by an upbeat crowd at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit Wednesday.

The president joked he will be looking for a new car next year after he's out of office, and there's no place better to browse for one than the Detroit auto show.

"I know they've got auto shows in Paris and Frankfort and Tokyo," he said, "but there's only one Motor City, and there's only one Detroit, and if you're looking for the world's best cars, and the workers that make those cars, you need to be in Detroit, Michigan!"

Obama reminded the crowd of one of his signature achievements: the auto bailout, which saved the domestic auto industry. 

And he praised the strength of the economic recovery, saying the country has 14 million new jobs since the recession, "the longest streak of job creation in U.S. history."

The president then criticized "people" (meaning Republican candidates seeking the presidential nomination) for refusing to acknowledge all the good in the country right now.

"They're peddling fiction during a political season. It's strange to see them try to outdo each other in saying how bad things are. They're racing to see who can talk down America the most."

The president also talked about Flint. He said the lead poisoning crisis there is a reminder that you can't shortchange basic services.

"I know if I was a parent up there (in Flint) I'd be beside myself that my kids' health could be at risk," he said.

Earlier in the day, the president toured the North American International Auto Show, had lunch with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan at the Jolly Pumpkin, and visited the Shinola factory.

The president said he didn't buy a watch there, because he already had one.