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President Obama says Chrysler and GM have made "good faith efforts" to restructure their companies — but not good enough. They'll get 60 and 30 days respectively to do better or else face bankruptcy.  Saying their problems are due to failures of leadership, the President gave the companies what he called, "a limited period...to give the American people confidence in their long-term prospects for success."  Also, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may face charges of violating international law.

Banner image: President Barack Obama (C) unveils details of his plan on dealing with the auto industry crisis. Listening are (L-R) Executive Director of the task force and Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to the Vice President Jared Bernstein, National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, White House Budget Office Director Peter Orszag, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, former Deputy Labor Secretary Edward Montgomery, and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Bailout Nation

Barry Ritholtz

Main Topic For GM and Chrysler: an Ultimatum

President Obama says General Motors and Chrysler have failed to justify their requests for $17 more billions of federal dollars. Bankruptcy is a real possibility. GM has 60 days to come up with a better plan for reorganization; Chrysler has 30 days to pull together a merger with Fiat of Italy. Even if the companies do go bankrupt, the President insists that he won't let the auto industry die: he says Washington will back the warranties on all their new cars. The President compared what's happening to the auto industry to a natural disaster. He spoke directly to the men and women who work in the industry and those who live in communities that depend on it, saying he can't pretend there won't be tough times to come. Will today's drastic actions help to restore it or drive it over a cliff?


Neil King, Wall Street Journal (@NKingofDC)
Daniel Howes, Detroit News (@detroitnews)
Peter De Lorenzo, AutoExtremist.com (@Autoextremist)
Mark Brenner, Director, Labor Notes
James Surowiecki, Financial Columnist, The New Yorker
Barry Ritholtz, Fusion IQ (@ritholtz)

Reporter's Notebook Spanish Court Weighs Torture Case for Bush Officials 7 MIN, 25 SEC

A Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five other members of the Bush Administration. If warrants are issued, they could be arrested if they leave the United States. Baltasar Garzón is the Spanish investigative judge who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Reed Brody is a lawyer for Human Rights Watch in Brussels.

Reed Brody, Lawyer, Human Rights Watch

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