DETROIT - Capping off the first day of an auto show that had more political visits than any in recent memory, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Monday declared that she and a bipartisan Congressional delegation were impressed by the innovativeness of U.S. automakers here.
"We came to Michigan to see, to listen, and to observe," Pelosi said. "And we will go back with a message of optimism."
Pelosi and the Congressional delegation, which included 10 members, said they came to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) "to measure and to judge" what has happened to the investment that the U.S. government has made in automakers, most notably General Motors and Chrysler Corp. Members of the delegation reportedly visited General Motors, Chrysler and Ford booths (although Ford did not take government bailout money), among others.
"When we were making those loans, we were looking for viability," Pelosi said. "What we saw here today was vibrant, optimistic leadership..." None of the delegation members talked about the specifics of the technologies they saw at the show, however.
Pelosi added that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - an emergency legislation enacted in the first month of President Obama's term - was partially responsible for the rise in the innovation she described. "Over and over today, we heard from small business people and academicians and others who told us that the recovery package had stirred research, investment and progress."
Pelosi answered a single question from the audience before the bi-partisan delegation left.
In addition to the visit from the delegation, Monday's NAIAS show was joined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.