President Obama defends auto bailout (VIDEO)

President Barack Obama defended his auto industry bailout on Tuesday while speaking to the United Auto Workers — the same day as Republican presidential hopefuls who criticized the bailout face voters in Michigan.

Obama said that the 2009 bailout of the auto industry prevented another severe depression from hitting the Midwest, according to CNN Money. He stated the $80 billion bailout was the only way to save General Motors and Chrysler Group, pointing to the recent successes of the auto industry. GM has seen record profits in recent moths, and over 200,000 jobs have been added in the automaker and supplier industries.

Without referring to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney by name, Obama said, “Some even said we should ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’ You remember that. You know him,” according to The Chicago Tribune. He was referencing a New York Times op-ed written by Romney on Nov. 19, 2008.

“Think about what that choice would have meant for this country," Obama continued. "Production: shut down. Factories: shuttered. Once proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps. And all of you – the men and women who built these companies with your own hands – would've been hung out to dry.”

Earlier this month, Romney said, “While a lot of workers and investors got the short end of the stick, Obama's union allies — and his major campaign contributors — reaped reward upon reward, all on the taxpayer's dime,” according to Politico.

Obama swung back at his Republican opponents, saying, “It’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history, now that you’re back on your feet,” reported NPR. He called the Republican criticism that the bailout was simply pay back for union support a “load of you-know-what.”

More on GlobalPost: Michigan: Make or break for Mitt Romney

Here are some excerpts from Obama's speech, courtesy of Politico:

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