Obama Hosts Cyber Town Hall - Page 16 of 23

Obama Hosts Cyber Town Hall

So what we’re expecting is that the automakers are going to be working with us to restructure. We will provide them some help. I know that it is not popular to provide help to autoworkers — or to auto companies. But my job is to measure the costs of allowing these auto companies just to collapse versus us figuring out, can they come up with a viable plan? If they’re not willing to make the changes and the restructurings that are necessary, then I’m not willing to have taxpayer money chase after bad money.

And so a lot of it’s going to depend on their willingness to make some pretty drastic changes. And some of those are still going to be painful because I think you’re not going to see a situation where the U.S. automakers are gaining the kind of share that they had back in the 1950s. I mean, we just didn’t have any competition when — back then, Japan was in rubble, Europe was in rubble — we were the only players around. And that’s not going to be true. This is going to be a competitive global market. We have to make those adjustments.

All right. Okay. It’s a gentleman’s turn. All right, this gentleman right here. We got a microphone behind you.

Q Good afternoon, Mr. President. My name is Carlos Del Toro. I served in the Navy for 26 years, retired four years ago, and started a small business. So I first want to thank you for all the efforts that you and your administration has done on behalf of veterans and also on behalf of small businesses.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we appreciate your service. Thank you.

Q Thank you, sir. My question is, one of the things that I have experienced over the last four years as a small business trying to do business in the federal procurement business, essentially, as a small engineering company, is the challenge of the bundling of contracts, which has made it increasingly difficult for service-disabled businesses — all small businesses across the nation — to compete basically within the federal procurement system. I know that you believe in fair and open competition on a broad basis. I would suggest to you, and my question to you is, will your administration look at this issue and try to unbundle these contracts that make it more competitive for small businesses to work in the federal marketplace?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a great question. It’s an issue that I’m familiar with. Just by way of background for people who aren’t as familiar with federal purchasing, the federal government is such a big customer that sometimes for administrative convenience, what they do is they just say, here, Halliburton, here’s a contract for $20 billion to do all these various things, and then you sort of figure out how you’re going to divvy it up. Well, it may be that — I’m sorry, what was your name?