There was no mistaking the celebratory spring in his step as Barack Obama made a campaigning trip to Chrysler car makers in Detroit.
With an eye no-doubt on November’s congressional elections, the US president was keen to tout his economic policies and his handling of the industry’s crisis.
“This plant and your jobs might not exist. There were leaders of the ‘just say no’ crowd in Washington who were saying: ‘oh, standing by the auto industry would guarantee failure.’ One of them called it the worst investment you could possibly make. They said we should just walk away and let those jobs go. I wish they were standing here today,” he said to cheers at the GM plant in Michigan.
Although Obama’s visit coincided with Chrysler announcing more favourable fortunes, the US unemployment rate remains at 9.5 per cent. Polls also suggest that Americans’ faith in the president’s leadership of the economy has eroded.
At the same time, new government figures show economic growth has slowed to 2.4 per cent in the second quarter of this year, a factor blamed on sluggish sales on the High Street.
Nevertheless, confidence, crucially, on Wall Street seems to be high, with the Dow Jones recording a seven per cent rise over the month of July.