Hey, maybe it’s beginning to dawn on them that no really does mean no.
Maybe, it’s beginning to dawn on President Bush that the public is sick of bailout-palooza.
Or maybe his lawyers need extra time trying to justify committing an illegal act by siphoning off TARP funds for the automakers.
Whatever the case, it’s an opportunity to redouble those phone calls and e-mails to the White House urging them to stop the bailout cycle now.
President George W. Bush said on Monday an announcement on a auto industry rescue was not imminent, leaving the industry’s fate clouded in uncertainty for a little longer.
“We’re not quite ready to announce that yet,” Bush told reporters on Air Force One during a flight from Baghdad on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan.
He had been asked when he might make an anticipated announcement about tapping a $700 billion financial industry bailout fund to aid General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC.
Asked whether he was leaning toward using financial bailout funds, Bush said: “I signaled that that’s a possibility.”
Bush said a decision would not take long. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said earlier that she had no timetable for a decision.
Following a surprise visit to Iraq, Bush was visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and addressing U.S. troops in Afghanistan before his presidency ends next month. It was not clear how much longer the trip would last.
Lawmakers on Sunday said they expect the administration to act soon to ward off a collapse of the U.S. auto industry, which could lead to millions of job losses. Republicans blocked a bailout in the Senate last week.
Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said the Treasury Department has been talking this weekend with automakers about their balance sheets.
“I don’t think they yet know what they’re going to do,” said Corker, who added that he spoke with White House officials Sunday morning.
White House switchboard: 202.456.1414.