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November 12, 2008 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
WASHINGTON
Obama suggested
more aid for auto
industry, aides say
President-elect Obama sug-
gested to President Bush that the
administration immediately pro-
vide extra help to struggling U.S.
automakera, aides to the Demo-
crat say, in their first fate-to-face
meeting since Election Day.
Obama's aides said the president-
elecbroughupthe issue with Bush
during their two-hour White House
talks on Monday, expressing his
view that action is needed now, not
just to help the U.S. companies but
also the broader economy, because
of their enormous reach. Obama
raised the idea of an administration
point person on autos with a port-
folio aimed at improving the long-
term health of the companies.
Bush repeated his position,
recently stated by staff, that he is
open to helping the automakers.
In addition, amid discussions
in Washington over whether new
economic stimulus spending is
needed, Obama focused in his
meeting with Bush on his desire
for it while the president stressed
that his main priority for any post-
election action out of Congress is
approval of a long-stalled free
trade agreement with Colombia,
said people familiar with the con-
versation between the two men.
WASHINGTON
Palin puts 'brutal'
2008 behind her
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has
put the "brutal" 2008 campaign
behind her and has the next presi-
dential race in her sights, with a
flurry of national television inter-
views and a high-profile appear-
ance at the Republican Governors
Association meeting this week.
Palin's stepping-out has been a
marked departure for a vice presi-
dential candidate who was held to
tightly controlled appearances for
much of the fall campaign. She's
indirectly but unmistakably put her
name inplayas apoenialpresiden-
tial candidate, saying she'll "plow
through that door" if it's God's will
and conditions are right.
While Republican presidential
nominee John McCain has kept a
low profile since last week's elec-
tion, Palin has spoken forcefully
,to deny any responsibility for her
ticket's loss. She had blamed the
policies of President Bush, the
handicap of representing the in-
cumbent party and the nation's fi-
nancial crisis for the GOP defeat.
"I think the economic collapse
;had a heckuva lot more to do with
the campaign's collapse than me
personally," the governor said in
an interview broadcast yesterday
on NBC's "Today" show.
+HOLLAND, Mich.
College reopens
after viral outbreak
Hope College is reopening after
a shutdown over asuspected noro-

virus outbreak.
The Holland school last week
cancelled all classes, athletic
events and other campus activi-
ties. It says about 420 students
and employees reported symp-
tomsincluding nausea, vomiting
and diarrhea.
Hope says buildings reopened
yesterday night and classesresume
Wednesday for its 3,200 students.
The school says it has sanitized
campus facilities and is supplying
'students with materials so they can
clean up their own living areas.
HOUSTON
Avg. gas price dips
below $2 nationally
Retail gasoline prices dipped
for a 17th week since July 4, fall-
ing below $2 a gallon in a number
of states and approaching $1.50 at
some service stations. The price
4of crude fell again too, hitting a
20-month low.
While consumers, worried
'about a weak job market and
{slumping investments, are grate-
ful for the price relief, economic
reports increasingly suggest
they're hanging onto whatever
savings they see at the pump.
Retail gasoline prices fell over-
night to a national average of
$2.22 a gallon, dragged down by
the falling price of crude, which
now costs 60 percent less per bar-
rel than it did in mid-July. The
average price for regular unleaded
gasoline has fallen nearly 32 per-
cent in the last month.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

,Catholic bishops to fight next
amnistration on abortion
Some have criticizedr
Biden, a Catholic, forx
his pro-choice stance xr
WASHINGTON (AP) - The,
nation's Roman Catholic bish
ops vowed Tuesday to forcefully
confront the Obama administra-
tion over its support for abortion
rights, saying the church and
religious freedom could be under,
attack in the new presidential
administration.
In an impassioned discussion
on Catholics in public life, several
bishops said they would accept
no compromise on abortion pol-
icy. Many condemned Catholics
who had argued it was morally
acceptable to back President-elect
Obama because he pledged to
reduce abortion rates.
And several prelates promised
to call out Catholic policy makers
on their failures to follow church
teaching. Bishop Joseph Martino
of Scranton, Pa., singled out Vice
President-elect Biden, a Catho-
lic, Scranton native who supports
abortion rights.
"I cannot have a vice president-
elect coming to Scranton to say
he's learned his values there when AP PHOTO
those values are utterly against the President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden have been criti-
teachings of the Catholic Church," cized by a group of Catholic bishops who say their pro-choice stances on abortion
are unacceytable.
Martino said. The Obama-Biden
press office did not immediately a core belief as the dignity of the abortion.
respond to a request for comment. unborn," Naumann said Tuesday. The bishops suggested that the
Archbishop Joseph Naumann The discussion occurred on the final document include the mes-
of the Diocese of Kansas City in same day the bishops approved sage that "aggressively pro-abor-
Kansas said politicians "can't a new "Blessing of a Child in the tion policies" would be viewed "as
check your principles at the door Womb." The prayer seeks a healthy an attack on the church."
of the legislature." pregnancy for the mother and Along with their theologi-
Naumann has said repeat- makes a plea that "our civic rul- cal opposition to the procedure,
edly that Kansas Gov. Kathleen ers" perform their duties "while church leaders say they worry
Sebelius, a Catholic Democrat respecting the gift of human life." that any expansion in abortion
who supports abortion rights, Chicago Cardinal Francis rights could require Catholic hos-
should stop taking Holy Com- George, president of the U.S. pitals to perform abortions or lose
munion until she changes her Conference of Catholic Bish- federal funding. Auxiliary Bishop
stance. ops, is preparing a statement Thomas Paprocki of Chicago said
"They cannot call themselves during the bishops' fall meet- the hospitals would close rather
Catholic when they violate such ing that will press Obama on than comply.
Obama: Lieberman should keep
caucusing with the Democrats

GM plans more
white-collar cuts

Flailing giant now
says it will, cut 30
percent of its jobs
NEW YORK (AP) - Just as
General Motors Corp. reached
its target for cutting white-collar
costs, the struggling automaker
now says it will reduce those costs
even more as it seeks to plug its
cash drain.
GM said in a regulatory filing
Monday that about 3,460 salaried
employees have accepted buy-
out offers as of Oct .31, exceeding
the automaker's target of 3,000.
The cuts put GM ahead of its goal
announced in July of reducing
salaried labor costs by 20 percent,
spokesman Tom Wilkinson said
Tuesday.
But GM's financial situation
has worsened considerably since
then, and the company now says
it will cut white-collar costs by an
additional 10 percent, bringingthe
total reduction to 30 percent.
"There will be more sala-
ried employee cost reductions,"
Wilkinson said. "We haven't said
specifically what mix of actions
would achieve those."
Wilkinson said the newest cuts
could take several forms, includ-
ing additional buyouts, attrition
or layoffs. GM had 32,000 salaried
employees as of Sept. 31, he said,
excluding the most recent buy-
outs.
"The most expensive of those
are involuntary separations,"
Wilkinson said. "That's the least
desirable from a human resources
standpoint and the least desirable
from a financial standpoint."
These have been difficult times
for GM, the No. 1 automaker by
sales. The Detroit company posted
a $2.5 billion quarterly loss Fri-
day and said its cash burn had
accelerated to the point where it
could reach the minimum amount
required to operate by early next
year.
The company has been lobbying
fiercely in recent weeks for govern-
ment assistance, saying it may be

the onlywayto ensure its survival.
Congressional leaders have been
receptive to the idea, and House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday
called for "emergency and limited
financial assistance" for the bat-
tered auto industry. She urged the
outgoing Bush administration to
joinlawmakers inreachingaquick
compromise and backed legisla-
tion to make theautomakers eligi-
ble for help under the $700 billion
bailout measure that cleared Con-
gress in October.
GM also said Tuesday it is
reducing production at its Dae-
woo operations in South Korea to
adjust to the weak vehicle market.
The Daewoo unit, which makes
the Chevrolet Aveo car, among
other vehicles sold globally, "is
being negatively impacted by the
slowdowninthe global auto indus-
try due to the worldwide financial
crisis," GM said in a statement.
The automaker also said it will
scale back its presence at next
week's Los Angeles Auto Show,
where it was scheduled to unveil
itsnew BuickLaCrosse sedan.Vice
Chairman Bob Lutz was to attend
during the show's press days Nov.
19-20.
But GM said Tuesday it will
unveil the new vehicle in January
at the North American Interna-
tional Auto Show in Detroit, and
Lutz will not go to Los Angeles.
Shares of GM continued their
free fall Tuesday, sinking44 cents,
or 13.1 percent, to close at $2.92
after touching a 65-year low of
$2.75 $1.56 a share, for the same
period lasCyear.economy.
The federal help "will allow
AIG to continueto restructure
themselves in a way that will not
hurt the overall economy. AIG is
a large, interconnected firm," she
said.
AIG Chief Executive Edward
Liddy called the plan a "win-win."
"It sends a strong signal to
our policy holders, to govern-
ment, to regulators around the
world, to our business partners
and counterparts that AIG is in
fact on the road to recovery," he
said.

Independent
senator ruffled
party feathers by
backing McCain
WASHINGTON (AP) - Presi-
dent-elect Obama has told Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid he's
not interested in seeing Demo-
crats oust Connecticut Sen. Joe
Lieberman from their ranks over
his endorsement of Republican
John McCain.
Obama told Reid in a phone
conversation last week that
expelling Lieberman from the
Democratic caucus would hurt
the message of bipartisanship
and unity that he wants for his
new administration, a Senate
Democratic aide said Tues-
day. This aide spoke on con-
dition of anonymity because
the discussions were confi-
dential.
The caucus is the meeting
of all Senate Democrats and
at the beginning of each Con-
gress it chooses the body's
leaders. Lieberman, a long-
time Democrat most recently
re-elected as an independent,
has continued to join the Dem-
ocratic caucus.
In the last Congress his pres-
ence was essential to the Dem-
ocrats' control of the Senate
because he gave them a 51-49
edge over Republicans. But Dem-
ocrats expanded their majority
last Tuesday and no longer need
Lieberman to control the cham-
ber, though his vote still could
be crucial in votes to end filibus-
ters.
Obama says he won't get
involved in the fight on Capitol
Hill over whether Democrats
should take away Lieberman's
chairmanship of a key commit-
tee to punish him for backing his
close friend McCain for presi-
dent.
"We aren't going to referee
decisions about who should or
should not be a committee chair,"
Obama spokeswoman Stephanie
Cutter said in a statement Tues-
day. "President-elect Obama
looks forward to working with
anyone to move the country for-
ward. We'd be happy to have
Sen. Lieberman caucus with the
Democrats. We don't hold any
grudges."
Lieberman angered many
Democrats by criticizing Obama

during the presidential race. Lie-
berman spoke at the Republican
National Convention and accom-
panied McCain on the presiden-
tial campaign trail.
Lieberman has met with Reid,
but there has been no word on
whether Reid intends to try to
oust Lieberman as chairman of
the Senate Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs Com-
mittee.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick
Durbin of Illinois said the caucus
should be "gracious in victory"
toward Lieberman.
"Despite what Sen. Lieber-
man did in campaigning for Sen.
McCain, speaking at the Republi-
can convention, he has voted with
the Democrats an overwhelming
percentage of the time," Durbin
said after a Veteran's Day event in

Illinois.
Four Senate Democrats have
been asked to review the situation
and recommend possible actions
against Lieberman, Durbin said.
He would not identify the
four.
Last week, Lieberman pledged
to put partisan considerations
aside and work with Obama. Lie-
berman, who was Democrat Al
Gore's running mate in 2000, was
re-elected to the Senate from Con-
necticut in2006 as an independent
after losing his state's Democratic
primary. He remains a registered
Democrat and aligns himself with
Senate Democrats.
Senate Republicanleader Mitch
McConnell of Kentucky spoke to
Lieberman last week about the
possibility of Lieberman's joining
the GOP caucus.

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