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Dodd: Big Three Made 'Giant Step Forward' Today

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) minutes ago wrapped up what turned into a nearly six-hour hearing of his banking committee, during which the heads of Detroit's Big Three automakers stated their case for some $34 billion in government loans to stay in business.

This was the Big Three's second aid-seeking trip to Washington in as many weeks; they were scornfully turned away by lawmakers last time after arriving by private jets to beg for money.

This time, each chief executive drove from Detroit to D.C. in a hybrid vehicle.

"You're a giant step forward from where you were a couple of weeks ago," said Dodd, who favors aid for the automakers. "Nothing concentrates the mind like a death sentence," he told the heads of the Big Three, who face possible bankruptcy.

Dodd promised to try to "pull something together in the next 24-48 hours," meaning the crafting of a bill that could pass both houses of Congress and get signed by a reluctant, though lame-duck, President Bush.

"I am not going to leave town without trying" to come up with an aid package, despite the looming holidays, Dodd said.

GM's Rick Wagoner, Ford's Alan Mulally, Chrysler's Bob Nardelli and UAW president Ron Gettelfinger face another long day tomorrow, as all are set to testify before Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) Financial Services committee. (9:30 a.m., 2128 Rayburn)

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  December 4, 2008; 4:04 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alan Mulally, Barney Frank, Bob Nardelli, Christopher Dodd, Chrysler, Ford, GM, General Motors, Rick Wagoner, automakers  
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