RPT-Obama: Wagoner departure means GM needs new vision


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WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday Rick Wagoner's departure as General Motors' chairman was a recognition that the company needs new direction even as he said the government did not want to run GM.

A day after the White House let out word that Wagoner would be stepping down, Obama said the executive's departure was not meant as a condemnation.

"Let me be clear: the United States government has no interest or intention of running GM," Obama said, according to prepared remarks. "What we are interested in is giving GM an opportunity to finally make those much-needed changes that will let them emerge from this crisis a stronger and more competitive company."

Obama said the United States will not let the auto industry simply vanish, but that it must be retooled so it can survive without an "unending flow of tax dollars."

He also said GM and Chrysler unions and workers must make more painful concessions to help the companies become economically viable.

(Reporting by Steve Holland, John Crawley and Jeff Mason)



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