CHICAGO President-elect Barack Obama is appealing for approval of an assistance package for the auto industry.
Obama says the government can't just stand by and watch the industry collapse. He says it would have a "devastating ripple effect" throughout the economy.
He told reporters in Chicago that he understands the "anger and frustration" over the situation in which the auto companies find themselves. He says leaders of those companies failed to move quickly enough to change.
But Obama says he thinks the government should provide short-term assistance to avoid a collapse of the companies, while holding them responsible and protecting the interests of the taxpayers.
Obama says the package under consideration in Congress is a "step forward."