WASHINGTON (NBC) - "It's not just any company, " said President Obama. " It's G.M."
But General Motors Monday filed for bankruptcy, going into federal court to try to stay afloat in an ocean of red ink and reorganize under its new majority owner the U.S. Government.
General Motors is still in business, still selling cars, despite the federal bankruptcy filing.
General Motors was the king of the auto industry, and flaunted it.
G.M. worker Tim Birchmeier said, "It's bittersweet right now because we have hit rock bottom."
Sweet because G.M. can survive. Bitter because more than a dozen plants will close.
21,000 workers let go. Including Reginald Miller, a 15 year G.M. employee.
"I thought my job was secure for life. I was with gm you know, I always thought that," said Miller.
The Autoworkers Union gets a 17 and a half percent ownership stake in the company.
The U.S. government 60% of G.M.'s stock for 50 billion dollars, 30 of that new.
Conservative critics say it's too risky. The president said he had no choice.
"We are acting as reluctant shareholders because that is the only way to help G.M. succeed. What we are not doing, what I have no interest in doing, is running G.M.," said Obama.
That's CEO Fritz Henderson's job. He claims the old G.M., that he admits let many car and truck buyers down, is history, "We look forward to the chance to win your business and earn back your trust give us another chance," said Henderson.
A new G.M. out of bankruptcy and headed into the black could be 3 months away.
That's Henderson's plan and Barack Obama's.
The president is encouraged by Chrysler that on Monday emerged from bankruptcy, merged with fiat and ready to go.