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New GM CEO: "We Need To Do More"

With all the anger across the country about taxpayer bailouts, President Obama stood up to the auto companies today and said firmly -- you're not getting another one, unless you come up with better plans for restructuring your companies. The president forced out General Motors chairman Rick Wagoner and gave the company 60 days to submit a new restructuring plan. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric spoke to Fritz Henderson, GM's new CEO.


Katie Couric: Mr. Henderson, you have 60 days to get GM's house in order. Is that enough time?
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Fritz Henderson: Well, I would say, Katie, we have - we've done a lot already. So it's not as if we need to recreate a plan from Day One. I think the clear findings of the task force was we need to move faster. We need to move deeper. And I think the clear view from their perspective, our perspective, is we're going to do what it takes to get this job done. And a 60-day period is what they outline for doing this out of court. And if we're not successful doing it out of court, we will do it in court.

Couric: President Obama said today at the White House, quote, "It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more." We've heard some GM workers say today enough is enough. They're not willing to make any more concessions, give any more back. What then?

Henderson: Certainly it's, you know, it's a tough message. I thought some of the measures that were identified to try to help - for example, communities and help people - were very well-structured. And I think there's a recognition that when sacrifice is required, there is pain and the need to help. So certainly I understand the reaction. But I think there's no question that more is going to be required from all of us.

Couric: Can GM really hold on until the economy turns around? And, conversely, what if it gets worse?

Henderson: Given the situation we find ourselves in today, we need to do more. We need to do it faster. We need to reduce more liabilities. We need to take tougher measures to make sure that GM can actually be - can sustain itself in this kind of environment, one. Two, that we do this once so that we're not being required to go back to the taxpayer on a continuous basis. And, third, that we can pay the taxpayer back.

Couric: Rick Wagoner was asked to leave essentially by the White House. Is it appropriate, in your view, for the government to request management changes at companies in which they have no ownership stake?

Henderson: I personally worked for Rick for my entire career, 25 years, a mentor and a friend, had been my boss. Tough day for all of us. But, candidly, the government said they felt the changes were required of the leadership. They outlined those. And Rick being the person that he is said this is much more about General Motors than it is about Rick Wagoner, and he stepped aside.

Couric: And you're really in the hot seat now. How long do you think you'll last?

Henderson: Well, my job is to work with the men and women of General Motors to get this job done, take care of customers, make sure that we justify what the taxpayers are investing in our company, and … do whatever it takes to make sure General Motors can be successful. Then somebody else is going to worry about that.