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Privations of the President: Obama Misses Driving Along Lake Michigan

President Barack Obama reachs out to greet auto workers at Ford Motor Company Chicago Assembly Plant. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

One of the pains of the American presidency is being the most protected person on the planet. For President Obama and his family, it means living in a kind of secure bubble. 

This week, the First Lady is traveling in Spain with her daughter, surrounded by dozens of Secret Service agents and other personnel.

On Thursday, Mr. Obama longed for the days when he could freely drive along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

In conversation with CBNC's Phil LeBeau, he said,"I miss nothing more than just driving right along Lake Shore Drive. I would love to hop in a convertible right now on a nice day like today and drive all the way up along the lake. But I can't do it. So my driving is either at the Secret Service testing site, the training site there where you can do some J-turns and do some pretty spiffy moves, or the golf cart. Those are the two opportunities I get to drive, and I miss it tremendously."

Mr. Obama also had a few other talking points to make with LeBeau. He was excited that Ford, GM and Chrysler are "retooling for the future," code for the Obama administration's energy policy, which is focused on higher fuel efficiency standards and alternative energy vehicles made in America.

"Americans like big cars," Mr. Obama told CNBC. "And you know, the first new car I ever bought was a Jeep Grand Cherokee. And I remember the first time I was sitting up there and had my cup holders and I, you know, was all set up and I thought this is a nice ride. It's exciting to see companies like Ford producing SUVs that are more fuel efficient, like the Explorer. The new Jeep Cherokee is more fuel efficient. But what I think we're going to have to recognize is that we've got to be strong in the car market and in the truck market and in the SUV market, and all of those markets are going to be more fuel efficient in the future than they were in the past, and that means new technologies. And one of the things I want to do is make sure that those cars are made here in the United States. So alongside our--the help that we gave the auto industry, we're also creating an entire advanced battery manufacturing industry here in the United States. We used to have 2 percent of that market; by 2015, we expect to have up to 40 percent of that market. That's good whether it's a car or a truck or an SUV. Overall, our standards are going to be higher."

If the 2015 prediction is true, the jobs picture and the health of the auto industry will continue on a gradual path to recovery. However, without a comprehensive energy reform bill signed into law, the road to recovery will be much more difficult to navigate.

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