From day one, Obama has taken a tough line on the auto industry: They'll have to undertake serious restucturing. Even with such restructuring, some sort of bankruptcy may be necessary for Chrsyler, General Motors, or both.
Few people took the threat seriously at first. But, as the New York Times reported in its terrific story on the auto deal today, Obama seemed very serious about it. I heard the same thing in conversations with administration officials.
So it's significant that Obama just praised the companies for the work they've done--and expressed optimism that they'd perservere, albeit in leaner form. It's a conspicuously different tone than Obama used during his previous appearances.