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Obama's thinking on GM and Chrysler unchanged: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama’s thinking on the crisis facing General Motors Corp has not changed since Monday, a senior administration official told Reuters on Tuesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks about the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 in the East Room of the White House in Washington March 30, 2009. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“Nothing has changed on this,” the official said when asked about a Bloomberg report that the president has determined that a prepackaged bankruptcy is the best way for GM to restructure and become competitive. “This report is not accurate.”

The White House wants the 60-day period for GM and a 30-day period for Chrysler to play out, as announced by the president on Monday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

U.S. stock futures slid on Wednesday on the Bloomberg report, with S&P futures down 1.5 percent, while the dollar and the euro fell against the yen, abruptly reversing earlier gains.

GM said the automaker was focused on restructuring more quickly and would use the next two months to seek cost-cutting deals with bondholders and the United Auto Workers union.

“Our focus is on accelerating the speed of our operational restructuring and reducing liabilities and debt on the balance sheet,” said GM spokeswoman Renee Rashid-Merem. “During the next 60 days, we will work aggressively on restructuring our financial obligations.”

Obama on Monday gave GM 60 days to come up with deeper cost and debt reductions than the biggest U.S. automaker had proposed in a viability plan submitted last month.

GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson said in a news conference on Tuesday a judgment about whether the automaker will file for bankruptcy could come before June 1 when its 60-day window expires.

In a briefing for key lawmakers on Sunday night, administration officials also said a determination on a bankruptcy filing by GM could also be made before the 60-day period was over, according to a congressional aide familiar with that discussion who asked not to be named.

The U.S. autos task force also set a 30-day deadline for Chrysler LLC to reach a deal with Fiat SpA and said it would either then opt to invest up to $6 billion in Chrysler or cut off its funding.

Because of the lack of bankruptcy financing, Chrysler executives have said that would prompt a liquidation of the No. 3 U.S. automaker.

Both GM and Chrysler have been kept afloat since the start of the year with $17.4 billion in U.S. government aid and will begin drawing more operating capital from the U.S. Treasury as soon as this week.

Additional reporting by Tom Ferraro and Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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