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Bush doesn't set auto bailout timeline

President acknowledges 'possibility' of using Treasury plan money for troubled car companies, but won't say when.

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By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- President Bush said Monday he might use money from the Treasury program to aid financial services companies in order to avoid the bankruptcy of U.S. automakers, but he would not provide a timeline.

In an interview with reporters on Air Force One en route to Afghanistan, Bush said that "an abrupt bankruptcy for the autos could be devastating for the economy."

When asked if he would use any of the $700 billion from Treasury's Troubled Asset Recovery Program (TARP) that has been earmarked for Wall Street to make a loan to automakers, he replied, "I signaled that that's a possibility."

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said, "We'll be focused on trying to get the policy right while considering the best interests of the taxpayer and our economy, and we'll take the time we have available to do that right. No decisions have been made."

A proposed $14 billion loan to avoid bankruptcy for Big Three automakers General Motors (GM, Fortune 500), Ford Motors (F, Fortune 500) and Chrysler is in a state of limbo after the Senate failed to pass it last week. To top of page

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