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Obama takes a look inside a Mustang Shelby GT500

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama sits inside a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 during his visit to the Washington Auto Show on Jan. 31.

Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images

From the debt ceiling debacle to the death of Osama bin Laden, it was an eventful year in office for the nation's 44th president.

President Barack Obama hailed the rebound of the U.S. auto industry on Tuesday as he sat inside a classic American muscle car, plug-in electric hybrids and burly trucks during a tour of the Washington Auto Show.

He declared "The U.S. auto industry is back."

Obama emphasized his administration's rescue of General Motors and Chrysler from the brink of collapse as Romney was surging in Florida's GOP primary, a contest that could bring him a step closer to winning the Republican nomination.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this blog post

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