The auto company would have to bounce back to sustained profits before the US government would get any money back.
Cabinet members are touring auto country to offer the administration's support. Michigan stands to be hit hardest by GM's bankruptcy plans.
The Willow Run Transmission plant in Michigan will close in late 2010, bringing uncertainty to the people and the places that built their lives around America's largest automaker.
The Obama team is helping to push the automaker's debt holders, unions, and executives toward tough choices, but the risks of intervention are many.
Damage to the economy may be limited so long as bankruptcy is handled quickly. Obama is confident; others are skeptical.
The automaker's future, dismal as of last week, is brighter as creditors agree to swap $6.9 billion in debt for $2 billion in cash.
It will also cut Pontiac, as well as more jobs. But if dealerships and bondholders don't agree to the changes, bankruptcy looms.
So far, Ford is avoiding bankruptcy or a government bailout. Consumer confidence will be most important in securing its financial situation.