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Detroit mayor suggests bailout unlikely

Faced with the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on Friday said he would love a bailout from the federal government, but added such assistance is probably "unrealistic." Bing wouldn't rule out the possibility of the city asking for assistance and said he will be in discussions with White House staffers.

"We would love to have Washington and the president come bail us out, but we have to do things for ourselves," Bing told CNBC's "Closing Bell," adding that President Barack Obama's "hands are tied" with other issues, so Bing feels asking for a bailout "wouldn't be fair to him."

"The president is well aware of the situation here in Detroit ... but I think to try to bail a city out is something he's got to be very careful [with] and I don't want to put him in a horrible position," said Bing.

"Detroit is just the first city of many dominoes that will probably fall," he said. "There are several cities in the same kind of situation we're in here and if he does it for us, everybody will say, 'Why Detroit? Why not us?'"

(Read more: What's next for Detroit? Long court battle )

The fated glory of Detroit: an abandoned building on the outskirts of Motor City
Getty Images
The fated glory of Detroit: an abandoned building on the outskirts of Motor City

Meantime, Bing wouldn't say whether he agreed with the decision by Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

"I think that now that we're there, it doesn't matter whether I agree or not. We have filed for bankruptcy as far as the emergency manager is concerned and now we have to work our way through the process," said Bing, who lost most of his authority to Orr earlier this year, when the state assigned Detroit an emergency manager to address its $18.5 billion in long-term debt.

(Read more: Detroit bankruptcy could hit millions of retirees)

Bing suggested Orr's decision to file bankruptcy should come as no surprise, though, given his wide experience in business restructuring. After all, prior to his appointment as emergency manager, Orr handled automaker Chrysler's restructuring as a partner with the law firm Jones Day.

"The goal was to fix the city without going through bankruptcy, but the mere fact that his background as one of the top bankruptcy lawyers in the country, it was obvious that if we couldn't fix the city through negotiations, bankruptcy would be the next route to go and he's taken that route," Bing said.

—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm. Follow him on Twitter @DrewSandholm.

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