By Patricia Sellers
December 20, 2008

“You think I would have gone through what I did the last two months if I didn’t want to stay?”

— General Motors

chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, reiterating today that he’s determined to keep his job. In exchange for a $13.4 billion rescue package (which will come from the government’s $700 bllion TARP fund aimed at banks and Wall Street firms), executives at GM and Chrysler agreed to limits on pay and perks. No more corporate jets. Wagoner earns $1 a year.

Maybe saving GM — and his reputation — will be worth the sacrifices. GM stock popped 23% today to $4.49. Ford

, which has more cash on hand, isn’t taking bailout dollars, at least yet. Its shares rose 4% today to $2.95. Even as Ford’s stock-market value has shrunk to $6.8 billion, it’s more than twice that of GM’s.

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