[Posted by Karl]
The rightosphere is buzzing about the claim made by Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes:
As part of a [Ford] campaign featuring “real people” explaining their decision to buy the Blue Oval, a guy named “Chris” says he “wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government,” according the text of the ad, launched in early September.
“I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work.”
That’s what some of America is about, evidently. Because Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ’09 and again when the ad flap arose.
Howes may be wrong about direct causality. FoMoCo says the campaign continues to run, although the specific ad was taken “out of rotation after 4 weeks which is consistent with the typical lifecycle for the campaign.” And contrary to some claims on Twitter, even that ad remains on Ford’s YouTube channel.
However, that does not mean that the Obama Administration did not gripe to Ford about the ad. The widely-mocked AttackWatch has been eager to defend the bailout of GM and Chrysler. Moreover, touting these bailouts is a key to Obama’s effort to hold onto the Great Lakes region in 2012. Ford pointing out that it is easily outperforming GM and Chrysler is not helpful to Obama. Neither is pointing out that the bailout saved nowhere near the million jobs claimed. Indeed, it is likely that a regular bankruptcy would have yielded about the same number of continuing jobs as the taxpayer-funded bankruptcy. The only difference is that Obama intervened to bail out his union support at the UAW, rather than the companies’ creditors. With a economy mired in malaise overall, Obama does not need Ford reminding people that taxpayers were put on the hook to boost his re-election effort.
Update: FWIW, it looks like Howe says a Ford VP confirms his claim.
Update 2: Scott Monty, head of social media for FoMoCo: “We did not pull the ad under pressure.”
Update 3: WH flack Dan Pfieffer denies they pressured Ford… which isn’t a denial of complaints.