Business

Ford: White House didn’t pressure us to pull anti-bailout ad

Amanda Carey Contributor

Ford Motor Co. pulled an ad because of pressure from the Obama administration, the Detroit News’ Daniel Howes wrote in his column Tuesday. A campaigning Obama had Ford scratch the ad, he charges, because it presented a political liability in souring the public’s views of the bailout.

The Michigan-based motor company responded to the story Tuesday afternoon, denying that the White House had anything to do with Ford’s decision to stop airing the ad.

“For those asking, the ad ran as part of a planned rotation and continues to run online,” said Ford in a statement. “It contains the unscripted comments of a Ford owner. We supported emergency government support for our competitors and continue to support the decisions we made.”

The ad in question featured authentic footage of a Ford-owner responding to the question of why “buying American” was important to him.

“I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government,” said a Ford owner identified as Chris.

“I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: Win, lose or draw. “That’s what America is about, taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that company for me.”

In his original column, Howes wrote that Ford pulled the ad after administration officials and competitors such as General Motors complained that it was “publicly denigrating” since Ford CEO Alan Mulally publicly supported the auto bailouts. He then asserts that White House officials were so incensed by the problems the ad could cause for Obama’s re-election that they had it taken off the air.

Howes, though, only cites one unnamed “industry source.”

Ford was the only one of the Detroit “Big Three” not to accept a government bailout in 2009, while Chrysler and General Motors did. That’s not to say the company wasn’t having financial difficulties — it too carried significant debt and has enjoyed tax breaks since the 2009 government intervention.

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