White House Bullies Ask Ford to Take Down Ad Lambasting Government Motors


Detroit News business columnist Dan Howes reports that the Obama administration has prodded Ford Motor Co. to pull its TV ad featuring a Ford (pick up) buyer saying that he wasn't going to buy a vehicle from any company that received a government bailout because that was un-American. Notes Howes:

[T]he 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. And more.

With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can't have that.

The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.

In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn't worth the cost of waging it.

President Obama had assured everyone that just because GM and Chrysler got close to $100 billion in government money didn't mean that the government would start bullying the companies to do its bidding. But evidently bullying their rivals that didn't take government money is just fine.

One nit to pick with Howes' otherwise excellent account: He implies that Ford did not reject bailout money out of some high-minded principle. It was quite happy to accept government help to "retool" its plants in the past. But the "retooling" money that Howes is alluding to was meant to help the auto industry meet the government's hugely expensive CAFÉ mandate. Of course, Ford is not unsullied by government money. No company is or can be given the complex web of government regulations and subsidies that governs economic activity. But the bailout was not just like any other government handout. It was a handout that explicitly, expressly propped up Ford's failing rivals and therefore implicitly penalized it. Not allowing Ford to market that fact to distinguish itself from them is tantamount to imposing a double jeopardy on it.

Ford's campaign to sell cars has to yield to the president's campaign to sell himself. How is that for free enterprise and free speech in America?

Hat Tip: Sean Higgins, Investors Business Daily.

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  1. Fines, Overt Retaliation, Dumbass.

  2. As the election season gears up, the administration becomes more blatantly thuggish. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

    1. The trick for historians will be deciding when Obama passed Nixon for worst president of the modern era.

      1. Hint: I was not a crook.

      2. Wait, are these historians still going to be hardcore leftists?

        1. Even those. He’s that inept.

    2. It’s not the thuggery that’s surprising, it’s the blatantness. He doesn’t give a shit how bad this looks, because it just doesn’t matter to TEAM BLUE.

      1. It seems like the brazen disregard for appearances started sometime during the Clinton years, getting progressively worse up to the present. Both parties seem unable to restrain themselves, admit error, or operate under any conception of rules.

        1. It’s because behavior that previously would have been condemned even by its own TEAM is now excused, no matter what, by its own side. Not only will TEAM BLUE media outlets not condemn this, they will scramble to excuse it. So even if TEAM RED media outlets howl about it, there will be excuses to counteract that, and then it gets lost as more partisan bullshit.

          The TEAM can do no wrong; it is all that matters to these people. Vile.

        2. I think it got brazen with the Clinton pardons. Clinton sold pardons at the end of his terms. And the Democrats and the media said “yeah what are you going to do about it?” You are right there is a real shift. Clinton as least tried to act ashamed of Whitewater and such. But Obama just doesn’t care. But unless and until someone in the major media or his own side calls him to account, he can write off any criticism as “racist and partisan.” It is just sad.

          1. Wait, am I supposed to think Bush the Elder pardoning everyone who could send his ass to jail for Iran-Contra was somehow a more noble exercise of the pardon power than Clinton pardoning Marc Rich in exchange for rumpy-pumpy with the “ex” Mrs. Rich?

            1. Wait a minute, you mean when he pardoned Weingberger and five others, none of whom ever said Bush had anything to do with Iran Contra? They could have send him to jail? Really? Funny they had all of that great information but and none of them ever wrote a book saying so. Odd that.

              And Mark Rich was a convicted felon who made illegal oil deals with Iran and dodged his taxes. Iran Contra was a fucking fiscal law dispute.

              1. Bush’s diary said, “”I’m one of the few people that know fully the details.”

                Weinberger made illegal weapons deals with Iran. So if Mark Rich was selling weapons to the Iranians instead of oil, everything would have been hunky dory? Methinks he just needed to be pardoned by a guy with a (R) rather than a (D) for you to not care.

                1. Weinberger wasn’t convicted of selling arms to Iran. Fail. Try again Mo. Keep going though, I am sure at some point you can convince yourself that Clinton did nothing wrong and the evil Republicans are always worse.

                  Don’t let go of the narrative man. It is what makes you you.

                  1. I didn’t say that Clinton did no wrong or that Rich is a good man. I never said Weinberger was convicted. You ignore that he wasn’t convicted because he was pardoned before he could be. That doesn’t mean he didn’t make the weapons deals.

                    1. In other news, there’s no way OJ killed anyone, he was never convicted.

      2. Doesn’t matter to TEAM BLUE? They will absolutely eat that shit up right off the floor – The One is smacking around an evil corporation. Forget the tingle, TEAM BLUE true believers will be writhing in ecstasy.

      3. Apparently, it also doesn’t matter to the voters.
        In a democracy all the people get the government the majority deserves.

        1. A democracy? I didn’t vote for that.

          1. Sorry, it was on the back of the social contract that we all signed.

            1. It certainly wasn’t on the front.

  3. This is totally and blatantly unconstitutional. Again.

    1. And his TEAM BLUE cheerleaders in a bunch of the media won’t go apeshit on this, which they would have–absolutely apeshit–if it was done by a TEAM RED shithead. Fuck, I fucking hate partisans. They are the true scum of the earth.

      1. I don’t care what the reasoning is–if we keep ignoring government transgressions of our rights, government is going to keep doing more of it.

        1. What are you going to do about it, ProL? This is the entire point: the politicians have been seeing for years that they can do shit like this and partisans will cover for them. So of course they get more blatant. Why wouldn’t they?

          1. I’m going to don a loincloth and walk around America, preaching the good word of freedom.

            1. Only if you do it with a chimp named Cheeta.

              1. I was thinking more Gandhi than Tarzan, but since Cheeta is still alive, that’s an option.

              2. No, take gojira with you but take no prisoners.

    2. Not really, it depends on what exactly they did. If they just raised an eyebrow suggestively and said “Oh, so you’re making an ad criticizing GM, and thus indirectly criticizing us? Well, that seems like an odd choice given all the allegations made against us about how we abuse the law to punish our enemies. But I’m sure it isn’t my place to second-guess your business decisions.”, that wouldn’t actually be any sort of explicit threat or official action.

  4. President Obama had assured everyone that just because GM and Chrysler got close to $100 billion in government money didn’t mean that the government would start running the companies. But evidently running their rivals that didn’t take government money is just fine.

    Gotta be keepin the Pimp Hand strong.

  5. They used to hate us for our freedoms.
    Now they hate us because we deserve it.

  6. Ugh, just terrible

  7. Nice motor company.
    Be a shamed if anything happened to it…

    1. ^WINNER!!^

  8. The damage is done. Ford would have pulled it soon anyway b/c nobody likes a winner that constantly brags and rubs it in your face.

    You don’t go broke selling early as the Oracle of Omaha would say.

  9. “Ford to DC: Drop Dead”

    That’s what shoulda happened.

    1. Not when DC can fuck them. And it can, so no one will say that.

      1. They not only CAN fuck you over, they almost have to.
        Because if they don’t, others might get the idea that they can safely ignore the parasites in DC.
        Pretty soon there will be no more cushy lobbying jobs after leaving “public service”, no more campaign donations, no more hookers and blow etc. The whole system would collapse.

        1. Absolutely. Once the juggernaut is in motion, it can never stop. So it just gets worse.

          1. If I owned a car company, I’d call our largest SUV the “Juggernaut.”

            1. “Whoa, Canyonero, whoa!”

            2. “Juggernauts” was the name of a titty bar in the Simpsons. Best use of the term ever!

  10. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

  11. Thug says what?
    In other Ford news – the Chinaman gets the “green jobs”:…..-in-china/

  12. You’d think someone brought up in the Chicago machine would be smarter than to come right out and say this. You have to be more covert in your actions. Send EPA and OSHA in to ding them with some violations and lay some big fines on them. They will get the message.

    1. “Smart” is an adjective that can’t be used in connection with this administration. Well. except maybe for their clothes.

      1. Don’t forget the, “Ow, that smarts!” sense.

        1. Oh, right. And they may consume Smarties.

          1. Smarties are too sophisticated for the likes of them. It’s Pixie Stix all day, every day.

            1. Figures.

    2. Send EPA and OSHA in to ding them with some violations and lay some big fines on them. They will get the message.

      I’m sure that was next if Ford didn’t do as told. Which is why they did as told.

      Why be subtle when half the media will excuse anything you do?

      1. Go talk to Toyota about that. The Democratic Congress spent and entire summer trashing their brand over a bunch of incidents that turned out to be hoaxes. Gee remember when Toyotas were mysteriously just taking off?

        1. I remember after all the news about it in summer of 2010, there was almost no notice in the media when the government investigation found NOTHING in Feb 2011.

          1. But it was highly effective at destroying Toyota’s sales for a summer. Mission accomplished!!

      2. Go talk to Toyota about that. The Democratic Congress spent and entire summer trashing their brand over a bunch of incidents that turned out to be hoaxes. Gee remember when Toyotas were mysteriously just taking off?

    3. I’m sure that was the implied consequences if they didn’t comply. They probably didn’t even need to threaten, Ford knows that any or all of the IRS, EPA, OSHA, DOT, and NLRB can make their lives a living hell and easily cancel out any gain by said ad.

  13. This is a good start, amigo. But you never know when corporate interests will question you again. Seize all their capital. It’s the only way to be sure.

  14. Ford’s getting plenty of cheap government loans, just like Solyndra.

    Someone may say it’s to cover CAFE mandates, but I’d say it’s union wage subsidy.

    1. Exactly. I imagine the administration’s talking points were along the lines of”shut the hell up, or something might happen to those loans you took through the Fed’s discount window”

  15. Too bad we won’t see a follow-up ad.

    “You may remember seeing this ad for Ford. [Run brief clip showing the no-bailout bit]. We’ve gotten some questions from the White House, and we’re sure they wouldn’t mind if we responded publicly.

    [State the White House questions, and give pithy answers.]

    We’re glad to clear that up, and we hope your next new car will be a Ford.

    [Clip of bald eagle landing in back of Ford pickup, against a backdrop of the Grand Canyon and American flags]”

    As a plus, now that you’ve yanked their chain, you can claim any regulatory enforcement is political retaliation.

    1. Ford is more American than the administration.

    2. I just saw a follow-up ad last night.

  16. Nothing witty to add, this just really pisses me off.

    1. For the record, GM is dead to me. Dead!

      1. I would have hoped they were already dead to you for making such shitty cars.

        How did my initial post of this end up up there?

        1. I chose not to buy their crappy products some time ago, but they became totally dead to me when they became Government Motors. I was just restating my position.

          I have a Toyota minivan deathmobile, and two other older Japanese cars. Next is likely a newish Honda.

          1. I have a Ford, but that is only because I bought it off my uncle for an excellent price. Normally, it’s only Toyotas (and Lexus) for me.

            I have driven GM cars when renting, and they are terrible. Give me the Hyundai instead of the GM car every time, rental dude.

            1. I have a Toyota 4-Runner, but I also have a 2001 Ford Explorer with nearly 150K miles on it, and it still runs well with only routine maintenance so far. So I might just buy another Explorer when it finally goes.

              1. My Explorer has the same number of miles and is even older (’98), but it did have to have a transmission overhaul a number of years ago. But I drive so few miles normally that I’ll just keep it until it dies.

            2. I’m pretty sure US rental fleets are all that keeps GM and Chrysler in business. Every time I have rented a car I have gotten a practically brand new GM or Chrysler car.

              1. Yes. And every time I wonder “who would buy this shitbox with his own money?”

            3. I stopped liking GM in 1996, when they cut production of the B-body (Caprice and Roadmaster). Those were the last of the great land-yachts from GM. And one of the few cars that I could sit comfortably in. It was too bad since the LT1 engine was a great motor in those big cars.

              I now drive a Mercury Grand Marquis, but that 4.6L engine just isn’t the same.

              1. My car was in the shop, and Geico picked up the tab for a brand new Dodge Challenger.

                If I had cash to burn I’d buy a Mustang or a Corvette, or if I was buying a pickup I’d get an F150, but other then that the Japanese cars are the way to go.

                1. on a value/$ basis, the new corvettes are phenomenal sports cars.

                  1. Yup – I’m with everyone else so far. I buy German cars (though I did have a Volvo once and loved it) and Ford trucks. I have a diesel F350 for hauling cattle and whatnot around the farm, and then I have an 08 BMW 750li for daily driving. My wife has a Taurus which she really likes, but we’re going to test drive a Nissan Juke on Saturday.

                    Has anybody driven one of those? They look weird, but with the AWD it might be a neat little car (SUV? I don’t really know what it is.)

      2. You know, considering most U.S. Americans aren’t happy with Obama, and such as, this could really hurt GM’s sales.

        1. I wasn’t buying a GM, anyway, so my boycott is worth little.

      3. I’ll never buy a GM or Dodge, ever. Bailout, unions, etc.

        Left to my own devices, I’d probably never buy a Ford. Oh, I look for the union label, yes indeedy I do.

        But, Mrs. Dean is talking about needing more of a daily driver, seeing as the E63 has made her driver’s license an endangered species. She is currently shopping the Texas surplus auctions for a used Crown Vic (DPS interceptor preferred).

        But at least it won’t be a new Ford.

        1. My Fusion is a solid car, certainly worth the 20k price. Plus it’s one of the few cars left with a stickshift. Another benefit is the final assembly taking place in Hermosillo, MX. It’s a rolling reminder that Mexicans can do a better job than the UAW at 1/10 the cost.

          I could never buy a Honda or Toyota; 99.999% of the population that owns one where I live have no business attempting to pilot a car. This stands in sharp contrast to the 99.973% driving any other make (I’ve done research). Sadly, Mercedes and Volvos have been shooting up this list in recent years. Who says we’re getting poorer?

          1. Sadly, Mercedes and Volvos have been shooting up this list in recent years.

            Nothing sad about that. Look at their three year old “certified pre-owned” lease turnbacks. That’s what the E63 (affectionately known as the ICBM) is.

            We got a good deal on it (as these things go; it was essentially a dollar off list for every mile driven), and it was absolutely pristine when I drove it off the lot.

        2. The Panter (Marquis and Crown Vic) are some real comfortable cars. Lots (and I mean LOTS) of trunk space. The backseat footroom isn’t all that great, but the front seats – ahhh – one of the few cars I can stretch out my 6’2″ frame all the way. It’s a great highway cruiser too.

          1. i agree! and free gas!

        3. Buy a restored Studebaker. Those were one-hundred percent American, yo.

          1. Actually Studebakers were Canadian.

            1. Studebaker’s last plant was in Canada, but it was an American company, unless the Canucks secretly occupied South Bend.

  17. Will the President come to Detroit to show his solidarity when the UAW goes on strike against Ford?

    Maybe he can wave a “Don’t Buy a Model TEA!” sign.

  18. I’m going to don a loincloth and walk around America, preaching the good word of freedom.

    Don’t forget your matches.

  19. For what it’s worth, Ford is saying that they didn’t pull the ad but that “The campaign continues to run. We took the ad out of rotation after 4 weeks which is consistent with the typical lifecycle for the campaign.”!/ford/posts/10150399106610049?notif_t=feed_comment

    1. So, “We didn’t pull the ad, it’s just not running anymore.” It’s all just a big coincidence, I’m sure.

    2. It’s not dead, it’s resting.

      1. It’s only mostly dead.

        1. I’m not dead yet!!

          1. You will be soon, you’re very ill.

  20. I would have hoped they were already dead to you for making such shitty cars.

  21. One of the first things a Ron Paul administration should do is rip the CAFE standards the hell up and tell the green-fags to go fuck themselves. That’ll be a good day.

    1. One really nice thing about all of these unconstitutional executive orders and the like is that a noncompliant executive like Paul could wreak untold havoc.

      1. Well yes, but isn’t that basically an academic point?
        It’s not like anybody who’s noncompliant will ever get elected. And there are just too many people with too much to lose. A president like that would likely find himself ignored by the bureaucracy.

        Though i must confess i get a little giddy imagining a Paul presidency. Sure would be a lot of fun!

    2. No. The first thing should be to issue an executive order to halt enforcement of all Federal gun restrictions.

      That will quiet the Fluffies down when he then announces that CAFE standards are not to be enforced.

  22. Seriously, though: it’s only fascism when Republicans do it.

      1. … but, then again, I happily cast my ballot for the Mocha Messiah in ’08, so what the fuck do I know, right…?

        1. Translation:

          It’s okay when Team Blue bullies a company over a fucking advertisement.

          1. ^ THIS ^

  23. You know who else liked heavy-handed central governments that made corporations a function of the state, restricted free speech, and scapegoated unpopular minorities?

    Ironically, Henry Ford, that’s who.

  24. Am I the only one that saw this in the original article?

    “This thing is highly charged,” says an industry source familiar with the situation. Ford “never meant it to be an attack on the policy. There was not any pressure to take down the ad.”

    Maybe not technically. But the nexus of politics and the auto business in today’s Washington is bigger, broader and more complex than it arguably has been in who knows how long.

  25. “Typical libertarians, taking the side of corporashuns even after Obama saved the auto industry and a million jobs…”

  26. Doesn’t Dennis Leary do Ford ads?

    I’d like to see what he could do with a followup.

    “Now, we’re not saying those guys are a bunch of welfare queens who can’t stand on their own two feet….”

    1. No Cure For Corporate Welfare

    2. “There are some who say those guys are…”

      1. Let me clear, if you don’t want a bunch of unions laughing at you and drinking their slurpies and lattes while your overpriced government-manufactured car is stuck in a ditch, buy Ford.

  27. One of the reasons why Obama is not a smart as Dick Nixon. Under Nixon, the ads would have come down and there would never have been a single sentence in the press that maybe, perhaps, possibly, the administration was not happy about the ads.

  28. I rented a Chevy Cruze. What a piece of shit; the most uncomfortable car I have ever driven. I could hardly walk by the time I returned it.

    1. Union made – guaranteed!

    2. My wife wanted one of those, but when we sat in the new Civic and realized it was a much better car for the same money, it was See ya later, Cruze.

    3. Lol – I always thought as a result of taking the bailout, Chevy should have to name a model PEESACHIT.

  29. If this was Harrison Ford, they’d end up like Greedo.

  30. If I owned a car company, I’d call our largest SUV the “Juggernaut.”

    Well, you’ll have to. Armada is taken.

    1. Well, there’s always Behemoth.

      1. Jeroboam would be good too. Car models need more Old Testament.

        1. How about Rehoboam – the guy Obama has been channeling in his speeches?

      2. TITANIC (insert iceberg joke here)

    2. Dreadnought, for me.

  31. Just a checkup … does anyone know how much GM and Chrysler stock the government still owns?

    1. Last I read it was 26% of GM. The original buy-in for Chrysler was 8%, I’m not sure what it is currently at.

  32. (yawns)
    This is America. Greatest country on Earth. There’s nothing to stop you from building your own car company if you don’t like Ford, geez. You guys sound like whining moochers.

    1. Nothing to stop us? The Auto industry may have the highest barriers to entry of any industry. Most of those barriers are regulatory.

    2. There’s nothing to stop you from building your own car company if you don’t like Ford, geez.

      I don’t want a car company. I just want a car.

  33. Your ad link is dead. Here’s the working one:

  34. Mulally – “I think I’m OK where I am.”

    Balls of solid brass and the size of grapefruit.

  35. Wonder why you’re not hearing about the “Chevrolet Volt 400” race? Same reason Ford pulled its bailout ad ……..-volt-400/

  36. Does FORD want a BOYCOTT? Very bad taste. Bad judgement.

  37. That tears it. I will only buy Fords from now on. Well, that’s all I’ve ever bought, but still.

  38. And yet, the protesters occupying Wall Street get Liberal approval, because they praise Obama and blame Wall Street for the bail out.

  39. Transparency!

  40. “Pull the ad or it’s a horse head in the bed for you”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. While Ford did not get a direct bail out, they did indeed benefit to the tune of billions in loan guarantees. Not quite the same thing, but they aren’t ivory white pure either.

  42. If Ford had the guts to run an ad saying “Fuck you, Mr. President. Go read the first amendment”, I would buy a new Mustang.


  43. Thank you so much for this informative post.

  44. Thank you so much for this informative post.

  45. what the hell, what president is this.. go replace him with a robot :-p

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