Amid the controversy over Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime In America” Super Bowl commercial, a glaring question remains: if Chrysler is back on top and so strong, then why hasn’t it repaid taxpayers the $1.3 billion it still owes them?
“I was, frankly, offended by it,” said Republican strategist Karl Rove. “I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.”
Already, Democrats have begun co-opting the “It’s Halftime In America” meme, and President Barack Obama’s campaign team has already signaled that “saving” Detroit and the American auto industry will be a central campaign theme in Mr. Obama’s 2012 reelection bid. Indeed, in June 2011, Mr. Obama proudly declared:
Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency–and it repaid that money six years ahead of schedule. And this week, we reached a deal to sell our remaining stake. That means Chrysler will be 100 percent in private hands.
We take no view on whether the administration’s efforts on behalf of the automobile industry were a good or bad thing; that’s a matter for the editorial pages and eventually the historians. But we are interested in the facts the president cited to make his case.
What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.
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