Remember that clever little Ford ad that showed an actual buyer being led into a surprise news conference and answering impromptu questions? You know, the one where the buyer says, "I wasn't going to buy another car that was bailed out by the government. 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.”
Ford, you may remember, didn't accept any bailout money. Here's the ad:
Well, the last time you saw it may have been the last time you saw it. What do I mean? According to a report from The Detroit News, the ad has now been pulled by Ford due to pressure from the Obama administration.
Columnist Daniel Howes explains:
[...] 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. 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.
The Hill reports the ad is gone from both TV and YouTube. In fact, the only version we could find is from someone using his phone to record the TV (seen above).
The White House didn't return The Hill's request for comment. Hot Air's Ed Morrissey, however, did offer his thoughts:
[T]he fact that the White House exerted pressure on Ford to cease and desist is a rather ominous example of why we want government to stay out of the business of running auto companies at all. A free market doesn’t stay free when government begins competing in it, and just the mere existence of the ability to use its regulatory power to favor its own operation will distort market behavior in significant and freedom-chilling ways. Knocking an ad critical of government policy off of television and the Internet is simply a more visible symptom of those dangers.
Ford is claiming (via Facebook) that it didn't pull the ad out of pressure but that it stopped running it after four weeks per normal rotation procedure. That still doesn't explain why the ad was pulled from YouTube. However, as Hot Air notes, the ad was re-posted on YouTube last Friday and only has about 300 views.
Michelle Malkin has been corresponding with representatives from Ford and the White House via Twitter. Both have denied any pressure:
Scott Monty is the Ford social media director and writes on Twitter: “We did not pull the ad under pressure.”
I have asked him directly: “Did the White House contact Ford to complain about the ads or not?”
Waiting for a response…
Scott Monty’s response:
My follow-up: “So can you find out and let us know whether WH called to complain or not? It’s germane.”
And: “If you are denying substance of D. Howe’s Detroit News report, are you going to ask paper 4 a retraction?”
Seconds later, White House press flack Dan Pfeiffer tweeted: “Lots of bad info/reporting out there today: Report on POTUS and Troy Davis and Detroit News column saying WH pressured Ford are both false.”
My follow-up: “So did anyone at the White House contact anyone at Ford to complain about the bailout ad or not?”
I think a FOIA request is in order…