The debate continues -- as celebrity debates tend to go on and on these days -- about whether Clint Eastwood's Super Bowl halftime ad for Chrysler was designed in part as a plug for President Obama and his 2012 economic strategy.
Certainly, the ad presented an encouraging picture of the U.S. economy, and the auto industry's growing strength --- features that would favor the White House, which orchestrated the bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors. (GM's own Monday morning quarterback was CFO Daniel Ammann, rather than a celebrity spokesman, making similarly positive comments about earnings prospects and job growth in a remarkable Page One Wall Street Journal interview.)
On the Eastwood debate, some conservative critics are going after him for siding with the Obama administration. Then again, several media outlets make a point of noting how Eastwood himself, a rather steady Republican voter, had opposed auto bailouts -- once in this interview given to a Los Angeles Times reporter last year. It's a wonderful story, by the way, definitely worth a read in light of the Super Bowl ad, and the controversy.
And what did the actor-director himself say about the Super Bowl ad's intent? Oh, yeah; that should be part of the picture, shouldn't it? "l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama," he was quoted as saying in an L.A. Times article this morning. "It was meant to be a message just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK. I am not supporting any politician."
Meanwhile, we should get ready for the varying pictures that will be painted to depict the 2012 economy --- and the American auto industry's role in it --- as November approaches.
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