Chrysler, GM ban presidential campaign events at factories
Photo credit: Reuters
DETROIT -- Wary of getting caught in the political crossfire as the presidential campaign heats up, Chrysler Group and General Motors have banned campaign appearances at their plants.
"This fall, Chrysler will not host campaign events inside its facilities. The company is focused on meeting production demands," a Chrysler spokeswoman said today in an e-mailed statement. She said the company made the decision in the spring.
GM made its decision early this year to decline requests for campaign appearances at GM plants, a spokesman says. The Detroit Free Press reported GM's decision in a story over the weekend.
GM long has tried to limit such events at plants. This year "we took an extra step" and "just said 'no visits by either party,'" the GM spokesman said. "We're a car company, not a political platform."
The federal bailouts of GM and Chrysler have emerged as a campaign issue that likely will intensify as the Nov. 6 election approaches.
President Barack Obama's campaign has touted the bailout, which was initiated under President George W. Bush in 2008, as a success that has saved hundreds of thousands of jobs and helped avert a deeper economic crisis.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney has said he wouldn't have used taxpayer money to ease the automakers through bankruptcy, though he would have supported government guarantees had the companies emerged from bankruptcy on their own.
Last year, Obama visited both Chrysler's Toledo assembly complex and GM's Orion assembly plant in suburban Detroit.
Robert Ferguson, GM's vice president for global public policy, told the Free Press: "It's an understatement to say we can't wait for November to get here."
No free cars to pols
In a separate report today, a Detroit newspaper said GM will end a long tradition of providing cars to the Republican and Democratic party conventions.
James Davis, a Republican National Convention spokesman, told The Detroit News today that there is no official auto provider for this year's convention in Tampa, Fla.
"We are working with a number of entities, including rentals. Additionally, we have hired a fleet of approximately 450 buses to transport people to and from the convention venues," Davis told the newspaper.
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