“Halftime in America” — about cars or politics?

Was Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler ad, “Halftime in America” — seen by around 111 million viewers during the Super Bowl last Sunday – just about cars or also about politics?

The discussion goes on.

The 2,300 Chrysler dealers got to see the ad just before the Super Bowl and greeted it with tears of joy and thunderous applause at their annual dealers meeting, according to a great piece by James B. Stewart in today’s New York Times called “When Cars Meet Politics, a Clash.”

Stewart also writes that the dealers were “incensed” by Republican political strategist Karl Rove’s recent remarks. Rove said he was “offended” by the ad and saw it as a thank you to president Obama for bailing Chrysler out. But Rove neglected to say, that the 80 billion dollar loan to Chrysler and General Motors came from both the George W. Bush and the Obama administrations. And, as it happened, President Bush, Rove’s old boss, addressed the Chrysler dealers on the same day as Rove’s remarks.

Writes Stewart:

“I’d do it again,” the former president said of his decision to bail out the auto industry. “I didn’t want there to be 21 percent unemployment.”

The dealers were so angry of Rove that they issued a rare, joint statement saying that “we have no doubt that this ad had no political agenda of any kind but rather a statement of fact and hope for the future for all of us and America.”

Politics or not, and I don’t think it is about politics, it’s a great ad. But the discussion about the ad has now become all politics.


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