“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.

“Clint Eastwood made Obama’s day”

The Clint Eastwood television ad during the Super Bowl last night about Detroit and Chrysler and the U.S. automotive industry’s strong comeback has created quite a stir, both in the ad world and in election politics.

The two-minute long ad, “Halftime in America” is very similar to the Chrysler ad with Eminem during last year’s Super Bowl.

It is also similar to the classic TV ad from 1984, “Morning in America”, about Ronald Reagan.

Republican strategist Karl Rove is upset while liberal bloggers are delighted and claim that “Eastwood made Obama’s day”.

Is “Halftime in America” political advertising? Can it be seen as endorsing President Obama and, indirectly, his actions that saved Detroit’s car industry?

Obama and his name are never mentioned in ”Halftime in America”, and Eastwood, a republican or rather a libertarian, is not talking, at least not yet.

Myself, I’m not sure. Calling it an endorsement for Obama is probably reading too much into it. But take a look and judge for yourselves!