“This president made decisions that were not very popular at the time that were guided by two important principles,” Carney said. “One, that he should do what he could to ensure that one million jobs would not be lost and, two, that the American automobile industry should be able to thrive globally if the right conditions were created, and that included the kinds of reforms and restructuring that Chrysler and GM undertook in exchange for the assistance from the American taxpayer.”
Eastwood, a fiscal conservative who is more liberal on social issues including gay marriage and environmental protections, has mixed with politics before. The former nonpartisan mayor of Carmel, Calif., who supported GOP presidential contender John McCain in 2008, told the Los Angeles Times last November that he can’t ever recall voting for a Democrat for president but expressed admiration for California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
On Monday, he told Fox News he is “certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama.”
Eastwood’s longtime manager Leonard Hirshan told the AP that any stance Eastwood took on the auto bailout “has nothing to do with the commercial.” He said the actor donated his fee from the commercial to a charity in Monterey, Calif., near where he lives.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing called Chrysler’s ad a bit of positive public relations for a city that rarely pats itself on the back.
“I think the history in Detroit is one that is gritty. People have been down, but they get back up and they don’t quit,” Bing said. “Chrysler, they’ve been down more than once and they have not quit and they’ve come back.”
Analyst Bill Carroll of New York-based Katz Media called the ad effective American and industry boosterism.
“I don’t know that I would consider it political, other than if being pro-American is political, then it’s political,” Carroll said. “If underscoring the fact that the auto industry has made a significant comeback and is bringing back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. is political, then so be it.”
Associated Press writers Mae Anderson in New York, Jim Kuhnhenn in Washington, Lynn Elber in Los Angeles and Tom Krisher, David Runk and Mike Householder in Detroit contributed to this report.