Update: Clint Eastwood responds to Rove’s comments (below).
Let’s all be grateful that the new M&M and that slingshot Doritos baby had no possible political motives, because if they had, Karl Rove might have had something to say about it. During a segment with Fox News, the network’s current contributor and the former Deputy Chief of Staff said he was “offended” by Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” commercial which featured a pro-Detroit revival sentiment and a gravelly, rousing Clint Eastwood telling viewers, “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch, we get right back up again.” (Come on Rove, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.)
“I was, frankly, offended by it,” Rove stated about the ad that suggests that America’s “second half is about to begin,” adding, “I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising and the best-wishes of the management which is benefited by getting a bunch of our money that they’ll never pay back.” Watch the clip of Rove explain his issue with the ad (“The auto companies feel the need to do something to repay their political patrons”) here:
Now you can watch the “offensive” ad in question here:
Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne insists that the argument from Rove and others that the commercial had a pro-Obama reelection theme simply was not the case. DetroitNews.com reports that Marchionne told Detroit radio station WJR, “It has zero political content. It was not intended to be any type of political overture on our part. We are as apolitical as you can make us… I wasn’t expressing a view and certainly nobody inside Chrysler was attempting to influence decisions.” The article also takes note that Rove (who told Fox regarding the spot, “This is a sign of what happens when you have the government getting in bed with big business like the auto companies”) opted to not bring up the Bush administration’s $17.4 billion bailout of auto companies, including Chrysler, back in 2008.
In an upcoming interview with Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Eastwood responds to Rove’s accusations. “l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama,” Eastwood said. “It was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.” Eastwood’s comments will be aired on O’Reilly’s show tonight.
Perhaps even more interestingly, Rove and Eastwood might have more in common on their thoughts on the topic than he’d think. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times back in November, the Oscar-winning director, who seems to have no concrete political affiliation (the LAT described him as an economic conservative and a social issue liberal) said, “We shouldn’t be bailing out the banks and car companies. If a CEO can’t figure out how to make his company profitable, then he shouldn’t be the CEO.” Moreover, Eastwood was a John McCain supporter back in 2008.
Still, wouldn’t it be even more interesting to hear what Walt Kowalski would have to say about all this? Any guesses on Rove’s favorite Eastwood flick? Did you get a political vibe from the Chrysler commercial or are critics like Rove thinking too far into this? Share in the comments section below, PopWatchers.