Chrysler’s Clint Eastwood Ad Becomes a Political Flashpoint

On Fox News this morning, Karl Rove accused the White House of “using our tax dollars to buy political advertising.”

That’s probably an indication of how much Chrysler’s Super Bowl halftime spot, “It’s Halftime in America,” is being viewed as a piece of propaganda, despite the company’s protest. Usually, the knock on campaigns is that they are trying to sell candidates like an automaker would sell cars; now it’s the other way around.

“It has zero political content,” Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne said in a radio interview this morning. “I think we need to be careful, and God knows, I mean I can’t stop anybody from associating themselves with a message, but it was not intended to be any type of political overture on our part. We are as apolitical as you can make us.”

Chrysler ran a patriotic spot featuring Eminem last year that drew attention for the slogan, “Imported from Detroit.”

The White House also denies that they had anything to do with the spot, which boosts one of President Obama’s campaign themes that in bailing out GM and Chrysler he’s helped save a vital manufacturing base. It’s an argument to contract Obama with GOP front runner Mitt Romney, who argued against the federal bailouts.

Even though the Obama administration says that the spot was Chrysler’s and Chrysler’s alone, Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, tweeted, “Saving the America Auto Industry: Something Eminem and Clint Eastwood can agree on.”

Rove, however, said he was “offended” by the spot.

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