Boehner meets with Ford CEO amid political wrangling on autos

Ford Motor Co.'s top executive met Tuesday with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) just as Democrats are looking to turn the Obama administration's support for the auto industry into a political chit.

Boehner and Ford CEO Alan Mulally met on Capitol Hill this afternoon, just one of many meetings in Washington set for the chief of one of Detroit's "Big Three" automakers.

The meeting comes just as support for the auto industry is becoming a bigger political issue. Unlike Chrysler and General Motors, Ford was the only one of the U.S. automakers to survive without a federally supervised bailout and subsequent bankruptcy sought by President Obama in 2009.

Obama has led Democrats in taking credit for loans repaid by Chrysler earlier this month. Chrysler was acquired by the Italian automaker Fiat during its organized bankruptcy in 2009. The president has taken strides to promote Chrysler and GM's recoveries, and is positioning to make it a political asset in Midwestern states in his reelection effort.

Boehner's aides were quick to note the distinction between Ford and its competitors in announcing the meeting on Twitter. Virtually all Republicans opposed the bailouts at the time, including a number of current presidential candidates.

Mulally's visit isn't intended to be political, but he's set to speak to reporters later today on Capitol Hill following his series of meetings.

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