Ford Motor Company decided to pull a television advertisement critical of the auto industry bailout following a call from the White House, The Detroit News is reporting. But the automaker moved quickly to deny the story Tuesday, posting to Facebook that the ad has simply been phased out of rotation as scheduled.
Daniel Howes, a conservative columnist for the News, said that the company decided to pull the ad after a call from the White House.
But Howes did not say that the administration had asked specifically for the ad to be pulled and quoted an industry source that said that the automaker was not pressured. Ford flatly denied the report.
"For those asking, the ad ran as part of a planned rotation and continues to run online. It contains the unscripted comments of a Ford owner. We supported emergency government support for our competitors and continue to support the decisions we made," Ford said in the statement.
In the ad, a man is asked why "buying American" was important to him when choosing a Ford pickup.
“I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government. I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose or draw," he responds. "That’s what America is about, taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that company for me.”
Ford was the only company out of Detroit's "Big Three" not to accept bailout dollars from the federal government. But Ford CEO Alan Mulally has publicly supported the assistance to rivals General Motors and Chrysler in the past. Those companies' renewed success has been one of the cornerstones of the Obama administration's defense of its economic recovery efforts.
Rival automakers had criticized the spot as stretching the truth, as Ford had requested a $14 billion line in low-interest government credit.
This article was updated at 3:00 pm.