Obama-named GM chief touted 'working for' China

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

With a new poll showing growing American anger with the auto bailout, a conservative group is readying a new ad to air in presidential election battleground states that quotes the Obama appointed head of General Motors crowing about building cars in overseas and working "for China."

"Our commitment to working in China, with China, for China remains strong," said GM boss Dan Akerson in a 2011 visit to Shanghai. During that speech he also blurted out, "Seven out of ten of our vehicles were made outside the United States."

Let Freedom Ring, a group working to oust the president, is using the video from Akerson's address at the Shanghai Auto Show to ask if stimulus money was used to prop up GM's overseas operations. It will begin running in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin Tuesday as part of a $7 million anti-Obama campaign.

"Was this a GM America bailout or a GM China bailout?" asks the ad, provided in advance to Secrets. "President Obama, your GM CEO is bragging about working for China? With our taxpayer dollars you gave him? Not working for us?"

GM spokesman Greg Martin told Secrets that the quotes from Akerson lack the context that GM is a worldwide company that has been doing business in China for 20 years and was the top-selling car in China for seven years. What's more, he said, GM sells more cars in China than in the United States. Domestically, he added, GM has invested $8.1 billion in the United States since 2009, expanded plants and hired 18,000 workers.

Addressing the China attack, Martin said, "You build where you sell."

He also said no stimulus money was used in China, though without the stimulus the company wouldn't be building anywhere. "If we didn't get it, we wouldn't be building cars anywhere," said Martin.

Rasmussen Reports just released a poll that said 55 percent of Americans are still angry with the auto bailout and prefer Fords over GM because Ford did not take any bailout money.