Bloomberg BusinessWeek is reporting that newly minted General Motors CEO Mary Barra, the first woman ever to captain an American automaker, will attend tonight’s speech as a guest of Michelle Obama’s:
Mary Barra, who took the reins as General Motors Co. chief executive officer less than two weeks ago, will attend tonight’s State of the Union address as a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama, the White House said.
Barra, the first female CEO of a global automaker, will join the first lady for President Barack Obama’s nationally televised address that’s scheduled to begin at about 9 p.m. in Washington, according to a White House news release.
In a brash exercise of tone deafness, the White House announced Barra’s attendance at the President’s annual address to Congress in a blog post yesterday. General Motors, majority owned by the United State Treasury until December 2013 after filing for bankruptcy in 2009, lost almost $11 billion in taxpayer money as the result of mismanagement after receiving a federal bailout spanning two presidential administrations.
Is this really the economic policy example the President wants to highlight during his address tonight? Why not showcase the Healthcare.gov development team, too?
Barra’s predecessor at General Motors, Dan Akerson, said at a National Press Club event last December that, not only did GM lose that money, the company shouldn’t pay back taxpayers lest it subject itself to shareholder lawsuits:
Asked whether GM should pay the difference between the amount the government provided the company and the return from the sale of the shares, Akerson said the “die was cast” by Treasury when it decided to take shares. For GM to make up for any shortfall could result in lawsuits from other shareholders.
Mary Barra, by contrast, is constantly surrounded by handlers, and she doesn’t really give up much in terms of interviews.
Two large bodyguards and public relations handlers fended off the [media] throng that chased her to the Cadillac exhibit, where she did a television interview. During the pursuit, one cameraman tripped over a couch and another ran into a post…. Reporters who chase Barra aren’t getting much of anything out of her. Barra’s answers are carefully scripted. That’s a stark contrast with the man she replaces. Dan Akerson was known for blunt, off-the-cuff comments about his company and his competitors.
Will she open up for the Washington press corps tonight? Or will she and the First Lady reinforce the image that neither GM nor the Obama administration care about real transparency, that both love their propaganda too much to be troubled by little people?
Also of interest, Mary Barra gave $1,000 to Michigan Congressman Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on 9/26/2013.
Then, on December 10, 2013, Congressman Gary Peters congratulated Mary Barra on his Facebook page for her appointment to CEO.
State of the Union guests used to be ordinary Americans with a real heroes’ tales. Now they’re millionaire CEOs of bailed out companies, as long as they donate to Democrats. One wonders if Barra donated to Organizing for Action, too. OFA is a 501(c)(4) and is not legally required to disclose its donors.