Obama's Auto Task Force Owns Foreign Cars, Will Media Care?

February 23rd, 2009 10:17 AM

Imagine for a moment John McCain was President, and few of the people on the task force he created to repair the crumbling auto industry owned American cars. 

Would that be a public relations nightmare?

Well, an article published Monday by the Detroit News revealed that most of Barack Obama's newly announced Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry don't patronize the companies they've been appointed to rescue: 

The vehicles owned by the Obama administration's auto team could reflect one reason why Detroit's Big Three automakers are in trouble: The list includes few new American cars.

Among the eight members named Friday to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and the 10 senior policy aides who will assist them in their work, two own American models. Add the Treasury Department's special adviser to the task force and the total jumps to three.

The Detroit News reviewed public records to discover what many of the task force and staff members drove, but information was not available on all of the officials, and records for some states were not complete.

At least two task force members don't own a car, and there are still two open slots on the 10-member panel that will be filled by the secretaries of labor and commerce, who have not yet been appointed.

The co-chairs of the task force -- Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers -- both own foreign automobiles.

Geithner owns a 2008 Acura TSX, registered in New York. He once owned a 1999 Honda Accord and a 2002 Acura MDX, according to public records.

Is this a bit of a public relations problem for the Adminstration and something that media would be criticizing if a Republican was in the White House?