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July 28, 2008

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David Cole was asked about the two major party Presidential candidates, and he generally replied that McCain was for the most part a middling candidate in terms of favorability to the domestic auto industry, and that Obama was probably a "negative" candidate, with a "rookie's" understanding of the auto industry.

Mr. Cole thought it important to see who is whispering in both candidates' ears on governmental policy relative to the auto industry. In the case of Obama, that list - people who are whispering in his ear - is a frightening one. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Barbara Boxer, both of California. Joan Claybrook of "Public Citizen." And of course the United Auto Workers, who had been all lined up to support Edwards, but ended up with Obama.

With McCain, the person who just might end up being his "Car Whisperer" is the one primary candidate who knew more about the atuo industry and about business consulting than any other candidate this century. Mitt Romney (whose father served as the Chairman of the American Motors Corporation for eight successful years before being elected Governor of Michigan), a potential Vice Presidential candidate, is himself a superbly credentialed business consultant, having been the CEO of Bain & Co, one of the premier consulting firms in North America.

So there are some pretty clear choices among the Presidential candidates for Michigan's auto industry.

I assume that Mr.Anonymous Republican functionary must now be ready to proclaim Senator Obama a foreign policy genius. After all, he actually serves on the foreign relations committee. Since in the anonymous brain Mitt Romney qualifies as an auto expert because he lived here as a little boy (hasn't since 1965)he must see Obama as sort of a Dean Acheson. Your conversion is appreciated.

I listened this morning to the podcast with David Cole and I feel compelled to share.

Before I retired from Detroit Edison, I was in the Internal Audit Organization. At an Institute of Internal Auditors chapter meeting at Ford World HQ, Mr. Cole was the invited speaker. I'll always remember how he got up and immediately put the membership down by referring to them as "bean counters." I thought it was a rude comment and I never forgot it.

I've read Mr. Cole quoted in many articles since then, I've never gotten over my prejudice from that meeting. I found his comments to again be arrogant in your interview. Because I have recently read Senator Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, some of his policy prescriptions are fresh in my mind. Senator Obama clearly has identified the need for a thorough energy policy and the crisis facing our collective future if our children do not receive a good education. Mr. Cole spoke the Republican mantra about offshore drilling and dismissed Mr. Obama as out-of-touch with the what ails the auto industry. I wonder if Mr. Cole has ever read David Halberstam's excellent book, The Reckoning. I suppose he'd dismiss that history as well.

Yes, I have an ax to grind with a rude comment Mr. Cole made years ago, but I feel it revealed a character that I don't trust.

You were gracious with him in your interview. I have always wondered what platitudes have flowed out of The Center for Automotive Studies these many years. He's been at this a long time, but I guess his advice has simply been ignored to find this industry in such dire straits.

Very incisive observations, Mr. Zimmerman.

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