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Ford's Mulally: We haven't even thought about buying political ads yet

In an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters that ended moments ago, Ford chief executive Alan Mulally said that his company has no plans yet to buy campaign ads, following last week's Supreme Court decision clearing the way for corporations to do so.

"We haven't thought our way through what this means to us," Mulally said. Ford, like other corporations, is now able to exercise its constitutional right to free political speech -- cleared by the court's decision -- to buy and place ads backing or opposing political candidates.

Speaking of politics and influence, Mulally did say that his testimony on Capitol Hill last year actually helped the company. (After he got over the congressional and public flogging that came after he flew in a private plane to Washington.) How so? Mulally's testimony on the Hill -- during which he said Ford was the only one of the Big Three automakers not to want a federal bailout -- "drove traffic to Ford's Web sites," he said.

On other topics, Mulally said his final analysis on the government's controversial cash-for-clunkers subsidy was positive, though he would not favor a second such program.

He disputed that the cash-for-clunkers program did more than simply pull demand forward, as critics charged, here in the U.S. In Europe, where the program ran for about a year, that criticism is fair, he said.

On the topic of competing against two U.S. automakers that have been propped up by the government -- GM and Chrysler -- and one auto-finance company -- GMAC, now a bank -- Mulally said, "It's not clear to us that we're being disadvantaged in the marketplace by GMAC."

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By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2010; 4:36 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alan Mulally, Chrysler, Ford, GM, GMAC, Washington Post  
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