Big Three Opt Out Of Inaugural Festivities

January 20, 2009

For Bush's second term inauguration in 2005, Ford doled out $250,000 to that two-term president's inaugural committee. GM and the now disbanded DaimlerChrysler sponsored toney receptions at posh locales, attended by Supreme Court justices and members of Congress. But this year, on the heels of huge bailouts and access to TARP for GM and Chrysler, participation is all but nil.

Hoping to avoid the kind of reckless spending they were so harshly criticized for in December Congressional hearings, the auto giants have sharply curtailed participation. Execs are staying at home and receptions have been canceled. Said GM spokesman Greg Martin, "under these very difficult economic circumstances, our singular focus is on meeting the terms of the loans."

The one exception is Ford Motor Company, which has gone ahead with plans to participate in a black-tie opening at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. Ford is careful to note, however, that they are only a partner in the exhibit, not a host.

The big event news this year are receptions and balls with a strongly environmental bent, exemplified by the Al Gore-hosted 2009 Green Inaugural Ball. Wal-Mart, the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation and Michigan-based Dow Corning are some of the sponsors of that event.

[source: Detroit News]

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