A second day of hearings on emergency aid for the Big Three turned into a bit of a public relations nightmare as lawmakers in both parties slapped around automaker executives over their call for $25 billion in assistance.
The execs from Ford, General Motors and Chrysler didn't win any friends when lawmakers got wind of a story that said the chieftains had flown into DC on their corporate jets, and then headed to Capitol Hill with a tin cup.
"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo," said Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY.)
"It kind of makes you suspicious."
Republicans also lectured the Big Three, with one lawmaker calling the execs "arrogant."
"I'm going to ask the three executives to raise their hand if they flew here commercial," said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California.)
"Let the record show no hands went up," Sherman said.
"I don't know how I go back to my constituents and say that Detroit has changed," he added.
While Democrats were more likely to say supportive things about the auto companies, they were also just as outraged to see the Big Three asking for money.
"My fear is that you will take this money and make the same stupid decisions you've been making for the last 25 years," said Rep. Michael Capuano of Massachusetts, who accused the execs of running companies that don't listen to the consuming public.
"Give us the cars that we want," Capuano thundered.
What does all this tell me? It pretty much follows what I figured that lawmakers were hearing back home.
The voters were already pissed off with the Wall Street bailout. They are furious over stories about AIG having huge parties and getting manicures and pedicures after being bailed out by Uncle Sam.
And the folks back home are not interested in bailing out the Big Three, especially those people who already hated the kind of vehicles that Detroit has been producing.
It also tells me that the Big Three execs have been in a bubble for too long. They fought so hard against efforts in Congress to toughen fuel mileage standards that they never understood the anger they provoked.
And now they are paying for all those years of fighting the Congress - especially Democrats - because they don't have too many allies in the House and Senate anymore.
You can click here to listen to one of my stories about the auto hearing.
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