"We don't make those decisions...Chrysler makes those decisions," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The spokesman pushed back today on accusations the administration has been unfairly targeting for closure Chrysler dealerships whose owners contributed to Republicans.
Such reports began surfacing on right leaning blogs earlier this week. The chatter seems to have increased after a lawyer representing a group of Chrysler dealers being closed, told Reuters after the deposition of a senior Chrysler executive, that the company seems to be following orders coming from the White House.
"It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom of terminating 25 percent of its dealers. It really wasn't Chrysler's decision. They are under enormous pressure from the president's automotive task force," said attorney Leonard Bellavia.
The Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry is a cabinet-level group established in February to oversee the restructuring of the flailing auto industry. Gibbs maintained it is not calling the shots.
"The president's task force on autos did not pick individual dealerships," Gibbs said, "It isn't involved in picking what plants may or may not be closed. That's not the job of the president's auto task force. That's the job of the individual car company."
As part of Chrysler's bankruptcy agreement with the Obama administration, Chrysler plans to close about a quarter of its 3,000 dealerships. How they are choosing which ones to close, according to Gibbs, is up to Chrysler.
"They've got to figure out in their newly restructured world, based on the market, what their essential supply chain is. And I think those are the decisions that they made."