Throughout his frenetic jobs tour across the West this week, President Obama tried to seize the narrative. Republicans, he told champagne-sipping Hollywood moguls and tech titans, are intolerant bigots, know-nothings and thugs. They’ve made his hair “grayer” and left him “all dinged up.”
But who’s battering whom? Since Day One, Obama has been the Chicago bully in victim’s clothing. The mask is wearing thin.
On Tuesday, Detroit News reporter Daniel Howes reported that White House officials leaned on Ford Motor Co. to yank a popular TV and Internet ad critical of competitors who took federal bailout money.
According to Howes, “Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House” questioned CEO Alan Mulally. Howes concluded: “You’re not allowed, in Obama’s America, to disparage the auto bailout, or -- indirectly -- Obama. Especially during the election cycle.”
Both Ford and the White House officially deny any political pressure received or applied. But White House press flack Dan Pfeiffer refused to answer when I asked him whether anyone at the White House had ever contacted anyone at Ford to complain about the bailout ad.
Chris McDaniel, the real-life Ford customer who starred in the offending ad, told BigGovernment.com editor Larry O’Connor that he was exasperated when he heard about the Ford fiasco: “Now we have the federal government butting their nose into this TV ad. Another example of them getting involved in things they have no business getting involved in. Where is the free speech of American citizens?”
A left-wing Washington Post writer immediately scoffed at concerns about the administration’s heavy hand because the Ford fiasco “is being denied by the parties on both sides.” Must be nice to mainline White House talking points for a living. For the rest of us, reality intrudes.
This is the administration that pummeled companies such as Deere, Caterpillar, Verizon and AT&T for speaking out about the cost implications and financial burdens of ObamaCare -- and then cheered from the sidelines while Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman attempted to haul the firms up for a congressional witch-hunt inquisition.
This is the administration that has seized Gibson Guitars’ instruments and has threatened whistleblowers who exposed bloody corruption and incompetence behind the Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking racket.
And lest they need a reminder, this is an administration that has clamped down on mainstream media reporters, too:
* The Pleasanton (Calif.) Weekly was bullied by the White House press shop over a benign article that irked the administration because it made Michelle Obama look snooty.
* The San Francisco Chronicle was punished by the White House because a print pool reporter used a cellphone to record video of protesters at an Obama Bay Area fund-raiser.
* A WFAA-TV Texas reporter was dressed down by the president for having the audacity to interrupt.
* The Boston Herald was spanked by the White House for running a front-page op-ed by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The White House denied any pressure in all those cases, too.
Before his campaign finance-grubbing swing ended, Obama met the pop singer Lady Gaga. She lobbied him to combat bullying across America. It was a little like Red Riding Hood lobbying the Big Bad Wolf to promote vegetarianism.
Michelle Malkin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.