Transportation Secretary Rebuffs Reporter After Toyota Quip

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he drives American, and suggested that a member of the White House press corps try taking the Ford Escape Hybrid for a test drive.

LaHood stopped to talk to reporters as he arrived at the White House for Wednesday's state dinner honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderon and first lady Margarita Zavala.

The comment came in response to a question from a member of the press who asked LaHood whether he arrived in a Toyota.

In February the transportation secretary told reporters that owners of recalled Toyotas should stop driving their cars. He was forced to backtrack later in the day, telling a congressional panel that he misspoke and meant to say that Toyota owners should take their vehicles to the dealer to have them fixed.

When asked Wednesday evening about his transportation to and from the White House dinner, LaHood didn't miss a beat. "I drive American, domestic-made automobiles. I have a 1998 Buick [here] and a Ford Escape Hybrid in Peoria," LaHood said proudly. He then suggested that the reporter who questioned him try one out.