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Republicans See Politics in Chrysler Super Bowl Ad
The New York Times | February 07, 2012 | 10:20 AM EST

The most talked-about advertisement of the Super Bowldid not have a barely clothed supermodel, a cute puppy or a smart-aleck baby. It was a cinematic two-minute commercial featuring Clint Eastwood, an icon of American brawn, likening Chrysler’s comeback to the country’s own economic revival.

And within 12 hours of running, it became one of the loudest flashpoints yet in the early re-election campaign of President Obama , providing a reminder, as if one were needed, that in today’s polarized political climate even a tradition as routine as a football championship can be thrust into a partisan light.

Some conservative critics saw the ad as political payback and accused the automaker of handing the president a prime-time megaphone in front of one of the largest television audiences of the year.

Karl Rove, the Republican strategist who served as President George W. Bush’s top political adviser, said Chrysler was trying to settle a debt to the Obama administration for rescuing Detroit carmakers with billions of dollars in loans.

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