Clint Eastwood, Chrysler, and Detroit: “It’s Halftime in America”

So much interesting political rhetoric in the halftime Super Bowl ad from Chrysler featuring Clint Eastwood’s raspy, authoritative voice, beautiful multicultural imagery, and a hopeful message about the future of Detroit and the American automobile industry (even though Italian-based Fiat has a majority stake in Chrysler).

“But we all pulled together,” Eastwood says after saying that Detroit almost lost everything. “Now Motor City is fighting again.”

It seems to me a pretty strong endorsement of the auto company bailouts in mid-2009 and the critical boost provided by the Cash for Clunkers program. But maybe this is one of those ads that everyone will have a different take on — we’ll see in it whatever symbolism suits our own political and cultural narratives.

Here it is:

There’s a lively discussion at the AJC’s Political Insider.

The Detroit News’ Chrysler draws praise for Clint Eastwood ad touting U.S. turnaround includes:

“It was a showstopper in many ways,” said University of Detroit Mercy marketing professor Michael Bernacchi. “Chrysler was able to do a sequel without doing a sequel. … It was two minutes, it talked about imported from Detroit but it was not exactly a sequel.”

Bernacchi noted a “real connection with humanity” in the ad and liked the fact that Eastwood talked about a “second half” of the country’s economic recovery, comparing it to the aging actor’s long career.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm hailed the ad.

“America is facing the second half. We’re getting up off our knees. Thank you Chrysler. Clint Eastwood. America,” she tweeted.

Chrysler nearly collapsed in late 2008 and was rescued as part of a $12.5 billion bailout. After a bankruptcy restructuring, Chrysler is now 58.5 percent owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA.

Last year’s Chrysler ad featured Eminem:

By the way, there’s little question that American automakers are rebounding. Here’s a graph from Calculated Risk:

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