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Critics Bash McCain for Buying Toyota Prius

Posted: Sep 15, 2008 10:58 a.m.

Toyota Prius Pictures

Toyota Prius Pictures

John McCain is under fire for buying his daughter a Toyota Prius.

Or perhaps she bought it.  He doesn't seem to be sure.

Automobile Magazine explains, "Normally, owning a Prius would be a political asset, a convenient way to display environmental awareness. Indeed, McCain told The New York Times last year that he bought his daughter a Prius as a way to personally address global warming (although he thought it was called a 'Peer-uss')."  But, "with Michigan considered a key battleground state, McCain is waffling on the Prius purchase."  When a Detroit newscaster asked him why he bought the Japanese car instead of an American hybrid, McCain replied, "Actually, I think she bought it."

Why is the Prius such a political hot potato?  Detroit News columnist David Shepardson explains, "Few vehicles draw the wrath of many Michigan auto workers more than the Toyota Prius."

The Detroit Free Press notes that, "In two newspaper interviews last year, McCain said he bought the Prius for his daughter -- joking at one point that "I ought to know the name of it; I paid for it." 

The United Auto Workers union has jumped on McCain's confusion.  "It's a credibility issue," UAW President Ron Gettelfinger told the Free Press. "It's very insulting to try and skirt something as simple as whether or not you bought a particular vehicle."  The UAW has endorsed McCain's opponent.

A spokesperson for Democratic candidate Barack Obama joined the fray, telling the Detroit News that "McCain has no plan for the auto industry," and adding "that McCain had been dishonest in a Detroit television interview when asked why he bought his daughter a Toyota Prius instead of a U.S.-made hybrid."

Meghan McCain herself seems to like the car.  In a post on her blog she recently wrote, "Climate change is a very important issue to me; in fact, there are few issues other than the war in Iraq I find as relevant. I try to do my part by driving a Prius, recycling, using eco-friendly light bulbs, etc."

Cindy McCain's status as an amateur drift racer apparently doesn't buy her husband much credit with the automotive community. 

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