Who's telling the truth? Which is the big, fat, liar -- Obama, Owens or ABC?

@ladyluna (7004)
United States
February 13, 2009 7:30am CST
Hello All, While there is an element of comedy here, it is unfortunate that it is comedy of the absurd. Even so, the ramifications of this moment should not be underplayed. This situation raises very troubling concerns. Barack Obama put Jim Owens, the CEO of Caterpillar, Inc., in a very precarious position. Basically, Obama publicly declared (twice in as many days) that Owens said that if Congress passed Obama's boondoggle spending plan, that Caterpillar would "... be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off,". When the media asked Owens to confirm Obama's public declaration, Owens indicated the exact opposite -- that in reality more lay-offs would come before any re-hiring. Finally, was ABC News mocking Obama or Owens when they wrote the following? " "D'oh! Caterpillar CEO Contradicts President on Whether Stimulus Will Allow Him to Re-Hire Laid Off Workers" http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/02/doh-caterpillar.html Below is the chronology of who said what: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=6854530 http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=6866995&page=1 http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/02/doh-caterpillar.html __________________________________________________________________________________ [b]Have you chosen sides yet? Well, below, is what was actually said: [/b]"Also present was company chief executive Jim Owens. He has promised to rehire some of the laid off workers once the stimulus plan goes into affect and money starts pouring into projects to build roads, bridges, and other infrastructure."It pains all of us greatly to have any lay offs," he said. "And we hope the time comes very soon when we can get our facilities fully utilized and all our employees back to work. "http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-02-12-voa64.cfm?rss=politics "Obama was introduced by laid-off Caterpillar worker Dan Armstrong and Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens, who said he hoped to be able to bring back Armstrong and other laid-off workers eventually.... “It’s not going to create 22,000 jobs — I can tell you that right now,” said 31-year Caterpillar veteran Darrell Corbin. “But I hope it will be able to bring some of ‘em back.” http://www.ask.com/bar?q=owens+and+obama&page=1&qsrc=2417&zoom=%3CKW%3EObama%3C%2FKW%3E+for+President%7CIs+Barack+%3CKW%3EObama%3C%2FKW%3E+Muslim%7CBarack+%3CKW%3EObama%3C%2FKW%3E%27s+Religion&ab=0&u=http%3A%2F%2Ffreedomeden.blogspot.com%2F2009%2F02%2Fcaterpillar-ceo-owens-and-obama-and.html obama.wsj.com/article/01kU5wv9Yv9zL?q=Ray+LaHood ___________________________________________________________________________________ [b]My questions to you are: 1. What are your thoughts about this mess? 2. Is an apology owed here? If so, who owes who the apology? 3. Does Obama have 'selective hearing', or did Owens, Armstrong, and all those individual journalists get it wrong? 4. Did Obama 'use' Owens in an effort to appear as though Obama had the support of corporate America? 5. Was it appropriate for Obama to have put Owens' head on the proverbial 'chopping block' by fostering false hopes among the laid off Caterpillar workers? 6. What do you think you would have done if Obama put your head on the proverbial 'chopping block' in an effort to gain support for one of his initiatives? [/b]
3 people like this
8 responses
@deejean06 (1953)
• United States
13 Feb 09
I don't think the money will be so readily available to Caterpillar that the company will be able to hire back all the workers immediately. I think that was misleading of the President to say and he put the CEO, Owens in a tight spot. I think it was a publicity stunt on the part of the President and that Owens was backed into a corner. It probably got people very excited to hear that they will be employed again, and soon. But government programs work slowly and I'm sure Owens, a businessman, knows that.
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
13 Feb 09
Hello Deejean06, Welcome to MyLot. I hope that you thoroughly enjoy your time here. Line by line, I 100% agree with your points!
1 person likes this
@deejean06 (1953)
• United States
13 Feb 09
I've been on for a week or so now and you're the first person to welcome me! Thank you very much. It's nice to have people to "chat" with who have similar thoughts about this country and where it's headed. I was beginning to feel very lonely in New York.
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
13 Feb 09
Oh, poor Deejean06! Are you an Upstater or a Downstater? F.Y.I. I was an Upstater for many years. It's not nearly as lonely Upstate as it is down south. By the way, you're among very good company here in MyLot!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Feb 09
Selective hearing? Obama? Come now, Lady, how could he do such a thing? Obama and staff clearly LIED in posting this on their site! There is no reason Jim Owens -- or ANY CEO -- would put himself into the position of promising some 20000 workers would come back to work, when they know the bad publicity that will follow if they are not able to keep that promise, and knowing they have no real control over the bill, what it contains, how it will look in its final form, etc. Obama, on the other hand, has much to gain by "allowing misconceptions". Just like the way the Democrats in Congress keep telling people that the Republicans want to leave us high and dry with absolutely no stimulus -- totally untrue, but it is a lie that gets them sympathy among voters and makes the Republicans look like they don't care. It's really the opposite: the Republicans, with the exception of 3 whose Republican credentials have always been suspect, are the only ones trying to look out for us, the people. There are a few Democrats who also believe this bill is a disaster (I've heard them speak), but since it seems they are not willing to vote NO and stand by their beliefs, I have to say they are not caring about us. Well, so much for our not having to worry about our mortgages, or car payments, as the young woman on youtube said. The Republicans are the ones TRYING to put the money in OUR pockets, and the Dems are the ones, as always, saying that WE cannot be trusted with it, and so they have to collect and distribute and control it. It's coming soon, I fear. We'll all have to choose to take a stand or give in and let them take over what's left of our lives and our freedoms.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 09
Forgot some of your questions. Here is a sad example of what the Pres was hoping to accomplish -- and did, apparently: http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/1905250.aspx#2_18938134 Was it appropriate to use Jim Owens in this way? Absolutely not. And it could backfire on him because if he did something like this to me, I would absolutely call press conferences, and talk to anyone who would listen, explaining what really happened, and I would NOT mince words in an effort to be polite to the President -- the gloves came off when the President pulled them off.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
13 Feb 09
Hello Dogshrink, You're absolutely correct -- no CEO worth a lick of salt would put him or her self into a position of inciting the ire of the consumer! Only a politician who thinks himself made of Teflon would make such a lame-brained move. I wonder if anyone is taking bets on how long it will be before We The People turn against him? I didn't see the Youtube video of the woman accusing the GOP of trying to put our own money into our own pockets. How incendiary, eh ? Do you have a link, or remember Youtube keywords? To your last point about the gloves coming off -- yup, I agree. I'd also suggest that Obama had best get accustomed to receiving more unflattering, direct, private sector confrontation than perhaps any other president in our history. It would seem that he doesn't understand that respect must be earned. Ya' have to offer it in order to receive it! I have little doubt that you would tell it like it is! That, of course, is the reason why you have my respect!
• United States
14 Feb 09
Lady Luna, thanks -- the respect is mutual. Sorry if I was confusing -- I was referring to the woman in a You Tube video during the election campaigns, who was at an Obama rally and, with tears streaming down her face, said to a reporter, "I won't have to worry about my mortgage anymore, I won't have to worry putting gas in my car payments..." (if Obama were elected) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P36x8rTb3jI&NR=1 Then separately, I was saying the Republicans are the ONLY ones trying to put the money into our pockets, rather than the lies the Dems are saying (that the Republicans are against this AND ANY stimulus). And the Dems have been clear that they believe we are the ones who cannot be trusted with the money, so THEY have to "manage" it.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Feb 09
Obama is trying to put the best face possible on this plan. He can say that as soon as it passes people will get their jobs back. Those layed off employees will not be at Obama's door the minute it passes to get their jobs back. they will be at Jim Ownes. So it is Mr. Owens best interest to clarify things so he does not have a lot of ticked off people on his door step. I do think Obama gave Mr. Owen the shaft. He is going to have to be dealing with people saying "But the president said I would get my job back now". He will look like the bad guy explaining to them that it will only be after the plan kicks in and only some of them....not all will get their jobs back. Basically Obama lied by not telling the whole truth of what this plan will and won't do and when. Basic politican.
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
13 Feb 09
Exactly, Lilwonders!!! The unemployed won't hold 'Daddy Taxbucks' accountable, they'll hold Jim Owens and Caterpillar, Inc. accountable. These same people may well hold this against Caterpillar long after Obama is a distant memory. So, Obama's irresponsible actions now may affect Caterpillar for many, many years to come. (Caution Fictional account to follow) I can see it now -- '2020, the president of Acme Construction Company approves a multi-million dollar contract to Komatsu instead of Caterpillar because the Acme ceo remembers how Caterpillar screwed the little guy in 2009' Grrrr! Hmmmm, including Owens, how many people has Obama thrown under the bus now?
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Feb 09
I lost count a long time ago. There have been too many. I think you are right. All people will remember is that Obama said they would get their jobs back...but the plant did not hire them back. It will turn into the company's fault and not Obama's. Obama is the one who made promises he knew would not be kept. I hope I am wrong and people remember who really lied to them.
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
13 Feb 09
I hope so too, Lilwonders!
1 person likes this
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
13 Feb 09
First of all Mr Owens did the right thing and I think that more CEO's Should stand up to the politicians. The article in the Wall Street Journal is a good example when they pointed out that Wall Street not paying bonuses was costing the state of New York 1 Billion dollars in lost tax revenue. Another example of pointing out the Stupdity of the politicians was during the hearing with the major investment houses on wall street and one congressman asked what they were doing to help people who were nearing forclosure. of the 10 men 8 answered that they did not deal in home mortgages and the other two told of programs that had in place and have had for years. I wish that Exxon had stood up when being questioned about their record profits and asked the congressmen if they were willing to turn in the record tax they received from the oil company. He should have explained that the more money Exxon makes the more the government collects in taxes and the more people they hire. We have been taught that making money is wrong and that we should help each other out - spread the wealth. I would like to ask the politicians how much they donate to help the poor?
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
13 Feb 09
Hello Bobmnu, Great points. Oh, and I agree that Owens having spoken out was absolutely the right thing to do.
1 person likes this
@MntlWard (880)
• United States
13 Feb 09
President Obama didn't say Caterpillar would start rehiring immediately, and Owens didn't say he would never rehire those workers. It seems more a contradiction in what was understood from the two statements than a contradiction in what was actually said. But anyway, let's analyze how the stimulus bill could allow Caterpillar to rehire workers. A lot of the stimulus is going to rebuild infrastructure, which probably involves heavy equipment. Some of that equipment will quite likely be bought from Caterpillar, which will hopefully increase their sales enough to justify increasing their work force. But not immediately.
1 person likes this
@MntlWard (880)
• United States
15 Feb 09
You posted the statements verbatim, and Obama did not use the word "immediately."
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
16 Feb 09
Hello MntlWard, Would you please point out in my post where I indicated that Obama used the word "immediately"?
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
13 Feb 09
1... The 0bamunist is an idiot. 2... Yes.... The 0bamunist. 3... No... he lives in an alternate universe where he thinks all the references to him being a messiah are true... and all he has to do is speak and the waters will part. 4... For the most part the 0bamubnist does have the support of Corporate America... most people don't realize that contrary to popular belief a lot of big money businesses are owned by rich liberals. 5... In my view... no. However, the 0bamunist is a Socialist, and therefore pro-union. Caterpillar is unionized which already pits the workers against management. Ever the laid off workers know that the economy will not recover right away, and they should know that any recovery would have to be well underway before they got called back. I don't think that there were any false hopes, although I do think that the 0bamunist made a cheap attempt at creating a further rift between the unions and management, as well as schmoozing up to the unions that helped get his sorry unqualified @ss elected. 6... I would have denounced him... loudly and at length... pointing out his many flaws and holding him pout to public ridicule.... which he is well on his way to anyway.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
14 Feb 09
Hello Destiny, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Poignant, as always. "... speak and the waters will part." So, are you intimating that we should hold out hope that an attempt to walk on water will soon follow?
• United States
14 Feb 09
Well, I am sure hoping for that... and the deeper the better. Really rough seas would be a nice touch as well.
1 person likes this
@eaforeman6 (8983)
• United States
13 Feb 09
I think that first off, its a part of trying to get a false front of encouragement to the people. Things are really horrible. You can paint doo-doo, white but its still doo-doo. Its showman ship, and its a shame. I dont think he should have said anything because its way too early in a situation tha is far to grave to predict anything. I wouldnt have wanted it done to me and I dont think its fair. If they cannot rehire these people then it makes them look bad and it raises false hope for the many that may not get their jobs back ever. I also believe that we will be lucky to have food at the rate its going and that he should be worried about Food production and food banks. They are trying to put a band- aid on a dam, and you can tell the world , this bandaid will work.....but a person with reason, expects the water.....
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
13 Feb 09
Hello Eaforeman6, You raise an interesting point; a president's public statements DO help to shape public opinion. This is the reason why president's tend to downplay negative circumstances. Yet, Obama has been spewing "worst economy since the great depression" for months now. Is it possible that this was a 'fib' that he uttered in the hopes of re-igniting HOPE? If so, his judgement on timing leaves much to be desired. I agree that it was unfair of Obama -- not just to Owens, but to the laid-off Caterpillar employees as well. Your point about food should not be underestimated!!! People would do well to start emulating the Ant as opposed to the Grasshopper. "Band-aid on a dam..." INDEED! Great points!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Feb 09
First, and foremost, people need to remember 0bama is a lawyer. Lawyers, by definition, are all about the precise meanings of words and phrases. This is what they do. Therefore, not for an instant should anyone believe 0bama did not understand the Caterpillar CEO was talking about only hiring people back AFTER THE STIMULUS PLAN STARTED TO WORK and create jobs, not after the STIMULUS PLAN WAS PASSED. If I had been the CEO, I'd pretty much done the same as he. Try to correct the record while still being diplomatic about it.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
13 Feb 09
Hello Red, You make two excellent points. The first being Obama's reverence for words, and the second being Owen's need to tread lightly. I'm sure that Caterpillar doesn't want to end up like GM under the FDR administration did -- blackballed (justly or unjustly???) for saying and doing what the administration did not wish to hear or see.
1 person likes this