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GM ads called a distortion 'slightly'

May 11, 2010 at 3:35 PM

CHICAGO, May 11 (UPI) -- Former White House automobile industry adviser Steve Rattner said a General Motors Co. advertisement was "slightly" a distortion of the facts.

Before a speech in Chicago praising the government's efforts to revive the automobile industry, Rattner said GM "may have slightly elasticized the reality of things," in an ad in which GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre Jr. says the company had repaid the taxpayer funded bailouts it received, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

GM has repaid $6.7 billion in loans, but the government still owns 61 percent of the company, representing an investment of $43 billion.

"On balance, it is probably going as expected and better than we feared. (GM is) hitting or exceeding all the milestones," said Rattner, referring to GM's progress since falling into bankruptcy last summer.

In spite of the ads, which provoked complaints from conservative groups, Rattner called Whitacre a "hero."

"Thank God we have him," he said.

Rattner said taxpayers would probably not see $10 billion of the $50 billion the government invested in GM.

"For about $10 billion, we avoided economic and human calamities," he said.

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