May 19th, 2009
07:33 PM ET

Obama drives a Ford hybrid - Sort of

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Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON - It turns out President Obama puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to fuel efficient automobiles.

At a Rose Garden event announcing a major deal that creates a new national fuel efficiency standard on Tuesday, the President decided to note what he is in the driveway back in the Windy City.

"By the way, I just want to mention, I think I still have my Ford parked in Chicago," the President said to laughter from the crowd, which included the chiefs of competing auto companies like General Motors, Chrysler and Toyota. "It's a Ford hybrid, it runs great, you guys should take a look."

Though he quickly covered his bases by adding: "But there are also some outstanding hybrids - and energy-independent cars represented up here, so I didn't want to just advertise one."

The President's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, also advertised at his daily briefing Tuesday that he too drives a Ford Escape hybrid.

But unlike Gibbs, who drives his Ford to work, Obama of course doesn't get a chance to get behind the wheel anymore. "The Secret Service doesn't let him drive anymore, which I know he misses," Gibbs noted earlier this year.A smart political move to simultaneously tout the White House's ties to hybrids and American vehicles. Needless to say, Ford CEO Alan Mulally loves the high-level endorsements.

"We've been taking action to restructure ourselves for a number of years and we also have been investing more in our products, so right now, many people say we have the best family of vehicles," a beaming Mulally told CNN in an interview at the White House.

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