It's halftime, says a grizzled, raspy voice that's undeniably Clint Eastwood. Both teams are in their locker room, discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half. It's halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they're hurting. And they're all wondering what they're going to do to make a comeback.
Eastwood's voiceover continues, addressing the City of Detroit and the tough times that fell upon its auto industry as the 2008 financial crisis unraveled the global economy.
The Super Bowl halftime commercial, produced by Chrysler, is a rally cry for the Motor City that dispenses with the political divide surrounding the government bailouts of insolvent American automakers.
In December 2008, executives at the Big Three (Chrysler, Ford and General Motors) asked congress for $34 billion dollars to prevent the auto industry's collapse. Congress rejected it amidst strong Republican opposition.
President George W. Bush circumvented Congress, and reallocated $17.4 billion for Chrysler and GM--Ford, the most stable of the three, would receive assistance if its finances continued to deteriorate--from the $700 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), intended for the tailspinning financial sector.
President Barack Obama's administration oversaw the assistance packages, and continued to prop up Chrysler and GM through the Treasury Department's Auto Industry Financing Program. According to ProPublica, $81.4 billion in government loans has been committed through AIFP.
It seems that we've lost our heart at times, says Eastwood, followed by a montage of a faceless pundit spewing vitriol on television, protesters in front of the Capitol, and then an all-encompassing shot of silhouetted Americans at sunset. The fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.
The message from Eastwood and Chrysler is clear: the bailouts were necessary. Today, Chrysler and GM are out of the red and auto sales are generally on the rise.
Detroit's showing us it can be done, and what's true for them is true about all of us, says Eastwood. This country can't be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do, the world's going to hear the roar of our engines.