From Les Blumenthal in our DC bureau:
The morning buzz this week in the nation’s capital revolves around some rather nasty radio advertisements being run by a group called Alabamians for Building America’s Tanker.
Boeing and the Northrop Grumman-EADS team have been snipping at each other for months over the $35 billion contract for Air Force aerial refueling tankers. They seem to run almost daily, full-page newspaper ads touting the virtues of their tankers and smacking each other silly.
But these new ads, running on a D.C. news radio channel, have cranked up the rhetoric at least several notches. The Alabamians say they are tired of taking it and it’s time to fight back. Northrop-EADS promised to build a plant to assemble their Airbus tanker in Mobile, Ala. Groundbreaking for the plant was canceled, however, when government auditors found serious problems with the original contract.
The latest ads take note of Boeing’s involvement in a previous Pentagon procurement scandal involving the tanker contract, a Boeing engineer who was arrested for allegedly trying to sell trade secrets to "Communist" China and how jobs in Mobile are just as American as those in Washington state where Boeing would build its tanker.
“We are Americans, Mobile is part of Alabama and Alabama is part of the United States,” Bryan Lee, one of the founders of the group told The Politico. The Politico reported the group expects to spend $250,000 on the radio ads.
Lee is a Mobile firefighter, and others involved in the nonprofit group who have been identified publicly include a lobbyist for the City of Mobile, a prominent real estate developer and an accountant. No word on who is funding the group.
Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, called the ads “false and misleading” and a “direct attack” on Boeing workers in Washington state.
Here is a transcript of the ads or you can listen here.