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Alabamians take shots at Boeing

Post by News Tribune Staff on July 31, 2008 at 11:10 am with No Comments »
July 31, 2008 11:10 am

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.

1 – American Jobs 60

MAN: Boeing deserves the Air Force Refueling Tanker project because it’s an American company employing American workers.

ANNCR: And Alabama where a better tanker would be built isn’t in America?

MAN: You know what I mean, no sense creating new jobs in Alabama when we can do the work up in Washington State.

ANNCR: So 2500 new jobs in Alabama wouldn’t help our national economy?

MAN: You can’t build planes in Alabama.

ANNCR: Your company trusts Alabama workers to build high tech weapons, rockets and space vehicles.

MAN: But our Boeing planes are ready now.

ANNCR: Ready now? You mean the ones you promised Italy four years ago? Are those ready yet?

MAN: Hey, we’re Boeing.

ANNCR: And the Alabama plane is newer, with better technology.

MAN: Hey, we’re Boeing.

ANNCR: And the Alabama plane can carry more fuel, more passengers and more supplies.

MAN: Hey, we’re Boeing.

ANNCR: Is that all you can say?

MAN: What else can I say? Clearly Alabama has a better tanker.

ANNCR: Paid for by Alabamians to Build American Tankers

Ad 2 – Summary 30

EFCT: Sound of jet engine whining along coming in several times during the ad

ANNCR: It seems like every time we hear about Boeing and military contracts we hear about cheating. The reason we are still trying to replace our aging refueling tankers is because Boeing executives were involved in a scandal of bribery and cheating in the last bid. Our Air Force is working hard to protect our country but it appears that Boeing’s corporate policy is “if Boeing can’t win no one can”…and that means our troops lose.

EFCT: Engine sputtering

ANNCR: May day may day

ANNCR: Paid for by Alabamians to Build American Tankers

Ad 3 – Spies Like Us

ANNCR: Boeing says America’s in danger if Alabamians build refueling tankers for our troops. Boeing claims military technology will wind up overseas. Boeing’s one to talk. Last February their engineer was arrested for sending trade secrets to Communist China. And, in June, the FBI caught a Boeing scientist with top secret defense information on his personal laptop. No telling where those secrets were going.

ANNCR: At lease we can keep a secret in Alabama. Paid for by Alabamians to Build American Tankers.

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