Which Embattled CEO Was Michelle Obama’s Guest for the State of the Union This Year?

by Jim Geraghty

From the Wednesday Morning Jolt:

Guess Which Embattled CEO Was Invited to the State of the Union This Year?

From this year’s State of the Union Address: “Our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That’s what drew our forebears here. It’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest automaker.” That line referred to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, invited by Michelle Obama to the address and sitting near the First Lady.

Barra, top right; Michelle Obama, bottom left.

The news Tuesday:

General Motors chief executive Mary T. Barra on Tuesday deflected a barrage of questions on Capitol Hill about the automaker’s failure to fix a deadly ignition-switch flaw, telling lawmakers that she was unaware of the decade-old problem until early this year.

How early? Before or after she was the First Lady’s guest of the State of the Union?

While she repeatedly apologized for a defect that GM has blamed for the deaths of at least 13 motorists, Barra also repeatedly ducked lawmakers’ sometimes testy queries, saying she is awaiting the results of an internal investigation.

At one point in the hearing, Barra admitted she had not read all the documents submitted by GM to the committee. As Reuters television put it, “many times the head of GM pleaded ignorance to the details behind several GM recalls.”

Finally, “Barra, however, stopped short of promising to reveal the company’s entire internal report, instead saying she would release what GM considered ‘appropriate.’”