posted by anthony @ 12:56 PM BST
Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:18 PM BST
Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Alan Mulally is no longer laughing about his suggestion that he saved President Bush's life during a recent White House visit.
The No. 2 U.S. automaker has apologised after Mulally said his claim that he had intervened to prevent U.S. President George W. Bush from plugging an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of an experimental Ford vehicle had been meant as a joke.
On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, "The story wasn't accurate, and I'll just decline to comment further."
Ford said Mulally never expected the story he told journalists in New York last week would be taken seriously.
The CEO found himself in an embarrassing situation when the story was featured on blogs and even in mainstream media such as the Financial Times, which said, "he may have saved the incumbent of the Oval Office from blowing himself up."
Mulally said last Wednesday, recounting a meeting at the White House on March 28, that he had noticed the president appeared to be ready to plug a power cord into the wrong outlet of a rechargeable vehicle that also runs on hydrogen.
"I violated all protocols. I grabbed his arm and I moved him up to the front," Mulally told reporters at the New York auto show.