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On the skids

It's hard to reconcile this image with the GM defense as reported in today's New York Times:

Today, a top GM executive and the head of the United Auto Workers defended GM's management this morning, saying that the near collapse of the company can't be blamed on chairman and chief executive G. Richard Wagoner, Jr., and that his departure should not be made a condition of federal assistance.

Singling out Wagoner "is like blaming the mayor of a city hit by an earthquake," GM vice chairman Robert A. Lutz said in an interview on business cable network CNBC this morning. Noting the global collapse of demand for new cars and the slowdown in the U.S. and other major economies, Lutz said that calls for Wagoner's resignation was "in the category of some sort of sacrifice to the gods . . . If we punish some of the innocents things will get better."

In a separate interview on the cable channel, UAW president Ron Gettelfinger also came to Wagoner's defense, saying of the industry's immediate crisis, "I don't know how you can blame that on the management . . . I am not sure removing an executive is going to clear up the problem."