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Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, understands the importance of symbolic gestures and public relations. Yesterday, for example, when he arrived on Capitol Hill, hat in hand, hoping to convince lawmakers to help bail out American auto manufacturers, he arrived in a new Ford Fusion Hybrid. Ford's media team, of course, made sure reporters knew about this.
The goal wasn't necessarily to impress members of Congress, who wouldn't see Mulally's arrival; it was for our benefit. Showing up in a hybrid was supposed to convey to all of us that Ford is thinking ahead and taking innovation seriously.
If only Ford's p.r. team had thought about the other leg of the trip. How one gets to the Hill from the hotel isn't quite as interesting as how one gets from home to D.C.: