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Big Three CEOs Line Up For Grilling

Ford, General Motors and Chrysler are back up on Capitol Hill this morning, asking Congress, once again, for $34 billion in government loans.

The Big Three CEOs had only been seated for moments before Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) gave them a boost, saying the request is "modest by comparison" to the $700 billion financial bailout.

The car makers argue that the money is necessary to save America’s auto industry and its 2.5 million jobs. But they won’t have an easy time convincing a highly skeptical Senate Banking Committee this morning. As Politico’s David Rogers smartly pointed  out, the auto makers have no real champion in Congress.

And then there’s their PR problem. Detroit’s auto makers are coming off a horrible performance at their last hearing two weeks ago. The cringe-worthy highlight came when the company CEOs admitted to having taken their private jets to Washington to plead for a bailout.

“Couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled, or something, to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it,” Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, (D-N.Y.)

This time, the auto men arrive in Washington in hybrids like the Chevrolet Malibu. But the question remains: Will they drive away with their billions?

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