This article appeared in the May 21, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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How ‘car guy’ Biden captured Lightning

Evan Vucci/AP
President Joe Biden stops to talk to the media as he drives a Ford F-150 Lightning truck at Ford Dearborn Development Center on May 18, 2021, in Dearborn, Michigan.
Linda Feldmann
Washington Bureau Chief

President Joe Biden is a car guy. You can hear it in his voice when he talks about (and then drives) his beloved 1967 Corvette Stingray, as he did on “Jay Leno’s Garage” in 2016. And he said as much Tuesday, when he visited the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. 

The president’s visit was meant to highlight a cornerstone of his economic agenda: investing in innovation and infrastructure while creating jobs and combating climate change. It was also a pretty good plug for Ford Motor Co., which just unveiled the F-150 Lightning – the electric version of its iconic pickup truck.

But a second agenda seemed clear, when President Biden made a request: “I want to drive this truck.” Soon, he was on the test track, wearing Ray-Bans, behind the wheel of a prototype Lightning. Ford CEO Jim Farley told him to “mash the throttle,” and he did.

“This sucker’s quick,” Mr. Biden said moments later. 

Presidents almost never get to drive, for security reasons. So Tuesday was a rare opportunity. It was also a chance for Mr. Biden to be, well, a little macho and show some vigor. Images of President Ronald Reagan riding horseback and clearing brush on his ranch spring to mind. 

Mr. Biden doesn’t have a big ranch where he can go drive around – as President Lyndon Johnson did in Texas – but for this “car guy” president, flying to Motor City and capturing Lightning may have been the next best thing. 

This article appeared in the May 21, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/21 edition
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