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An Apology Regarding My Letterman Appearance and a Clarification on U.S. Autoworkers

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I'd like to offer an apology and a clarification to remarks I made recently.

While on the David Letterman program, I joked that I might need a "mail-order bride" to achieve the goal of having more children in my life. I believe that most people understood that this was a joke and took it as such. (A dated reference, no doubt, and another sign of my advancing age.) However, I do apologize to anyone who took offense. The comments of some Philippine government officials come as no surprise to me, either. Even the one by a former action film star-turned-Senator who beckoned me to come to the Philippines so he could "beat" me over my comment.

Such anger and frustration about the issue of sex trafficking is understandable. The Philippines has suffered significant problems with the issue of sex trafficking and I would like to turn your attention to the work of an organization called Love146 that my brother Stephen educated me about. Visit their website at www.love146.org and learn of the important work that is being done, in various regions of the world, by Rob Morris and his co-founders and staff.

I had met with Rob in New York, some months before the Letterman appearance, in the hopes of helping him raise money for this group. Again, I apologize for the perceived insensitivity of that remark and ask you to visit the Love146 site.

The clarification I offer involves my post related to the American auto industry. Nowhere in that post do I state I want U.S. autoworkers to lose jobs. Nowhere in that post do I state I want U.S. autoworkers to cut wages or benefits. Nowhere in that post do I state that I want U.S. autoworkers to lose their pensions. I state, by using the phrase "pull the plug," that taxpayer funds should no longer be made available to bail out U.S. automotive corporations. They should file for bankruptcy, reorganize and emerge as wholly reconfigured entities, perhaps with labor owning significant positions in those companies.

The U.S. government should develop and implement a plan to help refit the U.S. auto industry with the capability of mass producing the new generations of fuel efficient vehicles (using the California standard) that Americans will require in the coming decades.

But giving more money to Detroit means giving more money to GM, Chrysler and Ford, and that is a horrible idea.

U.S. autoworkers are, at least today, casualties of very bad policy by the government and godforsaken management by the Big Three. Sacrifices will need to be made by these workers in order to emerge from this catastrophe. But the demand for well-made trucks of all kinds, military vehicles, emergency vehicles including ambulances and fire trucks, buses and any other product with wheels and an engine will carry on. Americans are good at making those things. Better than anyone. It is the car that you and I drive every day to work or for pleasure that must change. It is changing. Other companies, based in other cultures, faced that before we did. Now it is time to face that here, too.

Two comments that stuck out to me. One is that I should look into a Ford Fusion, which I will do ASAP. If the best hybrid is American-made, I am elated. The other is that I am anti-labor. I find that ridiculous in the extreme. The rank and file of the UAW have three people to blame for this: Big Three brass, Washington chickenshits who let Detroit roll over them, and the UAW leadership itself, which let its members play in traffic, if you will, for decades, until a fleet of better made Japanese cars came down that road and you know the rest.

I would like nothing more than to see every UAW worker find a good paying job in a new, reconfigured auto industry.