Obama: U.S. Auto Execs Are "Tone Deaf"

Last Updated Nov 26, 2008 8:32 AM EST

President-elect Barack Obama told ABC-TV's Barbara Walters that America's CEOs need to get in touch with what's actually going on in the country.

When she asked in an interview about the CEOs of the Big Three U.S. automakers flying to Washington in private, corporate jets to beg for a bailout, Obama responded:

"Well, I thought that maybe they're a little tone deaf to what's happening in American right now. And this has been a chronic problem, not just for the auto industry, I mean, we're sort of focussed on them."

He added:

"When auto makers are getting paid far more than Japanese auto makers are, that tell(s) me that they're not seeing what's going on out there, and one of the things my presidency hopes to usher in is a return to an ethic of responsibility. That if you're placed in a position of power, then you've got responsibilities to your workers.

On whether executives should forego Christmas bonuses:

"I think they should. That's an example of taking responsibility. I think that if you are already worth tens of millions of dollars, and you are having to lay off workers, the least you can do is say, I'm willing to make some sacrifice as well, because I recognize that there are people who are a lot less well off, who are going through some pretty tough times."

Obama seems to hit the point here. Your thoughts?