WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a leading critic of the domestic auto industry's management during congressional debate last year who tried to force UAW pay cuts, now is fighting like a Michigan Democrat to keep a General Motors plant open in his home state.
Over the last few weeks, Corker -- in a news release, in interviews and in a column in the Tennessean newspaper -- has argued that in a fair fight, the GM Spring Hill plant, which makes the popular midsize Chevrolet Traverse SUV, would be a survivor.
Industry experts, though, said it is vulnerable to closure -- because it's farther from suppliers than another plant that could turn out the Traverse.
Corker's concern, he told the Free Press this week, is that decisions on plant closings -- as GM cuts deeper to meet the Obama administration's mandate for more government help -- will be based more on politics than what's best for the company.
Of his home state plant, Corker said, "If the decision is made absent of politics, it has a good chance of staying open."