March 31, 2009 at 11:52 am

Auto troubles send Granholm on media blitz

She's on 10 national TV news shows to discuss GM's woes

Gov. Jennifer Granholm speaks to job training providers Monday in Clinton Township. She spent most of the day on news shows. (David Guralnick / The Detroit News)

Lansing -- President Barack Obama's message to automakers Monday was a grim one for the industry, but it made a media mega-star out of Gov. Jennifer Granholm for a day.

Michigan's chief executive appeared on 10 national news shows to talk about the president's tough stance on the auto companies.

She started with NBC's "Today" show in the morning and culminating with Charles Gibson on ABC's "World News Tonight" in the evening. She turned down many other requests, aides said.

It was the busiest day ever on the news show circuit for Granholm, who has popped up on national media regularly in recent months, as chief executive of the downtrodden autos state.

"I think it is safe to say that it is the busiest," said Megan Brown, a spokeswoman for the governor. One day in November, when Granholm was named to Obama's economic transition team, she did five interviews, including CNN's "Larry King Live," Brown said.

Granholm did morning interviews from WKAR-TV studios in East Lansing and afternoon appearances at a private production studio in Detroit. Her appearances included interviews on three Detroit newscasts.

She commented early in the day that ousted General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Wagoner was a "sacrificial lamb" in the automakers' bid for continued federal help. But she toned that rhetoric down later, as reporters tried to portray her as being at odds with the president -- and leader of her party.

"I understand the desire to have a fresh start," Granholm told TV interviewers in late afternoon.

"Rick Wagoner would be first to say this really isn't about him, it's about the industry ... making sure we have a viable industry going forward."

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