ATC Blog

D.C. Wheels: Cars of the Washington Power Brokers

Fred Thompson Chevy TruckRemember Scott Brown, who rode his ‘05 GMC Canyon pickup to the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy? He wasn’t the only politician identified by his choice of wheels, nor the only one who choice was a truck.

Former Senator Fred Thompson, a lobbyist and an actor best known for his role in TV’s Law & Order, and a spokesman for a reverse mortgage company, had a red Chevy pickup in his bid for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee in 1994. As it was later revealed, Thompson didn’t actually own the truck; His campaign leased it instead of using Thompson’s Lincoln.

In January, the ‘09 Ford F-150 King Ranch 4×4 SuperCrew pickup used by former President George W. Bush at his Crawford, Texas ranch was sold for $300,000 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. He donated it to benefit Fisher House Foundation, a charity that serves U.S. military families. “I haven’t driven on a street in many, many years, but I have been able to drive this truck on my ranch,” Bush said.

Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-NY) 1972 Mercedes-Benz wasn’t famous until, in a bizarre incident, he had it towed out of a House of Representatives parking garage. The vehicle, which didn’t run and had its registration expire, had been covered with a tarp, but the House prohibits storage of inoperable vehicles.

In “The Real Romney”, former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was said to own a number of cars. At Bain Capital, he drove a Chevy Caprice Classic despite his sons, who wanted him to buy a luxury car. When he did, Mitt chose a BMW coupe. The Romneys also own a BMW convertible, and when he ran for governor, Romney’s consultants made sure their BMWs remained out of sight. These days, Romney mentions driving a Ford Mustang.

According to the WSJ.com, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) indicated that he has a 2008 Audi A6. Following his unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, Santorum became CEO of EchoLight Studios, to make family-valued movies.

Former Texas Congressman and physician Ron Paul drives a ’96 Buick Le Sabre, as pedestrian a ride as there is. No one under 50 drives a Buick in this country, but ironically, the Chinese are buying new Buicks as a status symbol. Ron Paul’s first set of wheels was a Nash Rambler, which was among the first to tout MPG.

Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, wheels about in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, according to a website for a Dallas Mercedes-Benz dealer. Mr. Gingrich’s isn’t an ordinary Mercedes: his is an AMG 65, a $210,000 sedan with a 612 HP bi-turbo engine handcrafted by Mercedes’ performance division.

For those who want to know what Barack Obama drove prior to becoming President, he owned a Chrysler 300C. Made in Detroit.

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