But skeptical lawmakers blasted them for flying private jets to Washington and failing to make personal sacrifices in exchange for federal assistance.
"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in a high hat and tuxedo," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from New York.
"Couldn't you have downgraded to first class or something, or jet-pooled or something to get here?" Ackerman asked the executives at a hearing held by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.
Something my boss said about it actually made sense. These executives get paid for running a business, not for testifying in front of Congress. The faster they can get to where they're going and make decisions for the company, the better off they'll be.
Now, from a business point of view, this is sound reasoning; from a public relations point of view, this is a disaster. Duh.
The head of the United Auto Workers union was a little more savvy.
Ron Gettelfinger, head of the United Auto Workers union, also testified at the hearing but flew a commercial flight to Washington.
"I got a plane to catch, you know what I mean," Gettelfinger said to reporters when leaving the hearing room.
Does anyone see the delicious irony that auto executives are getting pilloried for their use of private aircraft? I mean, come on guys, you could at least have showed up in a hybrid Volt, Escape, or Aspen.
A nice Cadillac would have shown some style.