The governors of Alabama, Mississippi and Lousiana today wrote President Obama about the tanker competition, urging him to choose the aircraft that would do the best job and ignore World Trade Organization rulings about illegal subsidies.
Govs. Robert Bentley, Alabama, Haley Barbour, Mississippi, Bobby Jindal, Louisiana, told President Obama they hope the Air Force will "be allowed to make its choice according to its own priorities, free from parochial interest group pressures, and without the distraction of accusations over trade practices."
They shyly note that their citizens "would benefit greatly by a contract award to EADS North America – and we unabashedly hope for such an outcome" but they say their "primary interest is that this long-delayed process come to a swift conclusion so that American workers can get right to work providing a weapons system our military desperately needs."
Then they try to refute the argument put forth by some of their competing governors, who have argued that the Pentagon must take into account the subsidies received by Airbus. "While Governors Gregoire and Brownback cite alleged trade violations by EADS – matters that are far from conclusively determined by the World Trade Organization – we could just as easily cite WTO opinions identifying Boeing as the recipient of massive government subsidies. Such a tit-for-tat process would only further delay delivery of a tanker the Air Force has needed for the past decade."
Now we wait for the official award just after 5 p.m. today.