McCain makes oopsie remark about OKC's Sonic in speech

Republican presidential candidate John McCain may have put a foot-long where his mouth is " make that a foot-long from Sonic.

Actually, according to a recent story in the Philadelphia Bulletin, which was following a Des Moines, Iowa, speech by McCain, the candidate used the Oklahoma fast-food corporation as an example of the economic hit the country is about to take.

"Sonic Corporation, a drive-in restaurant chain based in Oklahoma, learned on Thursday that one of its lenders, GE Capital, had stopped extending new loans to the chain's franchisees," McCain said, according to the paper's Oct. 1 report. "That will block plans to rebuild restaurants, add equipment and open new locations. When small businesses like Sonic franchisees can't borrow, contractors don't get the remodeling work, equipment-makers lose sales, and restaurants go out of business. It hurts the entire community."

Well, not exactly, according to the company. Sonic issued a statement taking some umbrage at the candidate's statement, saying they are doing just fine, thank you very much. Please pass the tater tots.

"Unfortunately, that story is inaccurate," Sonic spokeswoman Nancy Love Robertson was quoted as saying, according to a story on the McClatchy-Tribune newswire.

A company release further explained the situation.

"Sonic Corp. today responded to remarks in the press yesterday concerning the company's franchisees, who were used to illustrate the problems of a tightening credit market," the company's Oct. 1 release stated. "As the company pointed out last week in clarifying a national news story about GE Capital, Sonic has not been informed of any cutback in franchisee financing and continues to have other financing sources beyond GE Capital, which represents less than 10 percent of the lending to Sonic franchisees. Sonic's franchisees, in fact, ordinarily rely on multiple lending sources for their capital needs."

So, was McCain right "¦ or wrong about Sonic's situation? The company maintains the franchise's future is as bright and sparkling as a cherry limeade.

"Sonic concurs that the current state of the economy is challenging and could become more challenging in the future. Nevertheless, Sonic and its franchisees, who comprise some of the most successful small businesses in America, are positioned for future growth and increased development."

Which goes to show that you can put lipstick on a pig, but if you pour chili and cheese on it, it's a coney.

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