It begins: White House to "consult" GM on choosing new board of directors

The Obama administration will play a key role in reshaping General Motors’ board of directors over the next six months, potentially giving it even greater control in the management of the storied American manufacturer…

The president said Monday that “the United States government has no interest in running GM.” But in practice it is already exerting tremendous influence over it, a situation that has triggered fierce debate over how much power the government should wield over the companies that it aids…

But the coordination with the government affects what appear to be smaller matters as well.

For example, yesterday GM announced a new “Total Confidence” program for consumers that offers a warranty, an OnStar traveler’s assistance system and a promise to pick up as much as $500 a month of car payments for buyers who lose their jobs.

“The government is aware of it, completely supports it,” Mark LaNeve, head of GM’s U.S. field marketing, said yesterday in announcing the program.