Talk about a joke gone awry.

Remember how Ford CEO Alan Mulally said the other day that he'd saved President Bush from blowing himself up when the prez was near the Ford HySeries concept vehicle? It was a total lie.

Mulally now says he was just furthering a joke he first heard on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, and the Detroit News (which reported the story in the first place) now has a rundown of how the story/joke spread, thanks in part to our friends at Autoblog.

So, why did this story have such a quick rise to prominence? I think there are two main reasons. First, the News' reporting didn't indicate what it now does, that Mulally told the story "
to roars of laughter." And, since Mulally isn't know for making jokes (I'm sure our readers can think of some, thought, right?), there was no way to think he wasn't serious. Second, there are already a lot misconceptions about the safety of hydrogen. Some people hydrogen=Hindenberg, and stories like this one play on that ignorance. I know there's a third part here, in that many people enjoy seeing the president make a fool of himself, and it kind of sound like Mulally might be one of them.

UPDATE: Speaking of Autoblog, our own Mike Magda wrote on the 4th that Mulally's Bush anecdote was one of the funniest. I guess I - and the rest of us - should have been trusting our own sources instead of the Detroit News.

LATER UPDATE: Speaking of Autoblog yet again, here's their video of Mulally making the joke. Listen for him saying, "I'm gonna pay for that."

[Source: Detroit News]