WASHINGTON (July 2)—A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee refused to confirm or deny a "Washington Post" story that the General Ameri 550 AS radial tire is the tire the committee found to have a tread separation claims rate of 124 per million. "That didn't come from us," the spokesman said. Also, a spokeswoman for Continental Tire North America said the entire issue had become overblown. "We want to emphasize that parts-per-million is only one measure of a tire's quality, and a minor one," she said. "It is really important to emphasize this is not the crucial number everyone should be looking at." Conti "could never confirm that number" regarding claims rates with the committee, the spokeswoman added. "Everyone is looking at that data differently," she said. "They're not comparing apples with apples." In its research, the committee found that 11 tire models Ford Motor Co. is using to replace 13 million Firestone Wilderness AT tires have claims rates higher than Ford's benchmark figure of five per million.