Says President Barack Obama broke his promise to keep a Wisconsin GM plant from closing.
If the hometown of Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has had an icon during his lifetime, it was a sprawling General Motors auto assembly plant.For decades, the Janesville, Wis., plant gave thousands of people a comfortable living. In 1970, the year Ryan was born, it employed 7,000.Ryan stirred memories of the factory on Aug. 16, 2012, attacking President Barack Obama during a campaign speech in Ohio.
“I remember President Obama visiting it when he was first running, saying he’ll keep that plant open. One more broken promise,” Ryan said.
He made the same point Aug. 29 during his speech to the Republican National Convention in Tampa:
“My home state voted for President Obama,” he said. “When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.
“A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”
Did Obama make such a promise as a candidate and break it after becoming president?
Actually, the plant closed before he even took office.
In 1918, General Motors bought a farm implement manufacturing plant in Janesville, a city of 60,000 near the Illinois border. Production of Chevrolets began there in 1923. Employment peaked at 7,100 in 1978, but a series of five layoffs occurred over the next 30 years.
By December 2008, when President George W. Bush authorized nearly $14 billion in loans to General Motors and Chrysler, both of which were near financial collapse, GM had already warned it might close the Janesville plant because of sagging sport-utility vehicle sales. The plant was effectively shut down on Dec. 23, 2008, when GM ceased production of SUVs there and laid off 1,200 workers. (Several dozen workers stayed on another four months to finish an order of small- to medium-duty trucks for Isuzu Motors.)
So, the plant closed while Bush was still in office, about a month before Obama was inaugurated.
We asked Kevin Seifert, spokesman for Ryan’s U.S. House campaign, for evidence that Obama promised to keep the Janesville plant open and failed. (Ryan will be on the November 2012 ballot both for his House seat and as Mitt Romney’s running mate.)
Seifert cited this portion of a February 2008 campaign speech then-Sen. Obama gave at the Janesville plant:
“And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years. The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it’s where it will thrive. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your president.”
That’s a statement of belief that, with government help, the Janesville plant could remain open — but not a promise to keep it open.
Seifert also referred us to Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the Romney-Ryan campaign. Buck cited a Detroit News article on the same speech, saying the article made clear that “it was the takeaway from the event that (Obama) was pledging to keep the plant open if he got his bailout.”
That might have been Buck’s interpretation. But the article reported that Obama, who later provided an $80 billion auto bailout, had pledged to help keep the Janesville plant and others like it “viable.” That’s not quite the same thing as pledging keep the Janesville plant open. We find nothing in the article that he explicitly promised to keep it open.
Ryan said Obama broke his promise to keep a Wisconsin GM plant from closing. But we don’t see evidence he explicitly made such a promise — and more importantly, the Janesville plant shut down before he took office.
We rate Ryan’s statement False.
Ryan’s statements by ruling
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R.-Wis., is chairman of the House Budget Committee. He has represented southern Wisconsin in Congress since being elected in 1998. In August 2012, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney named Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate.
>by Kimberley Johnson |August 30, 2012 |
He wants to ban all abortion, dismantle Medicare and Social Security, de-fund family planning clinics including Planned Parenthood and he voted against equal pay for equal work.
This is a dangerous man and if the Romney/Ryan ticket wins this election, women will be set back decades. No more freedoms and you can take it to the bank that they won’t stop until we are wearing burqas and literally chained to the stove. Please watch this video and share with every woman you know.
Twenty million did not vote in the 2008 election. Let’s change those numbers in 2012.
Kimberley A. Johnson is the author of The Virgin Diaries and The Spokeswoman for Rock The Slut Vote, an organization standing up and fighting the war on women. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and “like” the Rock The Slut Vote Facebook page
After Ryan’s dishonest performance, the objective press falters, and the right-wing machine begins its push-back
Paul Ryan’s speech last night was so shamelessly dishonest that it seemed designed not just to stir up the crowd in the arena but also to give media fact-checkers aneurysms. There’s really no other reason for Ryan to have made the closure of the GM plant such a prominent part of his address. That wasn’t just a misleading interpretation of events, it was straight-up dishonesty.
It was an attempt to break the mainstream political press. CNN is constitutionally unable to say “that was a load of tendentious bullshit.” Wolf Blitzer, who isn’t paying attention to the speeches and wouldn’t understand them even if he was, sort of figured out (probably because a producer in his ear told him) that the speech had some whoppers but more important to him was that the man on the stage said things that the people in the crowd seemed to enjoy so it was a Good Speech. “His mom is up there,” Wolf Blitzer said. He noticed that part. Paul Ryan has a mom.
Every actual non-idiot reporter present made note of how shameless the entire thing was, but only some feel comfortable saying so. Jim Rutenberg’s New York Times write-up of the speech is the driest and straightest report possible. The AP, which is a bit more tenacious than it used to be, went with “factual shortcuts.”
Ryan’s GM plant story was the most blatant outright lie. The Simpson-Bowles bit — where Ryan blamed Obama for not acting on the debt reduction plan Ryan himself torpedoed — was more a lie of omission, but it was perhaps the one that led the Beltway press to finally note how much this asshole lies. In politics, you can lie about a lot of things with the implicit permission of the political press. You can go around the nation repeating racial dog-whistles about welfare and barely raise an eyebrow. But you do not lie about Simpson-Bowles. Simpson-Bowles is sacred to these people.
That’s why the Washington Post editorial board found themselves sadly forced to sorta call Ryan a liar.
Mr. Ryan has been an intellectual leader of his party on fiscal issues, and Mr. Romney’s decision to add him to the Republican ticket represented an opportunity to focus the debate on this urgent matter, “before,” as Mr. Ryan said Wednesday, “the math and the momentum overwhelm us all.” Mr. Ryan skewered the president in his speech for creating and then walking away from a bipartisan debt commission that, he said, “came back with an urgent report.” We’ve expressed similar frustrations, but omitted from Mr. Ryan’s self-serving rendition was the uncomfortable fact that Mr. Ryan served on that very commission but was unwilling to follow the brave lead of the Republican senators on the panel who supported its “urgent” recommendations. Will the Romney-Ryan ticket endorse them now?
They wanted to love Ryan so, so much. You can just feel it. (Even Chuck Todd was outraged!)
The right-wing response to the Ryan-is-a-liar coverage has been basically glee that the liberal media is ganging up on their guy. Among the conservative writers and pundits tasked with coming up with plausible-sounding arguments in favor of indefensible statements and actions, there is a lot of straining. Forbes’ Avik Roy (“Disclosure: I am an outside adviser to the Romney campaign on health care issues”) says all the liberals (and Weigel) are wrong, and Ryan was totally honest. (On “Obama’s fiscal record,” anyway. Not on the GM plant thing.)
Roy’s rebuttal relies mostly on the “well technically he worded this in a weaselly enough fashion that you could argue that he didn’t explicitly lie” argument. Ryan repeatedly trashed Obama for making Medicare cuts that Ryan also supported — but his actual point was that Obama is spending the money he stole from Medicare on undeserving other people. (” However, there is a huge difference between cutting Medicare by $716 billion to fund $1.9 trillion in new health spending, as Obamacare did, and cutting Medicare by $716 billion to shore up the solvency of the Medicare program itself, as the Ryan budget sought to do.”)
Roy’s defense is the Simpson-Bowles thing is entirely meaningless and can’t even be parsed. Yes, Ryan voted against it (and didn’t mention that fact) but after he voted against it he released his own deficit reduction plan, which won him 10,000 deficit points, so he wins.
Jim Geraghty heroically defends the GM plant story. His defense mainly relies on the fact that it’s a very politically effective line:
And that’s the biggest problem for the Obama campaign with this entire debate and all of their arguments about precisely when the GM plant stopped making cars. Most voters will tune out the back-and-forth charges until the bottom line: “The plant in Janesville is still closed.”
That’s all true! The voters tune out the “back-and-forth charges” (lies, rebuttals, lies about the rebuttals) and the end result is you can get away with saying anything. And that’s why everyone in America hates democracy.
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If you’ve noticed, larger corporations and their Conservative, Lobbyist, Hench men are spending copious amounts of money to buy this election. These special interest groups are willing to spend over a billion dollars to buy this election, to oust the president and replace him with a controllable puppet. You have to ask yourself why that is. Why are so many outside groups spending all this money in this election? You know this, you’re informed and people who are in the know don’t vote Republican. But, the reasons are: governmental agencies are putting the squash to their illegal practices, trying to reverse outsourcing of jobs, taxation and what I call; causing “ Life Changing Events ” in their lives. Incredibly, these people, groups are greedy and they, literal don’t care how these practices are affecting people at the bottom of their food chain. Not to mention, there’s this President, a minority at the top of the spectrum and that can’t be in their eyes. He can’t be the one causing their “Life Changing Events” and they can’t have that! This explanation is plain and simple; however, I think you get the message.
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