August 30th, 2012
06:25 PM ET
2 years ago

Ryan doesn't back down on controversial comments from speech

(CNN) – Despite facing heated criticism over some comments from his convention speech, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan stood by his remarks Thursday.

On CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," Ryan said he would not revise his statements linking President Obama to the closure of a General Motors plant in Wisconsin, even though the decision to shutter the factory occurred before Obama took office.

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker, catch the latest updates from the GOP convention on CNN's 2012 Conventions Live Blog, and check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator to game out your own strategy for November.

"It's still idle," Ryan said. "The point is this is a story of the Obama economy. A man running for president in 2008 making all these grand promises and then none of them occurring."

During his speech Wednesday night, Ryan told a story about then-presidential candidate Obama sharing with auto workers his hope that government could help keep their plant open. In his speech, Ryan quoted Obama as saying "if our government is there to support you ... this plant will be here for another hundred years."

Ryan added: "That plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day."

The plant was shut down just over a year later, but the decision to do so occurred in June 2008, prior to Obama winning election to the White House. It officially closed its doors in April 2009, a few months into Obama's first term.

According to a CNN Fact Check, Ryan's statement was true–in the sense that the factory closed down while Obama was president, but his speech was incomplete.

The CNN report states: "To fairly evaluate Obama's statement, at least two pieces of context – missing from Ryan's account – would be useful: First, that Obama wasn't telling this plant that he'd save it from a pending closure. He wasn't addressing a plant that he knew to be closing, because the closure announcement didn't come until four months after his speech. Second, although the plant's last bit of production stopped early in Obama's presidency and the plant remains closed, the closure was planned before Obama became president."

But Ryan on Thursday did not walk back his comments.

"He got elected. He put his policies in place and the plant is still shut down," Ryan said on CNN. "These are empty promises that become broken promises, and that's the story of the Obama economy."

The House Budget chairman also stood by another jab he made Wednesday, blaming Obama for "doing nothing" over last year's debt deal fiasco.

"He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing," Ryan, who served on that panel, said in his convention speech.

According to a CNN Fact Check, Ryan was misleading over the so-called Bowles-Simpson plan–the deficit reduction proposal that became the end product of the presidential debt commission. However, the proposal failed to gain enough votes from the group's 18 members to pass. Ryan, himself, even voted against the plan.

The CNN Fact Check states: "Obama didn't sign onto the Bowles-Simpson recommendations wholeheartedly, but he did take some of their suggestions to Congress in 2011. And Ryan ignores his own role in the failure of the Bowles-Simpson panel."

Pressed about it further Thursday, Ryan emphasized the budget plan he put forward, arguing that he at least took action beyond the commission, whereas the president did not.

"We took the best ideas from Bowles-Simpson and added other ideas and passed it. President Obama did none of that. President Obama said 'I don't like this plan' and offered nothing in return," Ryan said.

Asked about the last-minute debt ceiling deal reached between Congress and the White House last summer–one for which House Speaker John Boehner engaged in multiple negotiations with Obama–Ryan said it wasn't enough.

"It was a small or medium-sized deal, and cutting a back room deal that gives you liability is not leadership," Ryan said. "Submitting a budget to Congress that fixes a problem is leadership, and we haven't seen it from President Obama."

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Debt • Deficit • Paul Ryan • Republican National Convention • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Ken from CA

    I guess telling the truth is not a priority in this campaign.

    August 30, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. Chaerlotte

    Paul Pants-on-fire Ryan – not backing down even though he knows he was wrong. Sticking by it doesn't make it any more true than when you said it in the first place. I'm so sick of these vile rightwads. If they wanted something to happen, they should have worked with the President AND with the other side of the aisle. This churlish and puerile "my way or the highway" they've engaged in should earn them jail time and a reposession of every dime they've been paid to do the People's business. But they don't seem to think they are supposed to do the People's business. They think that their only job is to get back into power, and f * * * the American people.

    August 30, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Chaerlotte

    Paul Pants-on-fire Ryan – not backing down even though he knows he was wrong. Sticking by it doesn't make it any more true than when you said it in the first place. I'm so sick of these vile rightwads. If they wanted something to happen, they should have worked with the President AND with the other side of the aisle. This churlish and puerile "my way or the highway" they've engaged in should earn them jail time and a reposession of every dime they've been paid to do the People's business. But they don't seem to think they are supposed to do the People's business. They think that their only job is to get back into power, and to the devil with the American people and their needs.

    August 30, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Well isn’t that special.

    What a load of ****! Can't these guys ever tell the truth?

    August 30, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. Art

    Not surprising. It's a reoccurring political twist on the old cliche "it's my lie and I'm sticking to it". Happens all the time no matter what political party or country.

    August 30, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. p

    That guy is full of hooey!

    August 30, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Lisa P

    I guess the really good liars know that you can't just admit it's a lie the next day. None of them would ever get anywhere - and certainly not Congress - if they did that!

    August 30, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Colorado Voter

    From timeline in story-> June 2008: GM announces that the Janesville plant will stop production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009, and stop production of large SUVs such as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and the GMC Yukon in 2010 or sooner, depending on market demand.

    Obama after the GM announcement to the plant workers-> "I know that General Motors received some bad news yesterday, and I know how hard your governor has fought to keep jobs in this plant. But I also know how much progress you've made - how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you're churning out," Obama said. "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."

    Why would Obama say these words AFTER the GM announcement if not to make these workers think that he would save THIS plant. He didn't say "other plants like this". He said THIS plant. That sounds like a promise to me. Or maybe just another little white lie like the rest of his campaign.

    August 30, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Republican voting for Obama

    this is total crap. I'm sticking with Obama.

    August 30, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  10. Orchid333

    What? The Republicans are telling only half-truths to make themselves look better or the opposition look worse? Say it aint so!
    Whatever. All the GOP convention does is lie and rile up the base of idiots that believe every word they say. I say the same of the Democratic convention. What a bunch of nonsense. They shouldn't even televise this crap.

    August 30, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. CBR

    If you read about his career in Washington you would realize that Paul Ryan will never admit he could be mistaken. That is part of his appeal for Conservatives.

    The Governor of Wisconsin would not admit that the GM plant closed in 2008 before Mr. Obama was even nominated. The auto industry did rebound but not all plants were opened. It would seem that the leaders in the state would have found another use for the plant. They have the benefit of some very fine universities with faculty and students who could help. It is indeed sad but it is not something that occurred under this President.

    August 30, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. Pander Bear

    Is this guy insane? He blamed Obama for something that happened before he took office. And he blames him for not following the advice of a debt commission that Ryan did everything to derail and voted NO against it's own recommendations. He's a complete and total liar. No wonder the GOTea adores him.

    August 30, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. PMDU

    They will always lie just to get their objective. They lied so they can go to war in Iraq, which cost 5,000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, tens of thousands of disabled American soldiers, a Trillion dollars, just to get rid of Sadam, a one time ally of the U.S. to fight against Iran. Now, the Shiite dominated Iraqi government is an ally of the Shiite Iran.

    August 30, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. Frank

    If by "telling the truth" you mean the numerous so-called "fact checkers" that merely heaped spin, red-herring, false innuendo, and different context onto the context of Ryan's remarks, then I agree.

    August 30, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  15. Hillcrester

    Romney and Ryan will lie with impunity because their base diesn't care and they think most votersmwill hear only the lie and not the rebuttals. These men are unfit to serve and must be stopped.

    August 30, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Hillcrester

    Romney and Ryan will lie with impunity because their base diesn't care and they think most votersmwill hear only the lie and not the rebuttals. These men are unfit to serve and must be stopped at all costs.

    August 30, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. Colorado Voter

    And if you all want to talk about really GOOD liars, lets see how some of your Dem bussies have don lately. What about Harry Ried and his statement that Mitt hasn't paid taxes in the last 20 years. How about Obama saying in his last campaign that he would cutthe deficit in half. Oops, maybe he meant he would increase it by half. Now he is saying he will trim $4T from the deficit. Yeah. Lets see, when was the last time this congress actually passed a budget (not a Continuing Resolution)?

    August 30, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  18. kayla

    if he's lying now, what others lies will they if they should win? how childish

    August 30, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. Tony

    Ryan said in a TV interview last week that "the method of conception does not change the definition of life" when he was asked whether a woman should be able to get a abortion if she is raped. Ryan should be forced to defend that statement.

    August 30, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. Frank

    Obama has been an utter disaster for the US, and made a bab situation worse by doubling the public debt during his term in office. What do we have to show for it? Underwater mortgages and 45 million (and counting) on foodstamps, "It's all Bush's fault" and "I Inherited this mess" from the Sophist Tyrannt-in-Chief doesn't cut it anymore.

    August 30, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. the Situation

    This guy is digusting. He doesn't want to take blame that he and those fools in the Repubs congress voted for everything that Bush and Cheney wanted and caused that same plant to shut down. Ryan is a lying tool!

    August 30, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  22. Colorado Voter

    And if you all want to talk about really GOOD liars, lets see how some of your Dem buddies have done lately. What about Harry Ried and his statement that Mitt hasn't paid taxes in the last 20 years. I don't remember what his poof was. How about Obama saying in his last campaign that he would cutthe deficit in half. Oops, maybe he meant he would increase it by half. Now he is saying he will trim $4T from the deficit. Yeah. Lets see, when was the last time this congress actually passed a budget (not a Continuing Resolution)? How about them calling Mitt a felon for lying to the SEC on when he left Bain. If that were true, why has it totally disappeared? These guys just put it out there like it is true and then sometimes recant the statement on the down low.

    August 30, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. nintex

    No wonder Romney can't tell the truth – his religion has this thing called "Lying for the Lord." Google it! He was raised that it's OK to lie if it will make things more palatable to those you're lying to. He's sure doing that in the campaign! It is disturbing, to say the least. Very disturbing.

    August 30, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  24. Ethan

    That just makes me sick. How hard is it to admit your wrong? That is one of my biggest issues with republicans. They seem to think that being wrong equals weakness (democrats do it too, I know). My biggest problem with Romney's campaign is that he seems to be ignoring one of the fundamental rules of economics. DO NOT SCREW WITH THE MARKET, ESPECIALLY DURING OR NEAR THE END OF A RECESSION. The laws of supply and demand do not lie, you screw with the market, you are going to get whip lash!! The president, to his credit, has not done very much in regards of screwing with the market, which is what he has been doing...

    August 30, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. Amanda

    I can't stand this guy. I would NEVER vote for him or romney

    August 30, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
1 2 3 4