Ryan renews defense of GM plant claim
September 4th, 2012
09:12 AM ET
2 years ago

Ryan renews defense of GM plant claim

(CNN) - Paul Ryan continued defending his speech at the Republican National Convention Tuesday, saying the link he made between President Barack Obama and a closed auto plant in Wisconsin was accurate and reflected a record of failed promises from the Democratic incumbent.

"What they are trying to suggest is that I said Barack Obama was responsible for the plant that shut down in Janesville. That's not what I was saying. Read the speech," Ryan said on NBC. He made similar comments last week on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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Ryan continued Tuesday, "What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for broken promises. After the plant was shut down he said he would lead efforts to restart the plant. It's still idle."

During his speech Wednesday night, Ryan relayed a story about then-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."

In his remarks at the plant in February 2008, Obama was discussing a transition to producing vehicles powered by alternative energy. He said, "I know how much progress you've made – how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you're churning out. 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."

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

Ryan said Tuesday that while Obama may not have had a hand in closing the auto plant, he was to blame for not re-opening it.

"The promise was he was going to open the plant," Ryan said. "The promise was he was going to lead an effort to retool the plant so people would be open and go back to work for 100 years. The point is he filled people with hope traveling around the country running for president making grandiose promises which are not true."

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Ryan defended Mitt Romney's decision not to mention Afghanistan in his convention speech, saying the Republican nominee had already addressed the issue in remarks to the American Legion the day before his address.

"I think you have to remember the day before that speech Mitt Romney went to the American Legion and gave a lengthy speech on the topic. He was invited, did a lengthy speech the day before," Ryan said.

In that speech, Romney briefly mentioned Afghanistan and paid tribute to troops serving there, but used the majority of his remarks to blast Obama's foreign policy record, which he characterized as weak.

Ryan said on CBS that the Republican ticket agreed with Obama's deadline to bring troops home from Afghanistan by 2014, but said there was disagreement with the president on the wisdom of withdrawal timetables.

"We do agree with the timeline," Ryan said. "Where we have some differences of opinions are political timetables for troop size. We feel that our commanders in the theater ought to have the resources they need, especially throughout the fighting season, to make sure that the counterinsurgency of operations are done with the amount of troops that are needed to see the job through as safely as possible. But we do agree with the 2014 timeline."

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan • President Obama
soundoff (323 Responses)
  1. nuntukamen

    Yes, he was. Paul Ryan is a groveling, yellow-bellied coward afraid to fight or wear a uniform liar. Just like Mitt Romney. You don't read a speech, you listen to it. Is Obama like these cowards? No. he has proven himself by taking down Bin laden, Al Queda, and placing us as close to winning the Middle East wars the GOP stuck us in for sheer greedy profit as could be accomplished.

    September 4, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. Bayley0402

    Why do we continue to listen to this guy?

    September 4, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Facts don't LIE

    one thing about "Lying Ryan" if he has a good thing going even if it's totally untrue he sticks with it....except of course his one about his running time he HAD to change that one. Mitt picked the right partner...one who can look not only you but the camera in the eye and not even blink while telling a falsehood.

    September 4, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. nuntukamen

    Yes, he was. Paul Ryan is a groveling, yellow-bellied fool afraid to fight or wear a uniform liar. Just like Mitt Romney. You don't read a speech, you listen to it. Is Obama like these cowards? No. he has proven himself by taking down Bin laden, Al Queda, and placing us as close to winning the Middle East wars the GOP stuck us in for sheer greedy profit as could be accomplished.

    September 4, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. Mario

    Mitt Romney is on vacation and his Ryan is out campaigning. That shows how much Mitt cares about America

    September 4, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Will

    When you have to start explaining your comments, your in trouble.

    September 4, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. A not-so-stupid former republican

    This just goes to prove that a republican candidate for office must be a certified liar! Would you trust a liar? I wouldn't!

    September 4, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Marty, FL

    Lyin' Ryan is sadly doubling-down on his lies again.

    If Ryan blatantly lies about his Boston Marathon time, he will lie on just about anything. Not trustworthy.

    September 4, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Brandon_D

    Ryan continued Tuesday, "What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for broken promises. After the plant was shut down he said he would lead efforts to restart the plant. It's still idle."

    Except for that he didn’t. These Republicans will say anything they can (true or false)to claim a victory and inherit Obama's economic achievements.

    September 4, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. BigTBone

    "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."

    Trying to keep the plant open vs. making the plant re-open.

    So Ryan is saying Obama should have 'forced' the private sector to comply with a govt request, even if the business model wasn't restructured to address the reason it failed in the first place?

    He and mittens must have an enormous food bill for all of their faces they have to keep fed. An entire convention of "Obama bad!" isn't at all inspiring. Expected, yes but not at all what I expect from leadership.

    September 4, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. DC Observer

    I read the speech and heard what Ryan said - he is 100% correct. Obama and the Adems have stooped to low that they are literally making things up that the GOP says, and then saying that what they made up was not true and blaming the GOP for it. It would be funny if this country were not in such big trouble becasue of the "empty chair" lack of leadershop by Obama. If Obama ran on his record, he wouldnt' be elected dog catcher

    September 4, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. snowdogg

    Ryan couldn't change his story now... better to repeat a half-truth than admit a mistake.

    September 4, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Big George in Big D

    @Carol – wisen up before this country goes further into the tank from Nobama. Quit putting words in people's mouth and read the facts.

    September 4, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Jimmy Vernet

    Never mind that the GOP has opposed nearly every piece of legislation the President proposed.

    September 4, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. Retired Army Officer

    This boy just can't help but to lie.

    It's amazing......and it's truly 'telling' on the people who maintains that he has even the slightest shred of credibility.

    This guy is a sham and a shame on American politics.....he and people like him are EXACTLY what's wrong with the political landscape, today!

    September 4, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. teamaster

    OK...SO now Now Ryan is lying about his lies?

    Good Lord it's grim for the GOP this year!

    September 4, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. ironman59

    Isn't the gop all about keeping the government out of the private sector? If the plant is still closed then GM must feel that there is a solid business reason for it to stay closed. Yet this loud mouth wants the government to interfere and force GM to open the plant. This just goes to prove that the gop isn't about helping America, it is simply about the fact that they don't like Obama as POTUS. If you vote gop, you vote for lies.

    September 4, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. GST Steel

    Hey Ryan, can we talk about the Plants that Bain Cap. shuttered before we talk about how OB may or may not have tried to re-open a plant shuttered during the Bush Admin... Ok???

    September 4, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. NOTAGOPFAN

    How republican of you Paulie! Your proganda speech gave the impression that because the plant closed it was Obama's fault. When you were called out on the fact that the plant was SCHEDULED to close BEFORE Obama was elected you stood by your previous statement. These are you words "What they are trying to suggest is that I said Barack Obama was responsible for the plant that shut down in Janesville. That's not what I was saying. Read the speech," We heard the speech, we read the speech, we heard you defent what you said at the convention and we are hearing what you are saying now. When you made the speech you and ONLY YOU were giving the impression that Obama failed in a promise he made. Just like YOU said you didn't ask for the stimulus money then backtracked and said you didn't "RECALL" asking for stimulus money, then you said you were just asking for the stimulus money for constituents whom needed it. Then and there are 2 distinct contractions in itself. How you could in one breath say that the stimulus was wrong, it wouldn't work and it's just bad, bad, bad, how you could you request money for any constituents? Are you saying that you would give your constituents something that was bad? So yes Paulie, we read the speech, we heard it, we watched it and we think you are LYING!

    September 4, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. SeanGAR

    ".... the decision to close it occurred in June 2008, prior to Obama winning the election."

    This was a business decision. Shouldn't businesses have the right to make business decisions?

    You can't be talking out of both sides of your mouth, Marathon Paulie, saying you support business then attacking somebody who does the same.

    You guys are so pathetically desperate these days .. lying about marathons, hiding taxes because they would make you unelectable if they come to light .... shame.

    September 4, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. ram111

    But Ryan's comment is still hypocritical, as Republicans were calling for allowing the American car companies to go under when Obama was willing to invest government money to try to resurrect them. If it had been up to the Republicans, all the other car dealerships such as the one in Janesville would have suffered the same fate. At least Obama was able to prevent many other American car dealerships from going under, not that he had any help or cooperation from congressmen such as Ryan.

    September 4, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. K

    Fair enough. It didn't reopen. But had the republicans been in office, the bailout wouldn't have happened and then ALL automotive factories in the country would have closed. So Obama couldn't help this one. He helped 98% of them.

    Had Ryan been serving his constituents, rather than trying to change medicare into a voucher program, perhaps the factory would have reopened.

    September 4, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. NameChi

    It"s not about fact checking,Mr Ryan what have you done to help reopen this plsnt in your hometown, what taxcuts are not enough, are you saying goverment needs to help??

    September 4, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. Me IN HOUSTON

    When you are think you are caught in a lie
    one thing to do
    DENY DENY DENY
    Ryan is going to double down on an outright lie
    Why?
    because people believe what they want to believe
    and there is a certain group of people who want to believe Ryan
    besides. The Romney Campaign has made it perfectly clear that fact checkers have no place with them

    September 4, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. ohgran

    The reality of this is that Mitt Romney didn't want to give any help to the struggling automotive industry. I'd like to hear more about that decision by Ryan. He needs to go visit his Priest and confess to all his sins that he's made so public and obvious!

    September 4, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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