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. Boomerang

    Ok, so what did Ryan do to keep the plant open? After all, the plant is in his home town. Funny how he's spending so much time blaming the president for not reopening the plant when it's his duty as a representative of those people to make sure the plant reopens. These guys don't even know what they are in DC for. SMH.

    September 4, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. NOTAGOPFAN

    Just another thought. How can a president, any president, democrat or republican Make any PRIVATE business stay open? Your convention statement was POINTLESS!

    September 4, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. Bass

    What Ryan said was true and clear. The point that Ryan was that Obama has a record of "making grandiose promises which are not true". Obama wants to pcik and choose. He acts like he runs GM when they infused capital but the second their is anything bad he says I am POTUS not GM chairman. What Ryan said over the weekend is especially true and that is Obama is just trying to measure up to Carter as he cannot compare to any other Presidents in recent memory.

    September 4, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Gene

    Why does he continue to lie? If there had not been an outcry of his dishonesty, he would not have had to try to defend it. Can he tell the truth regarding anything?

    September 4, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. SCOTO

    So........Its Omaba's fault that he didnt re-open the plant that he had no part in closing? This is totally in line with the Republican platform of "Obama has failed to fix in 3.5 years the mess we made in 8" I haven't heard anything from them except this line. I have yet to hear how their polices differ from the ones that drove us into the ground over Bush

    What on earth are potential Republican voters thinking when they hear this? Dont they care about these "business as usual" policies, or is it just a blind hatred of Obama that they care about?

    September 4, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. josephine

    This lyin ryan probably think that we are all stupid. I can't believe him when he tries to say that we just didn't understand what he was actually trying to say. He said what he wanted to say and if he got away with it, fine and if he got busted his out would be "You must have misunderstood, what I was actually trying to say was blablablabla. If you want to fault for the closure of that plant, at least give him credit for keeping the auto industry alive.

    September 4, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. susansbaker

    In Ryan's logic, as the legislator to represent his state, he has not done anything to save the plant and create the jobs for the past 4 years, but waiting the President to help? Does he bash big government and advocate individual responsibility every day?

    September 4, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    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.
    ---------------------
    ....And what did Rep. Paul Ryan do for the residents of his hometown and district? Nothing. If did anything in the slightest to raise his hand for the people of Jaynesville, WI, don't you think that he would be bragging about that?

    ...And so Ryan is kaleidoscoping his message to blame Obama for not *re-opening* the plant. Let's see how much further Ryan can turn it. Can he turn it into something completely benign like Romney did when he himself claimed to have saved Detroit? [that took courage to make that claim, especially since he was not holding any elected office]

    September 4, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. ib1sage

    After a year and a half on the job, Ryan reached a milestone: He passed his first bill. It renamed a post office.

    Four years later, Ryan got another bill passed. It lowered the excise tax on the parts used to make arrows.
    Yes, he is top notch!

    September 4, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Al

    Oh what a wonderful tale we weave when first we practice to deceive!

    September 4, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Joel

    I find it strange that Ryan wants to continually talk about all the businesses that have shut down in HIS congressional district. Where has he been for his constituents? I live near Janesville and the place has looked like a ghost town for 10 years. In spite of his talk about all his blue-collar buddies that he went to high school with who are now unemployed, he is still talking about giving the rich tax breaks and taking away from the middle class.

    September 4, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. eeyore

    lol...after the marathon comment, i dont believe a word this guy says...and as for the troops overseas...what do these clowns know what the fighting men and women know...they never served nor enlisted...taking commands from a superior...all they are is college educated elites who never had to serve...

    September 4, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. graphite

    Ryan lied or he is just blindec by his point of view or he is just plain stupid and ignorant. Since I don't think he is that stupid, then it's lying, ignorance or blinded by his ideology. He screwed up and now he says go read what he said, yet what he said is exactly what he claims he didn't say and what Obama said was exactly correct. Ryan is trying to squirm out of it and now his really lying.

    Do we really want someone like Ryan in the office of Vice President? Along with him, it would be Romney, the biggest liar I have ever seen run for president in my 63 years. Romney will change whatever he says and believes to fit the occaision and get elected – and as Gingrich said, "If he lies to you while running for president, he will lie to you if he is president."

    That would be two liars in the white house. And one has overseas bank accounts. Are we kidding?

    September 4, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. luke,az

    Ly'n Ryan at it again. Gov Robme is training him well.

    September 4, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Glenn

    You just need to tell the truth. If you do that, then we can believe your next idea. When your first idea is a lie, then your next idea is treated with a grain of salt. Splitting hairs with the truth on national TV in the biggest speech of your life is the same as outright lying. Your attention to detail was on display and you violated the American Trust.

    September 4, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. johnny popper

    Isn't the main issue that the government allowed GM to file bankruptcy, causing all of the shareholders at that point, arguably, sadly, the people most loyal to GM, to lose all of their investment, only to have the government swoop in, propr up the under achieving compnay and grant ownership to the unions? The same unions who vote Democrat? I take it as Obama being in office while the government screwed the public and paid off their special interest group.

    September 4, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. overby

    Both GM and Chrysler rec'd tens of billions of our dollars and Obama claims to have saved the auto industry...yet neither of them have paid back our money and Chrysler is owned by Fiat, and both ended up in bankruptcy just as Romney said they should.. Any of us would've been 'saved' if Obama gave us tens of millions of dollars. Great save Mr Prez.

    September 4, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Smeagel4T

    So lyin' Ryan is lyin' about his lyin'. Got it.

    I rather assumed it was okay for Romney to engage in all his lying because maybe The Book of Mormon had repealed "thou shalt not bear false witness" or something like that. However, I think i would have heard if the Pope had repealed "thou shalt not bear false witness" so it would be okay for Ryan to engage in all his lying.

    So given all the massive amount of out-right lying Romney and Ryan have been engaged in, does that now make lying a GOP "family value"? Is the GOP telling me I should be teaching lying to my kids?

    September 4, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. al in memphis

    If American conducted it wars like it does politics, the evil rulers from WWII grandchildren would still be in power. Any voter who has paid attention to how Congress and Senate has conducted themselves over the past 4 years should already have a score card of who was working in the best interest of the American people. Sadly, these politicians know that as long as they have donors in place to give money to buy ads to give us some mindless political garbage –they have all they need to get reelected.
    The President is not our problem– it's a problem when elected officials don't do their job of working together all in favor of keeping their party in power. See the budget reduction fiasco for proof and references.

    September 4, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. GaryB

    Seems like every time Lyin' Ryan opens his mouth, his pants catch on fire.

    September 4, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Beverly - NYC

    You read the speech flipper. You repeatedly blamed President Obama for your buddies losing their jobs in 2008. Not surprised you want to soft pedal your lie, do you take communion with that mouth.

    September 4, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Lilli

    Ryan can't even lie with a straight face!! All politicians lie on occasion but Ryan is a habitual liar...he's SCARY!!! And his eyes speaks volumes....pay attention folk!

    September 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh what a wonderful tale we weave when first we practice to deceive!
    -------------------------------------------------
    Indeed!
    And Ryan gets a lot of practice time at spinning and deceiving does he not?

    September 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. wgf

    Ryan is commiting political suicide. The lies are just too big and too numerous.

    September 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    The right wing definition of courage is actually the same as the mainstream defintion of arrogance.

    September 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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