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. amlcpamaine

    You can see why Romney picked Ryan as his running mate. They both are skilled liars and neither one cares AT ALL about workers. It doesn't matter whether it's private enterprise or public servants, these guys only care about the top 1%-ers and what they can give them. In Romney's case it's "leads" to get Bain vultures into more businesses to exploit, and in Ryan's case it's more lobbying money. These guys are scum and heartless.

    September 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Sarah

    But Obama didn't even make a promise when he spoke at that plant. So even taking Ryan's (very generous) post hoc interpretation, he still LIED.

    September 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. LynneSki

    I like how Ryan didn't mention all the times he and his GOP buddies have refused to vote on Obama's Jobs bill...it's still sitting there....maybe if he did his job and actually fought for his constituents instead of fighting against the President that GM plant might be open.

    September 4, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. w l jones

    By the way i stile waiting to see the Republican platform on high to get this economy moving again.

    September 4, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. jr

    Ryan is a liar. My parents use to say: "If you tell the truth you don't have to explain, the truth is the truth and a lie will get you in trouble every time>"

    September 4, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Jim

    The GM plant had nothing to do with Obama, Ryan just threw it in for no reason at all.

    Wake Up Mr. Ryan, even Fox News said you set a record for the number of lies in a single political speech.

    September 4, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Realistic85

    So, Ryan admits that Obama had no hand in closing the plant, but it's his fault that he didn't re-open it. Even though conservatives hate that the government gave away billions to the auto industry, but that "business" decided that even with government money they weren't going to open the plant back up. So to back the train up, conservatives hate government spending, but expected Obama to spend government money to save a plant. And now they blame him for it closing even though the business itself with money from the government decided to keep the plant closed. This is the hypocritical BS that conservatives pride themselves on. We don't want any government handouts unless we can take credit for it and then we are going to blame someone else for it. Pathetic...

    September 4, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Vic or New York

    NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In a dramatic narrative that could upstage this week’s Democratic National Convention, Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) gave reporters today a detailed account of the fateful day he killed Osama bin Laden.
    Mr. Ryan said that he was revealing his role as the triggerman who felled the Al Qaeda leader to “set the record straight,” explaining that he had remained silent about his mission until now, because “I don’t like to brag.”
    The Republican Vice-Presidential nominee painted a portrait of a Paul Ryan few know, a man who trained for missions with SEAL Team Six while somehow finding time to cut key provisions of Medicare.
    The Wisconsin Congressman said he was doing sit-ups in the House of Representatives cloakroom when he got the call to deploy for his mission to Abbottabad, and hours later found himself face to face with the world’s most wanted man.
    “Osama got one look at me and he ran like a bat out of hell,” he said. “It’s times like that that I’m glad I can run a hundred meters in 9.58 seconds.”
    As for the perfect shot between the eyes that nailed bin Laden, Mr. Ryan called it “just another day at the office.”
    “You don’t want to get too full of yourself because of a thing like this,” he said. “I had a job to do, and I did it. It was very satisfying to see all my SEAL training come together. And it was great practice for the day I got Qaddafi.”

    September 4, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. phaeon martin

    ryan doesnt look like a crawfish for nothing

    September 4, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. alien

    With all the bills Ryan has passed, the taxpayers are sure getting their monies worth. HA!

    September 4, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. yogi

    This is a scary guy. I look at his face and all I see is coldness which is exactly reflected in all his proposals, and to imagine that he is potentially one heartbeat away from the presidency is hard to imagine. This is all the GOP can come up with? How sad and pathetic. In the VP debates I hope that Biden points out what Ryan and his policies really are made of.
    Obama 2012, because he really cares.

    September 4, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. phaeon martin

    @bass ,did you even read the article above? you couldnt have

    September 4, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. learntoread

    if you say it enough they might actually believe it...

    just keep repeating it paul-all the dopes will believe it eventually....fortunately there are still some folks awake in this country.... tell me how a guy making 40-70k a year votes republican? so the wealthy get richer and richer while middle class wages haven't gone up in 10 years? how do decent folks vote against food stamps for the elderly and the poor– and women's choice?

    i make very good money–but i don't mind paying 3.8 % extra on everything i earn above 250K a year...i am VERY happy to be making it to begin with....i consider myself lucky–sure i'm a hard worker–but i was given major opportunities–i got a lot of help along the way...i'm willing to admit it...

    September 4, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    I actually feel sorry for team Romney. The GOP had a chance with Huntsman. Too bad.

    September 4, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. ghostriter

    So.....he's not saying the president caused it, but broke his promise that he would re-open it......except no where in the president's statement did he promise that either.

    So coming up with another lie to defend the 1st lie doesn't make it any better. But is status quo for conservatives. "I didn't mean to say what I said"

    September 4, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. Ken

    Keep on refining the Big Lie, Paulie, and EVENTUALLY you might actually arrive at the truth. Maybe.

    September 4, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. NC_Mike

    To all of my Republican and Democrat friends: Let me remind all of you that we independent and undecided voters in the key swing states are among the most informed of voters. We are not like the under-informed and ignorant drones and extremists on both sides. We read a great deal. We watch Fox and MSNBC, we read both the WSJ and the NYT, we are generally highly educated and can see through the parsing of words and thinly veiled lies and misrepresentations. Some of even read the actual legislation and many of us are strong students of current and distant US history. We are tired of lack of specificity below the rhetoric and you force us assume the worst on both sides as a result. We’re sick of it, we’re disillusioned, but we WILL VOTE for one or the other you- you can bet on that. Dems, don’t get on your high-horse on this Ryan garbage, you are just a guilty and we cannot afford 4 more years of slow painful growth and debt. Repubs, your desperation is unbecoming and we can’t afford your brand of extremism – you’ve hijaked our Buckley party. There, now that I’ve ticked off all you remember, I get to cast a vote that will affect the outcome of this election more so than most – deal with us.

    September 4, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Robert

    He DID lead the fight to get it reopened. He submitted a jobs bill that your guys kept from passing. Now YOU want to be VP by blaming him for it's failure?

    September 4, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Susan in Arkansas

    Paul Ryan....the new Pinocchio of Politics!

    September 4, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Christy P in Santa Cruz

    Oh gee umm...Lyin' Ryan says 'I know it's my district that the plant closed in, and by the way my high school buddies worked there, but I had no power to do anything to help these people. I was working hard to make sure arrows for my bow hunting were cheaper. It's all Obamas fault.'

    September 4, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. prairieguy

    If you need to explain it means you lied...he LIED!

    September 4, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Christy P in Santa Cruz

    And you lied about your marathon times? Who does that? Bet your Mom is so proud! Three cheers for the sports magazine who called him on his lies.

    September 4, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. noteaparty4me

    What happened to reporters who called a lie, a lie or a liar a liar? They are not a dying breed they are dead. This Ryan person lied. End of story. And from what has now been revealed, not by the media, but others, he lied about a lot. Networks in the tank for a candidate become more obvious as we see articles titled, Ryan "defends" Obama when the article should be titled, "FINALLY, FOR ONCE, RYAN ADMITS HE LIED. Mike Wallace we miss you.

    September 4, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Pamg

    Alright enough! When someone gets caught in multiple lies it causes you to question everything about him. I wonder if he knows if his 5 yr college sweetheart that contributed $77,000 to his congressional campaign was extorting the money from her company. It seems that she paid her debt to society by serving 5 mos in prison; but the question is when you are in a long term relationship with someone don't you kind of learn what their financial capabilities are along the way? hmm...hmm, I'm just saying

    September 4, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Terry

    if you tell a lie ofetn enough, people will begin to believe it. I believe Josef Geobbles said that.

    September 4, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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