Youngstown, Ohio (CNN) - It was like watching a tag team of a popular, political heavyweight and a scrappy contender against one fierce and determined opponent.
On Monday, former president Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden entered the arena - battleground Ohio - and launched a double whammy of pushback against a fresh, yet dubious, claim from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Among the duo's fighting words: essentially accusing Romney of stating "the biggest load of bull;" claiming the Republican nominee will say "anything to win;" and raising a question politicians reserve for only the most egregious arguments: "Have they no shame?"
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
The Romney campaign has accused their opponents of "desperate arguments."
At issue: the Romney campaign's fresh assertion that President Obama's actions in the auto bailout caused carmaker Jeep to manufacture Jeeps in China.
A new Romney ad, running in Ohio, stated: "Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China." On Friday, Romney himself said: "I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers of this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China."
To that, Clinton swung first.
During a joint campaign rally with Biden in Youngstown, the 42nd president revealed a phone call he'd had with the president.
"I saw the reports of Gov. Romney's latest ad saying that the president had allowed Jeep to move to China," Clinton said. "And so this morning, before [Obama] left Florida and went back to Washington, he said, 'You know, of all the things Gov. Romney has said, that probably hurts my feelings the most'."
Clinton continued: "[Obama] said, 'You know, I never had any money when I was a kid. And the first new car I ever owned, I was 30 years old. And it was a Jeep. I would never move Jeep to China."
Clinton followed up the sentimental story with a hammer.
"Now it turns out, Jeep is reopening in China because they've made so much money here, they can afford to do it and they are going on with their plans here," Clinton said.
"They put out a statement today saying it was the biggest load of bull in the world that they would ever consider shutting down their American operations."
Though it did not exactly say "load of bull" – a Chrysler statement did characterize the Romney campaign's claim as false.
Chrysler Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Gualberto Ranieri wrote in an online posting: "Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China."
Biden, speaking after Clinton, also mounted a full court press.
"As we say in my faith, 'Bless me Father for I have sinned,'" Biden, a Catholic, mocked. "I mean, what are you talking about? I have never seen anything like that."
"It's an absolutely, patently false assertion."
Biden also referenced Chrysler's statement.
Yet in the next breath, he made an assertion that many politicians use sparingly.
"Ladies and gentlemen, have they no shame?" Biden said, lumping Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan together.
"Romney will say anything, absolutely anything to win, it seems."
Biden and Clinton also slammed Romney for, what the campaign asserts, are changing explanations over his initial opposition to the auto bailout.
They both referenced Romney's now famous 2008 op-ed, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
Though Romney argued for a managed bankruptcy at General Motors and Chrysler – and insists he did not favor letting the companies go out of business – his stance has been widely unpopular among many voters, especially some in Ohio, which relies heavily on the auto industry.
Clinton claimed Romney "ties himself in more knots than a Boy Scout in a knot tying contest" trying to explain his bailout stance.
Biden said: "This guy pirouettes more than a ballerina."
The Romney campaign was swift to respond.
"Today, Vice President Biden falsely claimed that Mitt Romney wanted to 'liquidate' the auto industry, and was dishonest about the Administration's own record," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement emailed to reporters. "Mitt Romney's support for loan guarantees and warranties for the U.S. auto industry is clear."
"The Obama campaign is less concerned with engaging in a meaningful conversation about his failed policies and more concerned with arguing against facts about their record they dislike. Ohioans see these desperate arguments for what they are, and will choose Governor Romney's positive agenda over President Obama's increasingly desperate attacks."
The statement did not directly respond to Clinton and Biden's slams against the Romney campaign's claim about Jeep moving operations to China.
The rally was a headline event given the Obama campaign's cancellations of other rallies due to Hurricane Sandy.
Both men opened their remarks on that note.
Referring to the president's abrupt Florida trip, Clinton said: "[Obama] got up this morning and called me and said, 'I got to go back right now. This storm's getting out of hand. I got to handle it.' And I said, 'Mr. President, that is the right call'."
Biden also explained the president's change of plans.
"Folks, I know you were expecting the real president…I just want you to know he asked me to express his regrets for not being able to be here. But you know, he's doing the job a president should be doing."
"First and foremost, on behalf of the president, I want to thank all the first responders throughout this country. You know, there are folks from all over America heading to my part of the world to the East Coast to help now. They're coming from all over. There's folks from Ohio heading east. There's a whole lot of folks all over the country. And it's further evidence…that when America stands together we're all better off."
Um, didn't Fiat in fact buy Jeep and are in fact now considering the move? What is untrue about that?
"LET DETROIT GO BANKRUPT". By Mitt Romney.
PS: GM saved Bin Laden killed.
Mitt is a joke to USA and world. Tax cheat. Tell him to show ten years taxes. George Romney showed why not mitt???
What company would have taken GM & Chrysler out of standard bankruptcy(as Romney suggested)...No one was willing to do it, not even Bain Capital......Romney lies, and lies , and lies, and lies, and many continue to believe him...does he have no shame?
Bill Clinton, you are a big disappointment. I never thought you would go so low. Joe Biden, I am not suprised. You aslways put both feet in.
Joe Biden has every right to be frustrated. He and Barack are losing swing state after swing state. Their house of cards political strategy of personal attacks and avoiding the issues is coming down. Expect to see Joe get a little more red in the face over the next week. It can't be easy for him to watch it all come apart.
This ain't politics anymore. With Romney's campaign claiming that Jeep is moving to China real business credibility is damaged. Chrysler should sue them for this attempt to damage their reputation. Fast!
I encourage all to stay away from a man that has no pride; Mitt. This is dangerous for the presidency of the US
Cannot trust Mitt
Wow! Biden is such a liar. Notice, he failed to mention that when Romney said "Let Detroit go bankrupt" Romney was saying, let it run the traditional way of bankruptcy – in other words, let the company clean itself up RATHER than bail it out with taxpayer money. Romney was right. Biden is a joke.
Romney/Ryan 2012 for a real chance of recovery.
Romney Ad: "Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China."
Chrysler Corporate Response: "Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China."
Yeah – Romney sure knows how to show leadership. I wouldn't buy a bag of peanuts from the guy.
Show us your tax returns Mitt – then we can talk.
Nothing Romney says is ever really true! Ever! He is a pathological LIAR – as all of the fact-checkers constantly prove. How could anybody trust him when he has yet to release the 10 years of tax returns he's hiding or give any specifics about his economic plans? Do you believe he won't kill Medicare and Social Security? All of the economists who examine the concepts say Romney's idea would destroy both programs. Do we trust them or trust Romney – the biggest liar who has ever run for anything? What will he flip-flop on next?
You tell them like it is President Clinton and VP Biden. Someone has to tell the american people that Romney is a fraud and a lair!!!!
Romney was correct,. so wake up folks. Fiat isn't only talking about building Jeeps in China, but also moving all of Chrysler to Italy.
Good work Clinton and Biden calling the Big Liar Mitt on yet another Big Lie.
Good work also using the moment of storm crisis to point to unity in the face of disaster.
Romney can try to twist the story but everyone read or heard him for themselves. Romney is a deceiver.
Romney's campaign has no shame. Each time when they got revealed, they call it "desperate democrat attack". But this jeep lie tells it all: it is Romney's campaign that is desperate.
This storm's getting out of hand. I got to handle it.' And I said, 'Mr. President, that is the right call'."
what do they think(President and Clinton) that we are stupid. Obama Hussein can handle storm get a life people.
The laffer gaffer Joe Biden teamed up with a former president who was impeached for his lies, trying to justify obama the incompetent's dismal economic record, and still everyone wonders, where are the jobs?
At some point, all of Romney's lies should - and will – backfire. this latest lie will probably do it, because his ad truly assumes that people in Michigan and Ohio are stupid or dumb. how many lies and misleading statements can this candidate spout before voters realize he cannot be trusted with the highest office. as his own republicans said during last year's primary (Newt Gingrich in particular): "If some lies to be elected PResident, he will lie to you as President." Scary. Ohio, Michigan and all other voters should send a resounding message that they won't be fooled and vote Not to Mitt. (Just Say No)
It is known that politician stretch to truth to its breaking point to win election, but with Romeny and Ryan thy break the truth it to its non-existence. They power to stay relevant at this point is that because of the unjustified hate harbored by their supporters to the other guy.
Anyone notice there is absolutely no mention of Libya on this network? Four brave americans killed on 9/11 and still no questions for the president! Unfortunately for America the facts will come out after the election. This is going to make Watergate look like childs play. Just what this country needs right now!!!
It finally dawned on Obama and Clinton that they were losing–Biden–Who knows what he thinks –
Romney is always lying, and he will say anything to win. Plain and simple. He says what you want to hear. He knows what the president did by helping GM was the right thing, and he knows he is losing the key states because of that, and wants to make up false statements to try to get that back. The only problem is that we americans watch a lot of TV. So that does not help Romney, because we know the truth.
Mitt is an unmitigated liar. Too bad people are too stupid to understand how dangerous it is to have this type of person to be POTUS.
This opens up a whole new aspect of things.... Stay with me here and try to move from the right and left to the center for just a minute...... Politicians being dishonest about one another has been going on from the time of anicent Rome if not the Greeks, and the two guys in the fedex store is a classic commerical. However, this is different. What if this costs Jeep sales to drop 5%? Can Jeep sue Mitt for Slander? If Ford or Chevy ran this ad they sure could, and Jeep would probably win. So, how would this be different? If they did, and won, who would pay? This is not a superpac ad, that will disappear after the election and have no assets. Mitt approved the message, but he represents the GOP. It probably would never happen, but imagine the fun and court battles if it did. It would be more interesting than the election that is for sure!
How can anyone out there vote for Romney. I mean at least with George W you knew where he stands. Their is nothing worse than a canditate saying anything and standing for nothing. That is exactly what you get with this guy. Alot of hot air with no substance. He is pathetic.