Portman stands by Romney auto ads
November 4th, 2012
11:28 AM ET
2 years ago

Portman stands by Romney auto ads

(CNN) - Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Sunday defended Mitt Romney's ad campaign attacking President Barack Obama over plans for GM and Chrysler to expand production overseas.

"The fact is that we now make Jeeps here in Toledo, Ohio, that we're proud to send to China, to Asia; we export about 25 percent of what we make here, and so if they're going to start production facilities overseas, obviously we're going to lose some of our exports here," Portman said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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He continued: "So that's - that's all the ad says."

Production plans by GM and Chrysler carry weighted political significance around the issue of manufacturing and jobs because of the industry's heavy presence in Ohio and throughout the battleground Midwest.

The Obama campaign strongly underscores the president's decision to accelerate the taxpayer bailout of both companies early in his presidency, a move he and other supporters say saved or created thousands of jobs and positioned those businesses to be successful when sales rebounded.

While enjoying a resurgence at home since, the U.S. auto industry has sought to boost its business in China's fast-growing auto sector. Growing business in Asia has become even more important to American auto manufacturers, considering the industry's woes in economically hard-hit Europe.

Republicans have also branded Obama weak on China over trade.

Recent television and radio ads in Ohio claim GM plans to double the number of cars built there and that Chrysler plans to start making Jeeps – its iconic brand - in China as well.

"Under President Obama, GM cut 15,000 American jobs, but they are planning to double the number of cars built in China which means 15,000 more jobs for China," the radio ad states. "And now comes word that Chrysler is starting to build cars in, you guessed it, China."

The ad concludes arguing that Romney "will stand up for the auto industry. In Ohio, not China."

The commercials sparked sharp rebuke from executives at both automakers, who argued the expansion would not affect American jobs - as noted in the original Bloomberg report that served as the source of Romney's ads.

Obama also responded this week, describing the spots as scare tactics in a last-minute push for Ohio votes.

"You don't scare hard working Americans just to scare up some votes," Obama said Friday to a crowd in Hilliard, Ohio. "That's not what being president is all about, that's not leadership."

As a result of Romney's recent ad, Obama said employees at Jeep are calling their bosses, worried their jobs will be shipped overseas, a claim in the ad that "everybody knows is not true."

"The car companies themselves have told Governor Romney to knock it off," he added.
The ad was rated "Pants on Fire" by the independent, fact-checking group PolitiFact.com. And former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden this week tag teamed in their attacks against Romney over the ad.

But Portman on Sunday said the spots were not wrong on accuracy.

"Jeep has said they're going to reopen a facility that was closed after DaimlerChrysler, you know, broke apart years ago and it'll be in China to produce for the Chinese market and that's all the ad says. So there's nothing inaccurate about it," he told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

He also argued Romney has the edge in Ohio and sounded confident about winning the state, a battleground viewed by many political observers as the must-win for the presidential election.

No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying the Buckeye State.

"I think we're going to win Ohio. I really do," he said.

– CNN White House Producer Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Ohio • Rob Portman
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. the situation

    Don't worry Portman, the people of Ohio won't forgive and forget when you have to face them in 4 years.

    November 4, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. littlelizard25

    Actually Mr. Portman, you just lied about the ad. No where in the transcript of the ad does Romney say that the Jeeps, or any auto, that will be built in China " is for the Chinese market". His ad insinuates, rather boldly, that american jobs will be outsourced to build autos to be imported back to the US. I know Romney supporters will say that IS NOT said in the ad. Thats true,but it is insinuated.Both auto makers, and the UAW, have all said the autos built in China will be for the Chinese market. So by you saying that also, you as much as admitted Romney was lying in his ad.

    November 4, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Last night in Virginia and Today morning in New Hampshire Bill Clinton mock the Chrysler ad put By Romney Campaign. Virginia and New Hampshire voters knows Romney will say anything to win the election
    Local reporters in Ohio saying this ad back firing Romney Campaign
    Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Sunday defending the ad joke

    November 4, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Wow... Mitt Romney lies? In other late breaking news... the sun rose this morning.

    November 4, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. cali girl

    All the automakers came out to say Robmeys ad is a lie.
    Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

    November 4, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    The truth is..........both GM and Chrysler ended up in bankruptcy, anyway.........so all the auto bailout accomplished, was the waste of taxpayer dollars, which GM has still not paid back.

    That means.......Romney was entirely correct, that there was no significant difference, in the end result, other than wasted taxpayer dollars.

    November 4, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Peace

    Are these people not ashamed of what they are doing/saying? Please stop playing with peoples thinking.

    November 4, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. A little sad

    Portman, who was one of the few Repubs with credibilty, just lost it.

    Seriously, Romney said out loud that Ohio jobs were going to China. Just because they crafted the ad to imply that Ohio jobs were being sent overseas, while technically not lying, does not make it any less dishonest.

    Portman defended it as technically true shows him to be dishonest as well.

    November 4, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Jessie P.

    Just a though, but don't you think that Romney's so-called momemtum was lost after people starting checking videotape and independent fact checkers as well as his record in Massachusetts and because his own state of Michigan and Massachusetts as well as thousands of Mormons are not voting for him because of his policies and lies that maybe this might have something to do with his momentum collapsing?

    November 4, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. laughing all the way

    It is amazing how Romney support is so high, then you look at what the media has to say afterwards and they act like it is still a tie. O sounds like he is running for president. Not like he is trying to stay president. Listen to him. He has yet to deliver yet keeps promising just like four years ago. The actual unemployment rate is at 14%. We are the worst we have been for a long time. And there is no sign of help with the scheduled layoffs and shut downs. You have to admit, Obama has failed as a leader. Completely. To the point that the only supporters I can find.. expect things for nothing.

    November 4, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Mr Rainey

    Rick, the industry didnt die thats what matters here. No Mitt was not correct hell he's taking information and spinning it to scare people. Hey wait a minute didn't we have another guy do that with 2 wars? On a side note, Romney has hired ALL of George Bush's FINANCIAL TEAM...Really Mitt...Really...? Obama 2012!!

    November 4, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. laughing all the way

    No Jessie. In fact the nw always votes democratic. And the liberal media is nothing to pay attention to. In case you cannot recall Regan winning 49 of 50 states despite being "so far behind". Fact check my points, k..

    November 4, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. MakesSense

    Attention, Mister Romney. The government of China does not determine where Jeep makes their vehicles. Jeep does. So your argument that you will stand up to China is irrelevant to where the vehicles are made. Where cars are made are a business decision, not a government one. Unless you are advocating a government takeover of a profitable industry...

    November 4, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Mitt the twit caught in another of many lies. Ohio voters don't like politicians playing with their income.

    November 4, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Martha in CF

    Portman is a fool or he will get a big payout after the elections!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. CJ

    well if you think Romney's going to win....Think again...He is not competent enough for the job. He is worst than the Bush....GO OBAMA!!!!!!

    November 4, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Thomas

    en. Rob Portman of Ohio is a GW Bush guy , he will do and say anything and smile !

    November 4, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. GOP = Greed Over People!

    Apparently, Portsman's credibility is also for sale, very Republican.

    November 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Diane

    I've been a registered nurse for 42yrs. How can anyone vote for Obama and Obamacare without even knowing what it entails? Wake up people.

    November 4, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Anifowose Abiodun

    I am a realist by nature and so are my lines of thought. In one word for both candidates, I will say,'President OBAMA is Factual and consistent in his policy, while Mitt ROMNEY is consistently inconsistent. I doubt if ROMNEY is ready for the JOB! Americans who are planning to cast his/her vote for ROMNEY on Tuesday should think again. So, they don't commit a monumental mistake that would hunt even generation yet unborn.

    November 4, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Willa45

    Someone please explain to me how anyone can even take a candidate like Mitt Romney seriously? How can anyone tell me with a straight face that they actually believe all his lies, the flipping back and forth on all the issues, the pandering for Hispanic votes?...A vote for Romney is a vote for another war, a vote for the repeat of the same economic policies that got us into this mess in the first place! A vote for Mitt Romney will take us back 200 years! I don't believe that the American people are that stupid!
    The only way the Republicans will win this election is by stealing it like they did in 2000. I can still remember the crowds booing George W Bush as he made his way down Pennsylvania avenue. NOBODY was cheering! Where were all his "supporters" that day? There weren't any! What does that tell you?

    November 4, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |