August 30th, 2012
06:25 PM ET
9 years ago

Ryan doesn't back down on controversial comments from speech

(CNN) - Despite facing heated criticism over some comments from his convention speech, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan stood by his remarks Thursday.

On CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," Ryan said he would not revise his statements linking President Obama to the closure of a General Motors plant in Wisconsin, even though the decision to shutter the factory occurred before Obama took office.

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"It's still idle," Ryan said. "The point is this is a story of the Obama economy. A man running for president in 2008 making all these grand promises and then none of them occurring."

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

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

According to a CNN Fact Check, Ryan's statement was true–in the sense that the factory closed down while Obama was president, but his speech was incomplete.

The CNN report states: "To fairly evaluate Obama's statement, at least two pieces of context – missing from Ryan's account – would be useful: First, that Obama wasn't telling this plant that he'd save it from a pending closure. He wasn't addressing a plant that he knew to be closing, because the closure announcement didn't come until four months after his speech. Second, although the plant's last bit of production stopped early in Obama's presidency and the plant remains closed, the closure was planned before Obama became president."

But Ryan on Thursday did not walk back his comments.

"He got elected. He put his policies in place and the plant is still shut down," Ryan said on CNN. "These are empty promises that become broken promises, and that's the story of the Obama economy."

The House Budget chairman also stood by another jab he made Wednesday, blaming Obama for "doing nothing" over last year's debt deal fiasco.

"He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing," Ryan, who served on that panel, said in his convention speech.

According to a CNN Fact Check, Ryan was misleading over the so-called Bowles-Simpson plan–the deficit reduction proposal that became the end product of the presidential debt commission. However, the proposal failed to gain enough votes from the group's 18 members to pass. Ryan, himself, even voted against the plan.

The CNN Fact Check states: "Obama didn't sign onto the Bowles-Simpson recommendations wholeheartedly, but he did take some of their suggestions to Congress in 2011. And Ryan ignores his own role in the failure of the Bowles-Simpson panel."

Pressed about it further Thursday, Ryan emphasized the budget plan he put forward, arguing that he at least took action beyond the commission, whereas the president did not.

"We took the best ideas from Bowles-Simpson and added other ideas and passed it. President Obama did none of that. President Obama said 'I don't like this plan' and offered nothing in return," Ryan said.

Asked about the last-minute debt ceiling deal reached between Congress and the White House last summer–one for which House Speaker John Boehner engaged in multiple negotiations with Obama–Ryan said it wasn't enough.

"It was a small or medium-sized deal, and cutting a back room deal that gives you liability is not leadership," Ryan said. "Submitting a budget to Congress that fixes a problem is leadership, and we haven't seen it from President Obama."

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Filed under: 2012 • Debt • Deficit • Paul Ryan • Republican National Convention • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Yo Yo Yo

    What a surprise to hear such a leftist slant on a Republican speech by CNN. Despite the media's frenzied attempts at deifing Obama, Romney is starting to pull ahead. Can't wait to see what the CNN "truth squad" finds out about the Democrat's speeches next week at the DNC. Bet they find nothing. Blitzer and the rest of the crew over at CNN are just more Demohacks.

    August 30, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. biyer jonno

    Ryan looks stupid to me....let us see how far he can go with lies and dishonesty...Remember Obama came to prominence by not lying to people but by inspiring and showing hope. Firstly, for last 4 years, he did amazingly well and accomplished a lots of legislation and policies better for people especially middle class. GOP did everything to block him from the after 4 years they are blaming all the problems to is a complete dishonesty....the mess that we were in 2008 absolutely not OBAMA's fault...He was not President at that time .... he inheriteted an utterly bad situation and last 4 years he tried to fix it and got in the right track...we didn't fully recover yet....regarding the deficit and spending, definitely this has to be controlled and managed through Congress...My fellow Americans before you go to vote- please study and check the history for last 20 years. I don't think GOP deserve the vote to come to power again. According to many economists, for the job crisis in the US, GOP shares 70% of the blame

    August 30, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |

    A really smart, intellectual person who can lie, deceive and distort in order to get into office is really scary.

    August 30, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. myviewis

    Okay guys, is this the comment President Obama made that Ryan is being accused of lying about? "Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama gave this speech at the General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin on February 13, 2008.
    “I know that General Motors received some bad news yesterday, and I know how hard your Governor has fought to keep jobs in this plant. But I also 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.”

    These words from President Obama do give the people of Wisconsin the sense that if the government gets involved the manufacturing plant will be saved.

    But then President Obama is a fine lawyer and the way it was written he knew we couldn't hold him to a promise he did not make in so many words. It is the small print we all fail to read in a contract. I can see how the people were mislead.

    August 30, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Asturiano

    Quite simply – a lie is a lie is a lie but repeating it does not make it the truth

    August 30, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Professional Liars is what the Repuglicans are! Deceit, deception is the manner in which they believe will work. But watch if they do get control of the Presidency, we will have another war....the Great Melt-Down, and America will Not exist anymore. Ryan says he knows the truth but he isn't willing to be man enough to retract his lies! Wow...and people want this trash for a VP...wake up people before it is over!

    August 30, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Common sense grandma

    I had a really good job that I loved back in 1995-1998 and then the plant shut down. I want to know why President Obama hasn't done something about that!

    August 30, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Nell

    Go ahead folks, vote Romney and get ready once again to send your young men and women to Syria and Isarel.

    August 30, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. CanadaONE

    Canadian Media names him "LYIN RYAN

    Canadians economists claim that Ryan purposely lied 9 times in his speach hence the name LYIN RYAN

    looks like Canada won"t do business witrh this guy – so much for the PIPE LINE

    Canadians HATE LIERS

    if the republicns get in we are builting a border wall with the USA and will sell our oli to China

    August 30, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. warren

    Do what i do. I dont read most story about the republicans. Too corrupt and they eat their young. And howl at the moon!

    August 30, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. CBR

    No one is saying that Mr. Obama did not make those comments. Mr. Ryan and the Governor blame him for the plant closing. Folks, he was not President. The question is why these politicians and leaders did not do anything on their own. The plant is not being used. If they are that concerned then try to find ways to bring in a new company.

    The outsourcing of jobs and the decisions by companies to send their job outside of the country is a far bigger issue. Go to any big box store and look at the labels. How much is made in this country? The companies found cheap labor outside of this country and our workers were let go. Now some of the heads of those companies are putting huge amounts of money into pacs which have their own agendas. Most are supporting Mr. Romney and the Republicans.
    That is their choice. Those in the 1% are not all putting their money into this campaign. There are many 1%ers who are supporting the efforts of groups which are helping our citizens. Their money is helping to pay for energy for households that cannot afford to buy oil, coal, propane, etc. Those who do the helping are not looking for kudos. They are trying to make life better for those who are unemployed or underemployed. They are supporting school programs. When we talk about the 1% we need to make sure that we differentiate between those who are actually helping and those who are only interested in increasing their fortunes. That is why they hide behind this Supreme Court decision to allow people to give to these pacs without declaring their contributions. They will be looking for favors if Mr. Ropmney and Mr. Ryan are elected.

    August 30, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Textor 2

    If the truth can't be told then why bother? This is the biggest problem that the Republican party has.

    August 30, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. jaimie

    Romney and Ryan ......... Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century

    August 30, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. Dumbpolitics

    The GOP mode of operations for the last several decades: keep lying, keep lying, keep lying eventually it might be believed to be somewhat true.
    Just keep lying, keep lying, keep lying. We are the GOP. Go red team go. We make our own facts.

    August 30, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. Phil M

    What Obama also said during that same speech:

    "When I talk about real change that will make a real difference in the lives of working families, it's not just the poll-tested rhetoric of a political campaign. It's the cause of my life. And you can be sure that it will be the cause of my presidency from the very first day I take office."

    ...if I was an auto worker at the plant, listening to Obama's speech, I'd be thinking, "this guy has our best interests in mind."

    Instead, they were forgotten.

    August 30, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. Carol

    Leave it up to those Republicans to try to re-write history.

    August 30, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. jaimie

    Romneyhood .............. Give to the Rich take from the poor

    August 30, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. CBR

    And so it continues. Mr. Romney is complaining about our standing in the world. Pray tell what happened when he was in London for the Olympics and was rather rude. Bet he did not win friends or influence people there. Not too happy about his visit to Israel either. He and Sol were quite a duo. The trip did nothing to enhance his foreign policy experience.

    Just wait until they increase military spending and start to use the hawkish team from the Bush years. Hold on to your hats!

    August 30, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. myviewis

    In the typical way of good attorneys, President Obama being a fine attorney, cannot be held to his well crafted, structured words that only an attorney could come up with and be held to them

    Senator Obama said "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.

    Beautifully done attorney Obama.

    August 30, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. Abe

    Ryan needs not to make up stories or get his facts right. Arrogance will not take him anywhere.

    August 30, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  21. Zealots

    The Repubs should be happy! Thought they didnt want "Big Government" bail outs!!

    August 30, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. myviewis

    Textor 2

    If the truth can't be told then why bother?

    Because the truth that is being told by Ryan was crafted, written by a very fine attorney who knew that we regular people would misunderstand him but once he would explain his words to us we would not be able to hold him to his words. True, Senator Obama did not come out and say I promise, he was more clever than that with us non-attorneys.

    August 30, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. Republicans; the "Not Intended to be Factually Accurate" Party

    Would like to see a bunch of comedy writers take various pronouncements from the Republican convention [Christie`s, Ryan`s, McCain`s, ANNE romney`s, etc.] and, in a light hearted way, point out the lies. This comedy treatment should use actual video of [Akin, Gingrich, Santorum,] to set up the indictment. The point would be to show independent voters the lack of character in the GOP. With this "entertaining" assault on their integrity, the GOP`s campaign points post convention will be wholely ineffective.

    August 30, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. Darth Cheney

    Facts are so confining. Making stuff up is much more entertaining, and inspiring.

    August 30, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  25. myviewis


    Ryan needs not to make up stories or get his facts right. Arrogance will not take him anywhere.

    Ryan has his facts right. It is us who are not attorneys who listened to a fine, clever attorney/Senator Obama whose words sounded like a promise but we failed to understand that Obama was not making a promise. Obama is a really good attorney and we didn't read the small print.

    August 30, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
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