Road rage: Biden blasts Ryan in auto country over GM comment
August 31st, 2012
03:20 PM ET
11 years ago

Road rage: Biden blasts Ryan in auto country over GM comment

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden hit back Friday against his Republican counterpart's recent comments about a shuttered General Motors plant–one that Paul Ryan blamed the president for closing.

"But what he didn't tell you is the plant in Janesville, (Wisconsin) actually closed when President Bush was still in office," Biden said to a local United Auto Workers crowd in Lordstown, Ohio. "He didn't tell ya that."

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Ryan took heat for linking Obama to the closure of the plant during his convention speech Wednesday night. Meanwhile fact-checkers, including CNN, have labeled the congressman's comments incomplete.

During his remarks Wednesday, Ryan told a story about then-presidential candidate Barack Obama sharing with Wisconsin 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. So Biden, saying the plant "closed down" under Bush, was also not fully correct.

Ryan defended his comments Thursday, saying he wasn't accusing Obama of closing the factory, but trying to paint a picture of what he called the "Obama economy."

"It's still idle," Ryan said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." "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."

Biden, however, took the opportunity Friday to use Ryan's comments as a way to attack the GOP ticket on the so-called auto bailout. The vice president pointed to Romney's well-known opposition to the federal loans–an opinion Romney made public in a now-infamous New York Times op-ed, titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

"What (Republicans at the convention) didn't say is–but for the sacrifices you all made and the courage of the president of the United States–all those General Motors plants would have closed," Biden said. "General Motors wouldn't have been reorganized. It would have been liquidated. Along with Chrysler."

Continuing the offensive, Biden pivoted and began attacking Romney over his former private equity firm, Bain Capital.

"You know, he is absolutely against the federal government or any government using funds to save jobs, to save industries," Biden said. "He says it's bad business, except when it comes to his business."

The vice president referred to a recent Rolling Stone report that details a $10 million loan the government retired for Bain through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

"While taxpayers did not finance the bailout, the debt forgiven by the government was booked as a loss to the FDIC – and then recouped through higher insurance premiums from banks. And banks, of course, are notorious for finding ways to pass their costs along to customers, usually in the form of higher fees," the article stated.

Citing the report, Biden further used the incident as grounds for charging Romney with hypocrisy.

"It was one thing when a million middle class jobs were on the line. It was another when his own financial interests were on the line," Biden said. "And, now, they say they care about the middle class?"

A spokesman for Ryan responded to Biden's remarks.

“The Vice President can’t answer for this administration’s unfulfilled promises and failed record. The President inherited a troubled economy, but he’s not made it better – he’s made it worse, with fewer jobs and lower incomes for middle-class families. Like many towns across America, Janesville, Wisconsin is still waiting for the recovery the President promised," Brendan Buck said in a statement.

Filed under: 2012 • General Motors • Joe Biden • Paul Ryan
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. myviewis

    Rudy NYC
    He said 'IF", if they had government help.

    You are absolutely correct, people failed to hear the word IF. I guess the people of Wisconsin should have consulted a lawyer to understand exactly what Obama was saying. You are just as good as Obama in your game of words. You should be proud of yourself.

    August 31, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. The GOP Voucher Plan will include a "Legalize Euthanasia" clause and a free gun to commit suicide

    The seniors will need to commit suicide when their health care dollars run out. That's the GOP way!

    August 31, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Maybe Obama should have let the auto business fail as Romney suggested and maybe if Romney is elected pesident the auto business along with every other business that he chooses will fail. Only then will Americans understand how Bain Capitol and it's CEOs make their profit, it's called business at any cost at your loss.

    August 31, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Jean2

    THINK FELLOW CITIZENS!!! How does process work when depending on reasonable people to do theie part. Obama's only mistake is that he thought he could reach across the aile. Now listen to what is being said.

    August 31, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    Good job Joe....get little Eddie Munster and his widow's peak in line.

    truth hurts

    Did Crazy Joe ever report back on the nearly TRILLION dollars of stimulus spending and how it was spent? Where did all the money go and what jobs were created because they said we'd he at 6% unemployment now and never go above 8% and none of this happened. Last I recall was Obama cracking wise about shovel ready projects not being as shovel ready as they had hoped.

    Some of that money went to Eddie Munster's district at his request. He then had the cajones to say "stimulus doesn't work" The hypocrisy of the GOP and these 2 is astounding

    August 31, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    The picture of the employees standing in front of the last SUV to roll off of the line on the last day of work at the plant holding up a giant card that they had signed really says it all. The vehicle was being donated to the local United Way, and the giant card was covered with employee signatures.

    The card also has a highly visible date. I'll bet $10,000 that that picture and an employee will show up at the DNC convention.

    August 31, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. myviewis

    Okay, so I read that Bain and Company owed a loan to the Bank of New England which was taken over by the FDIC (it acted as the receiver of the failed bank) and the FDIC agreed for Bain and Company to pay a lesser debt because of the bank fees and the insurance and the service too high. Romney was asked to come back to work in 1991 to fix the financial mess they had made at Bain and Company after Romney had left work.

    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp in 2001 had to fork out $44 million in pension checks when GS Technologies failed under the control of Jonathan Lavine, Romney had already left in 1999.

    You guys can Google this info.

    August 31, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Jill Cushing

    Well, after watching comments after Romney's acceptance I am relieved to find out why single women remain single...."because they haven't found the right man". Once again independant thinking women are assalted by the "infinite wisdom" of the of coservative republican white women! If Romney is elected women everywhere might as well be confined to an FLDS compound, Remember those guys? Also do we really want a leader who may consult his Leader (President Monson) in a time of crisis?

    August 31, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. rs


    Really? You need an accounting of the $780 billion stimulus? Look it up. The short of it though is that early all of it either went to specific projects, or in the case of GM, much has been repaid. No one lost their shirt, and to date more than 4 million jobs were made.

    Maybe your thinking of the measley $billions Bush and company lost (literally) in shipping in Iraq?

    August 31, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Woman In California

    That about sums it up. Paul Ryan and Willard Romney are both lying hypocrites and they need to be called out on it. Ryan has government written all over his unfitted suit and Willard has government stuffed away in his shredder somewhere. Neither will stop using funds if it benefits their pocketbooks but God forbid it should be used to help a dying person or a college student fulfill their dreams.

    Thank you for exposing their lies Mr. Biden.

    August 31, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. Beverly - NYC

    Now that Lying Paul is on the Romney ticket he should recall his boss saying let Detroit go Bankrupt, the FACT that the plant closed under Bush should not bother him .

    August 31, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. truth hurts

    Seriously people... does ANYBODY think or believe Biden is playing with a full deck these days? The guy is going senile right before our eyes. WHY is this guy next in line to the launch codes??!!!

    August 31, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. The REAL Truth...

    and lets not forget
    – more illegals deported in last 3 yrs than the entire 8 yrs of prior admin – 380,000+
    – smaller govt .. 273,000 Federal jobs eliminated

    August 31, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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