Road rage: Biden blasts Ryan in auto country over GM comment
August 31st, 2012
03:20 PM ET
7 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. rla

    Wait to the debate and Biden will beg for mercy

    August 31, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. John

    Hold up. Did Bain Consulting really request and receive a government bailout? Wow.

    August 31, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Bill

    Biden will destroy Ryan in the debates and that lying little whelp will be put in his place.

    August 31, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Yonni

    Go Joe! Teach them the truth. They never knew the truth and they might not learn it unless a trust worthy man like you give them the lesson they need.

    August 31, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    That plant would have closed with or without the Wall Street meltdown. Sales of the trucks had dropped off severely because of the high oil and gas prices. The entire GM lineup of brands was positioned terribly in the consumer market. At its' peak, GM had around 30 models spread across 6 brands and nearly a 40% market share.of all sales. In 2008, GM had around 90 models spread across 9 brands and a 15% market share.

    It was announced two weeks PRIOR to Obama's visit that the piece that was stayed open until April 2009 would be closing on or about that date. Isuzu had announced that they were shutting down all north american manufacturing and consolidating in Japan. I wonder if the jobs being shipped overseas had anything to do with his visit.

    August 31, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. TY

    Joe is many things and I like him, but you can not fool a old soul. Joe is there. He is smart ,yes he has said thing that make you go um, but th bottom line is that he is for the people.... Ryan is a want of be and more will be reveal.

    August 31, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. DJ

    The key to this story is that obama PROMISED that the government would make sure that the plant did not close, and he failed on it.

    August 31, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. anthony76

    Wait to the debate and Biden will beg for mercy..

    You realize that in a debate.. if Ryan LIES like he usually does.. Biden will actually be standing across from him with a rebuttal? Ryan won't get a media pass. Biden has way more bite in him then Ryan. And i seriously doubt Obama will keep him on a leash. Ryan has already built up a list of miscues and mistruths. AND he won't be able to run from his medicare stance either. Or his palling around with Akins.

    Admit it.. the kids out of his league once he is confronted with having to tell the truth.

    August 31, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Timmeh

    The most inept person to hold the office of VP. Being it on Joe, you're out of your league. Ryan will eat you for lunch!

    August 31, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    Go get 'em Uncle Joe !

    August 31, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Vice-Pres. Biden's wrong. Mitt Romney saved Detroit. I heard him say so. SMACK! Thanks, Barry. I needed that.

    August 31, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. truth hurts

    Obama and the Democrats are screaming because a closed GM plant points out the fact that GM had to CLOSE PLANTS and lay off workers to survive and that is what happened with Romney and Bain Capital. Sometimes some must go for the entire company to survive. Very dishonest of them.

    August 31, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. RealityBites

    GM stock price for taxpayers under Obama's bailout. $53
    GM stock price today $21
    Another great success in the minds of Biden, Obama and the labor unions.

    August 31, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Dan J

    How will Biden defend the fact that Obama made a promise he couldn't keep?

    August 31, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. myviewis

    Biden should put a lid on it and get his bud to Louisiana and Mississippi and bring those families help. All help is welcomed in this disaster, these families just lost their homes, their finances. Biden is the VP of our country, he should behave like one.

    August 31, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. prtyofstupid

    Get'em Joe! Can't wait for the debates...Ryan will definitely need his mommy!

    August 31, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |

    All you have to do is call the Gop bafoons party out on their constant lies ,that shouldn't be very hard to do . Every body has already heard them and the fact checkers telling us they are lies !!!!

    August 31, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Ready

    Ha, the intellect of the Democrat party!

    August 31, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I remember Bush the elder talking about a kinder gentler America, and a 1000 points of light. Romney/ Ayn Ryan must have thought he meant a 1000 points of lies.

    August 31, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Bill

    The hiprocrisy of the GOP is laughable. Last night, Mittens touted how having a background in the private sector should be a prerequisite for holding the office. Yet that clown, Ryan, has been on the government payroll for his entire life. We could go on for hours, but I will leave that to Biden and Obama. The GOP really needs to start focusing on 2016, if they want any hope of regaining the White House. Perhaps Jabba the Hut will throw his hat into the ring in 2016. Should make excellent entertainment.

    August 31, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As long as Ryan can make up lies, the GOP will love him. When he is forced to defend his dismal voting record and the huge amount of national debt he voted for, AYn will be toast.

    August 31, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Gurgyl

    Ignore GOP idiots.

    August 31, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |

    Get em Joe!!! "Not the Bain Way." I love it!!!

    August 31, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. THE truth

    I can't wait for this speech. In fact, I always look forward to biden opening up his pie hole. It's always a laugh.

    August 31, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. ART

    Ryan wouldn't know the truth if it bit him in the you know what. Uncle Joe is gonna have that puppy dog face for lunch

    August 31, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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