Ryan renews defense of GM plant claim
September 4th, 2012
09:12 AM ET
11 years ago

Ryan renews defense of GM plant claim

(CNN) – Paul Ryan continued defending his speech at the Republican National Convention Tuesday, saying the link he made between President Barack Obama and a closed auto plant in Wisconsin was accurate and reflected a record of failed promises from the Democratic incumbent.

"What they are trying to suggest is that I said Barack Obama was responsible for the plant that shut down in Janesville. That's not what I was saying. Read the speech," Ryan said on NBC. He made similar comments last week on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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Ryan continued Tuesday, "What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for broken promises. After the plant was shut down he said he would lead efforts to restart the plant. It's still idle."

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

In his remarks at the plant in February 2008, Obama was discussing a transition to producing vehicles powered by alternative energy. He said, "I 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."

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

Ryan said Tuesday that while Obama may not have had a hand in closing the auto plant, he was to blame for not re-opening it.

"The promise was he was going to open the plant," Ryan said. "The promise was he was going to lead an effort to retool the plant so people would be open and go back to work for 100 years. The point is he filled people with hope traveling around the country running for president making grandiose promises which are not true."

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Ryan defended Mitt Romney's decision not to mention Afghanistan in his convention speech, saying the Republican nominee had already addressed the issue in remarks to the American Legion the day before his address.

"I think you have to remember the day before that speech Mitt Romney went to the American Legion and gave a lengthy speech on the topic. He was invited, did a lengthy speech the day before," Ryan said.

In that speech, Romney briefly mentioned Afghanistan and paid tribute to troops serving there, but used the majority of his remarks to blast Obama's foreign policy record, which he characterized as weak.

Ryan said on CBS that the Republican ticket agreed with Obama's deadline to bring troops home from Afghanistan by 2014, but said there was disagreement with the president on the wisdom of withdrawal timetables.

"We do agree with the timeline," Ryan said. "Where we have some differences of opinions are political timetables for troop size. We feel that our commanders in the theater ought to have the resources they need, especially throughout the fighting season, to make sure that the counterinsurgency of operations are done with the amount of troops that are needed to see the job through as safely as possible. But we do agree with the 2014 timeline."

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan • President Obama
soundoff (323 Responses)
  1. EBW

    Ok, Paul Ryan, why is it that every time you open your mouth, you are LYING? As a strong catholic, did they not teach you in church about lying? Or were you asleep when they were teaching that in catholic church?

    September 4, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. militarymike

    I simply don't trust Romney or Ryan. I honestly have a hard time listening to either of them speak and believing anything either one says. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't I guess.

    September 4, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. p

    So, candidate Obama in '08 says "if the govt. stands behind you" etc etc
    The plant closes under Bush. GM's call, not the fed govt.
    Not then candidate Obama's. GM was saved, BTW.
    -And Ryan blames this plant closing on Obama?
    If Ryan ain't lyin', what do we call what he's doing? Stretching the truth beyond recognition?

    September 4, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. greg

    Obama is to blame for not reopening the plant. And yet, people like Ryan complained because Obama saved the auto industry. And people like him have stood in the way of developing alternative fuels, electric vehicles going so far as to deride such efforts as though trying to save our Earth somehow translates into bad values. His statement and defense is ridiculous to anyone still in possession of their reasoning abilities.

    September 4, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Martin

    Obama's speech at that plant in 08, which is quoted in this article:

    "....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."

    As you can see, "this plant" is a direct reference to the Janesville plant where Obama was at when he gave the speech.

    Martin, can you tell us where in Obama's speech he promised to do.....well....anything related to that plant?

    September 4, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. The fact is

    This guy is a proved liar. Why should we listen to him?

    September 4, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Loida

    President who understand how it is to struggle and being exploited who cares for everybody even you are just a nobody and a little person yes I am much better because we have a President Obama .

    September 4, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Paul Ryan ran that marathon in under 3 hours because his pants were on fire. 🙂

    September 4, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. keeth

    So, does Ryan want big gov't or not? He can't have it both ways.

    September 4, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. Drew

    That is not what he said and yes, he is a liar..a bad liar at that.

    September 4, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. v_mag

    @Roger, amen, brother. Getting rid of the Electoral College scam is one thing every voter should be behind. Politicians love it because they don't have to campaign except in 10 states or so if they're running for president, but there is no justification for it from the voters' point of view. If I voted Republican and lived in New York or some other blue state, I would feel just as disenfranchised as I do in Texas. In fact, the vast majority of Americans are disenfranchised in the presidential election, and we all go on as if our vote mattered in the least.

    If 10% of Texas voters go to the polls, Romney will still get all the Texas electoral votes. If 99% of Massachusetts voters go to the polls, Obama will only get the electoral votes of Massachusetts, even if more people total voted there than in Texas. There is no correspondence between how many people vote and how many electoral votes are won or lost.

    I'm an American voter, just like the guy in Florida. How come my vote for president doesn't count like his does?

    September 4, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Lonewolf

    Do these Repubs ever tell the truth. I really believe they can nolonger tell the difference between truth and fiction because they have been filled with hate and anger from their lost 3 years ago. Every time they open their mouth out comes another outright lie or a revision of history. What is even more scary is supporterswho vote for them, when it is really not in their best interest.

    September 4, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. tykl

    The Left is at it trying to defend the O. The fact is he said with HIS policies, THAT plant should be open for 100 years. Now that plant closed or was scheduled to close pre-O – so where were HIS policies regarding THAT plant. He made his promise SPECIFICALLY about that plant. Was he clueless about the situation of the plant? Was he clueless that his policies wouldn't reopen it? Was he clueless that he shouldn't have said anything about THAT plant if he knew it was getting closed down? The common theme is 'clueless.' Ryan's statements are exactly correct.
    And for those still whining about 'you didn't build that,' I'll give you O meant schools/roads/etc. The message is the exact same – people are dependent on the government. If you want to draw a line all the way back, it goes to God, not the government. And we are the ones who paid for all the schools/roads/bridges/etc, not the government (did you ever buy a good or service from the government that wasn't financed by tax money? the answer is no because the government only collects taxes, it does not generate money). And there are many countries with roads and bridges who do not have our prosperity. And there are many businesses that don't count on roads. And do you think if a business needed a road or school or bridge that it wouldn't build it itself? Another loser comment.

    September 4, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |

    This guy lies so much, he's beginning to believe his own lies. I admit, you have to be a clever joker to lie with such a straight face and constantly repeat it over and over and over again.

    September 4, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Ryan Was Right

    The plant actually closed in 2009 after Obama was elected.
    It was idle in 2008 but Obama promised to help convert it to keep it open for another century.
    And of course this didn't happen and it was closed permanently.

    September 4, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Nodack

    "Obama's foreign policy is weak"

    Translation- He hasn't started enough wars for our tastes and was nice to other countries which we are against.

    "Obama didn't restart the Jainsville plant up like he promised, so therefore he is a bad President."

    Translation- Republicans wanted all the GM plants to close.

    "Obama promised to close Gitmo and didn't."

    Translation- Republicans were mad that Obama wanted to close Gitmo. Then they were mad that he didn't close Gitmo. They were going to be mad anyway you slice it so what does it matter?

    September 4, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. damo12345

    Since many people are saying "the factcheckers have it wrong".

    GM officially listed the plant as closed in December, before Obama was sworn in. There was a ceremony, crying people had their photos taken, everyone signed a giant banner.

    When GM closes a plant they don't always turn off everything at once. They work through a checklist to make sure all loose ends are tied up and to ensure there's a smooth transition with other plants taking on work once done in the closed plant. You can look at the work done during that period and argue that the plant wasn't ~really~ closed, but it's like pointing at a headless chicken still running around and arguing it's not ~really~ dead yet. Could Obama have tried to force GM to stop turning things off and start turning things on again? Is that really what he ~should~ have been doing?

    GM was ultimately saved, which makes this attack particularly strange.

    September 4, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Richard

    They no longer know the truth. It there plan to lie right up until the election. I guess they still think swift boating the President will get them in. They are wrong and they will be crying come November 7.

    September 4, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Nodack

    You Republicans act like Obama was the CEO of GM and personally decided which plants to keep open and which plants to close. Then you would be mad at him for interfering too much. You are starting to grasp at straws.

    September 4, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Benjamin

    "The Romney policy was: LET DETROIT GO BANKRUPT"

    Detroit DID go bankrupt even with Obama's takeover. That is how GM and Chrysler were able to shed their debt, reorganize and begin making profits again. Bankrupt doesn't mean everything goes away. It means debt collections stop, reorganization takes place and the company is allowed to survive in a more profibable state.

    BTW, not all of Detroit went bankrupt. Ford was able to shed its fat, make money and increase their market share without going bankrupt and without Obama's money.

    September 4, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. streetdude66

    If Ryan is so fired up about the plant being shut down shouldnt he be mad at Dubya the man responsible instead of being angry at Obama the man who didnt want it to happen

    September 4, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Mark

    OMG, Ryan speaking in Ohio today. slamming Obama that this nation is not in better shape. It is much better than when BUSH left. Ryan helped Bush create the largest debt ever. He helped Bush starting 2 wars, big tax cuts, biggest job lost ever. And then the economy, this USA was close to a depression, Obama stopped that decline and got us on an even track. Obama has created millions of jobs. But Ryan doesn't want the people to know what he did for them. He even voted against and walked out of the Boyle tax/debt plan. He was against it, Now he blasts Obama for not passing it. Just where does Ryan stand. We don't know where Ryan or Romney stands on the debt.

    September 4, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. EffortPA

    Yeah, yeah, and he ran one of his numerous marathons in a little over two hours too.

    Ryan's motto: Stick with the lies and people are going to start believing them. That may have worked before the internet, but I don't think it is going to work this time.

    September 4, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Dawn in Canada

    Yeah...because that's what Ryan believes the President/Federal Government should do: Force auto plants to reopen after their private sector owners have chosen to shut them down.
    Or else it's a case of Ryan being a liar-liar-pants-on-fire.....

    September 4, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. russ

    Paul, I did read the speech and you said that it was Obama's fault that the plant closed.

    September 4, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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