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. Mark

    And of course, Ryan and Romney continues the LIES to the American people supported by K. Rove. Bush won by LIES. We cannot allow that to happen again. And guess what. Romney is still be defined. The people don't know about Romney and he has been in public life for decades. But he is hiding his life from the American people. Not wanting us to know the REAL Romney. He is not fit to be President, and nows he telling us he will start 2 new wars if elected.

    September 4, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. loada crap

    The only reason Ryan gave any lip service to a closing plant was to try to gain favor with the same class of people who conservatives only pretend to care about while campaigning. They try to court alot of people they have only disdain for, middle class workers being a large part. They can't win an election without their votes so they have to lie, and pretend to be on your side. Then when all is said and done, they can go back to their only focus, which is the rich, 1% who is paying them to do things their way. And all the little servants who were fooled into thinking that these guys actually care about them get a reality check.

    September 4, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. JGW

    I would like to know what steps Ryan took to save the GM plant in his own state?

    September 4, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Toby

    Apparently some of you missed the facts in the article because so many of you continue to talk about Paul Ryan and how he just lies lies lies... What is so evil and untrustworthy of these two? Please someone give me some factual claims on what makes them evil or untrustworthy... Obama is the evil one here, just look at his record over the past 4 years... what the hell has he done other than put us in a MUCH worse place in the world then when he took office...

    September 4, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. kate46

    tyki, you are saying the same thing that Pres Obama said. He did not say, "the government built that." He said that someone helped you succeed: "someone" means your family or your community. The purpose of government is to coordinate the community action. A city planner who works for the government needs to plan the roads. However, the community paid for the roads to benefit their own welfare.

    September 4, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. beevee

    it is very obvious to the american voters that Paul Ryan can look into your eyes and lie to you about everything. We cannot trust a guy as VP who will be lying to us and doing favors to his rich friends and keep the middle class at the bottom. Good bye Pinochio.

    September 4, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Morgan

    The reason why I will not vote Republican this year is two-fold and simple: the lies are spiraling to new heights, and those lies are more dangerous than ever. I cannot support an administration that rises to power on the strength of hatred and lies; I cannot stand behind a government that spews such patently false claims and fans the flames of xenophobia and hatred for women. This is not the Republican Party of my youth.This is not a Republican Party I can support.

    September 4, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. EffortPA

    After almost 4 years of Obama's presidency, is this the best the GOP can come up with? I guess Obama must be doing one heck of a job then.

    September 4, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. ghostriter

    tykl, where in that speech did Obama say that the factory would remain open under his policies? He never said that. Fox news reporters have pretty much said that all weekend. That pretty much makes the rest of that paragraph moot.

    And yes, finally a conservative admitting the facts about that statement. However, WE were able to build those things thru the govt acting on behalf of the community. Could WE have built roads and the like.....possibly. But not to the extent that we have. And could continue to do. However, if you would like to give that a shot, feel free.

    September 4, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Paul_I

    Doesn't it seem odd that it is only the bottom of the GOP ticket that has positions that draws significant discussion? Who is running the show?

    September 4, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Old Guy

    What exactly do the republicans want. First according to Romney they want "Let them of Bankrupt! The government should not get involved. Of course there was no capital available to assist the auto industry because the feds were bailing out the banks. The Obama Administration then against republican outcries got involved and got concessions from both Management and the Unions. The needed financing came in the form of stock purchases. The Republicans cried out that Obama was nationalizing the auto industry, the government should not be running the auto companies. The private sector knows better. Now the Auto Industry is coming back with many changes in the form of closings of certain lines of autos. Now the republicans do a 180 degree turn and blaming Obama for not dictating to the auto industry and telling them what plants they must keep open or close. What exactly is the correct action that the republicans desire. They complain we should not get involved and then complain we should have been involved.

    September 4, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. jbird68

    More lies. No, don't "read the speech", because what is on paper, is probably very different that what came out of the scheister's mouth!

    September 4, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. wonfish

    I'm still laughing my - off about Ryans claim to have run a marathon in less than 3 minutes. It wasn't a slip of the tongue, he restated it 3 times. He then said he had to give up running marathons - truth is he only ran one in his whole life.

    September 4, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. JGW

    Toby – The facts that make them untrustworthy

    Ryan writes legislations about Forcable Rape then claims rape is rape and there is no splitting hairs.
    Romney claims he never paid less then 13% in taxes but does not say if it includes, sales tax, propert taxes, state income tax or social security/medicare. Won't release taxes so we can see.
    Romney/Ryan claim that Obama dropped the work requirement for Welfare which is not true.
    The claim by Ryan that the Affordable Healthcare act will cost lots of money then wrote legislation to say every increase in spending has to be balanced by cuts else were except for the Affordable Healthcare act which would increase federal spending if it was repealled.

    September 4, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. normajean @ verizon ,com

    It was satisfactorily explained that this company had gone down and that our president had nothing to do with that nor any possibility of reopening it....How many times do these things have to be explained in the news media before people will stop laying everything wrong at Obamas feet.......Don't you people read anything but the sports pages and the comics????... As to Ryan....he's so used to putting his own spin on things that I wouldn't trust him to tell me what time it was!!!!

    September 4, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. ty

    who would have thought that ryan would be sooo much like sarah plain..tell lies. distort and then double down on it??? at least as a catholic he can go to confession in private and ask forgiveness for his lie and walk away guilt free and do it again.

    September 4, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. JDinHouston

    I find it interesting that Ryan did nothing to try to save the very plant he has accused Obama of closing. Janesville is his consituency, yet nothing seems to be on record of him trying to do anything in Congress or with the manufacturer to save the plant. If anyone failed, it is Ryan, he failed the people who voted for him.

    September 4, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Wake up People!

    This plant was already in the process of closing when President Obama made his statement. President Obama was sworn in January 20, 2009, the plant closed in March. Now I know a huge part of the GOP thinks President Obama walks on water and turns water into wine, but most of us know he is just a man. He does not own GM and his name is not God or Jesus. There are many things he has no control over.

    OBAMA 2012!

    Robmey and Ryan even bigger liars than Bush, Cheney, and Nixon combined.

    September 4, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. axb456

    Ryan has a point and his mention of plant is consistent with the overall theme of his speech. Obama has done a very poor job with the economy and hasn't come close to living up to his own promises. If you have been unemployed like I have been for a long time, there's no way you can vote for Obama. I'm looking for whomever can turn this thing around and take us back to an economy where our houses and our savings were growing in value, not shrinking.

    September 4, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. Independent jim

    what did Ryan do about the plant closeing. NOTHING .. did Romney and Ryan Lie or just mislead people into thinking Obama had anything to do with the plant closeing . why cant Romney disclose his tax returns .. what is he hideing ..doesnt he want the right to know about his dealings and the money he made with the Abortion waste Company sterisolutions .who are the evil ,ones here. I guess were in a much worse place because Republicans refused to work with the president to do any thing to help our economy and held fast to their Hell No to the American people and their condemnation of the killing of bin laden

    September 4, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. G.

    Ah, the post-9/11 Republican communcations playbook is still in use. As badly as the Republicans wanted to tie Iraq to 9/11, the knew they couldn't because it wasn't true. But they were sure to mention "9/11" and "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction" in the same sentence as much as possible. Now they're doing the same thing with Obama. They won't say "Barack Obama is reponsible for 3,000,000 delinquent mortgages", but rather "UNDER Obama, there are 3,000,000 delinquent mortgages". The two are not related. But sadly a large chunk of the American population lacks even the most basic critical-thinking skills to work this out.

    September 4, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. bill

    oh no a republican was bending the truth. OMG this is the worst thing I ever heard of. I cant believe they did that, its compleatly unheard of. no democrat would ever do such a thing especially not Obama....critics and haters, what you just saw was politics, plane and simple. both parties do it, no one is innocent, especially not the democrats. the only thing that this article shows is that Ryan can play ball.

    September 4, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. axb456

    I love the way commenters here blame Ryan for not keeping promises Obama made.

    September 4, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. J myer

    The lies continue – Ryan re-interprets what he said the first time to cover himself. He knows he lied and now he is trying to fix it but it won't work – we aren't that stupid.

    Just because Romney spoke about the war the day before at an American Legion doesn't mean that he didn't need to talk about it at his convention speech. The people at the convention didn't hear the American Legion speech. He should have spoken about the troops and the war at his "wonderful nomination speech." that was the most important time for him and he chose not to mention it. Big mistake!

    September 4, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. joe

    What part of "telling lies is a sin" did this "good Catholic" not understand?

    September 4, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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