Ryan renews defense of GM plant claim
September 4th, 2012
09:12 AM ET
10 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. Vic or New York

    Lying Paul Ryan is no surprise..... This is the fellow who ran a Marathon in under 3 hrs! What was it "two – something"?

    Opps... Runners World Magazine looked up the time. Seems like Lying Ryan ran that race in more than 4hrs !

    What's the matter Lying Paul Ryan? Forgot people keep records these day? Thinking about lying about your college grades too? What's that? You also have a PHd in Astro-Physics and Pole Vaulted a record at the '87 Olympics?


    September 4, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. linda

    boy this man will spin it either way till it sticks.....he did say it was Obama's fault.....now he says he didn't....Romney and Ryan will say anything, tell any lie, flip flop on their lies, and then make up more lies......This man now doesn't even talk like the same man before being made VP for the GOP ticket.....he talks completely different from the way he voted.....if they are this bad now, God forbid what he and Romney will be like if elected.....they don't have anything to run on except lies.....half truths and untruths............they don't have my vote that's for sure.

    September 4, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. v_mag

    Paul "Lyin" Ryan has earned his nickname with that convention speech, and he continues to earn it every day. He hasn't earned the vice presidency, though.

    September 4, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Wes B.

    This man has no shame.

    September 4, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. runphas7

    WOW! That Ryan has an answer for everything. How is he defending himself about lying about his marathon time? A runner that embellishes his running time loses his credibility.

    September 4, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Jeff Tyre

    Let me get this straight- Republicans are notoriously adverse to government intervention... Mitt himself penned an Op-Ed arguing that the government should let Detroit go under. And now Ryan is blaming Obama for not stepping in and forcing GM's hand to keep a plant in Wisconsin running? GM makes it's own decisions as to which plants will remain open and which will close- not the Government. If I didn't know any better, I would say Ryan is advocating socialism! I understand he is trying to point out 'broken promises', but he really picked a terrible example to illustrate his point.

    September 4, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. Joan

    So Ryan is saying that the Democrats took something out of context and inferred something that he didn't mean. Is that sort of like the Republicans taking the "didn't build that" phrase and applying it to small business owners instead of what the President really said which was that the small businesses needed backing from infrastructure, loans, etc. in order to start up and survive. No business can survive in a vacuum.

    September 4, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. R Holland

    Obama promised to keep the plant open and around for another hundred years. Ryan told the truth why can't you liberal/progressive understand that.

    September 4, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. adam

    i sort of liked ryan, but now i know for sure he's a flat out liar....losing votes by the second.

    September 4, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. PAW

    Mr. Ryan, if you have to explain what you were really saying, then you misspoke on purpose so that you could get more face time in the media to explain your remarks. This allows you to continue to pound home what you hope voters will consider the truth, but which are really exaggerations and inaccuracies. A campaign tool that Republicans are quite good at is based on the theory that if you tell someone a lie more than three times, they will believe it. Another trick is to vote "no" or block everything the president has tried to do to strengthen the economy, then turn around and blame the president for the condition of the economy. It's astounding. I use to respect both parties, but when Republicans were taken over by the Tea Party, the Koch brothers, Adelson, and others, they gave up all pretense of respectability.

    September 4, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. levi

    Since when did Obama become the CEO of GM?

    September 4, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. amlcpamaine

    Simple GOP tactic: lie. When caught in a lie, lie some more. Keep repeating and repeating and count on the 11% or so of the population to believe you, rant for you, and repeat the lie. Then, encouraged by the 11%, lie some more.

    September 4, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. Bob, NY

    I hope they reserve a warmer corner of Hades...for lying lawyers. This is a great example of what is wrong with the world today!

    September 4, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Gabbo

    The slow-moving avalanche of voters moving over to support Romney and Ryan has begun, and will pick up both speed and intensity over the next two months. OWE bama is gonna get shellacked.

    September 4, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. scarf

    If one defines a lie as an attempt to mislead, rather than an actual factual falsehood (as some people so define a lie), then Ryan lied.

    September 4, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. bcm

    "The plant was shut down and is still idle." Gee, I wonder what the status would have been had Mitt had his way and let the auto industry go bankrupt?

    September 4, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. Vic or New York

    Lying Paul Ryan at it again....

    "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.


    WOW, LYING RYAN THAT'S SOME EXTENSIVE TREATMENT...... Typical of the concern or interest Ryan / Romney have for our troops.

    September 4, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. Tim

    Ryan, "Don't bother me with the facts, details ... oh, and trust me, my budget is best for the country."

    September 4, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. MaryM

    Lyin Ryan and the GOP lying machine. Lincoln is turning over in his grave at what the once honorable party, the Repubs have become.

    September 4, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Romney and Ryan have built their campaign around lies and distortions. Americans should know the character of the person is reflected in these decisions. Where are their tax returns? They are dishonest politicians whop want us to "trust them".

    September 4, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Adam

    I fail to see where President Obama promised to re-open the plant if it shut down.

    September 4, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. mcjetfighter

    Are you kidding me! A candidate goes to a plant that is still open and promises he will reopen it! What kind of twisted con job is this guy pulling now? He lies about his lies. And he does it blatantly and with confidence. The American electorate can't be so dumb, so stupid to elect someone who lies to its face about something that is easily verifiable. What going to happen when it comes to things that can't be verified. How are you going to believe him? We can't allow these liars to get to the White House

    September 4, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. smithdp

    This boy is shady. He says Obama is to blame for not reopening the plant. The decision to close the plant was made 7 months before Obama took office and Obama never said anything about reopening it. How could he have even known that the Bush recession would take the plant down at that time. I officially dub the Romney/Ryan ticket the Shady Boys.

    September 4, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Flip Flop Jr

    No No No what i meant to say was he didn't close it, it's just the POTUS fault for not forcing GM to reopen 1 plant. This guy is starting to sound like a real whiner.

    September 4, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. smithdp

    Marathon boy needs to start getting his facts straight.

    September 4, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
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