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. Tony in Maine

    Ryan and Romney. Do they get lawyers to write their speeches. There's always a loophole to wriggle through in the event someone says they're lying. The trouble is, their intent was to make people believe that – in this case – President Obama was responsible for the plant closure. Someone who took 30 seconds to think about that would say that it was GM, but assume it happened while President Obama was in office. Think a minute or two and you know it happened when Dubya was on duty. Of course Ryan tossed in a few little tiny holes to slide through like the weasel he is.

    September 4, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Mary

    He is saying his half-truths and lies are correct. Even Fox News called him up on it. When will politicians learn not to lie when the fast news and ability to search will get people catch up to their lies?

    Google this:
    "Fox News' Sally Kohn: Paul Ryan's RNC Speech 'Was Attempt To Set World Record For Blatant Lies' "

    September 4, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Karl Jonas

    Ryan's nose is getting longer by the minute.

    September 4, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, what does Ryan want? Does he want goverment out of business; let them do as they want to pay poor wages and pollute and do little to protect the country? In this case, it sounds like he wants government to step in and mandate one place open over another. There was no promise to hold a place open. There was a request and hope that it would.

    September 4, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. spenteco

    Ryan is a liar. Pres. Obama said he would lead efforts to achieve clean energy. Hew is. On another smear by ryan. He and Mittens repeatedly smear Pres. Carter. Carter served as a U.S.Navy officer for a decade before serving as a Ga. senator and governor. He was elected POTUS and served after war criminal GOP Pres. Nixon, my commander-in-chief.There is no doubt those were hard times in America, but the point is, Mr. Carter served. He was the Naval officer in charge at the Chalk River nuclear facility that nearly melted down. He put his life on the line and successfully led his team in shutting down the reactor. Just exactly when did the deserter Mittens or Ryan, a true slopper at the public trough, serve anyone other than themselves? They will never see the Oval Office.

    September 4, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Greg

    "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." And just what does candidate Ryan think that President Obama should have done to reopen the plant? What about Romney who was directly responsible for closing many companies? What a tool.

    September 4, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    A couple FACTS:

    1. President Obama's speech in Janesville happened in February 2008.
    2. The decision to close the plant was made in June 2008.
    3. It was effectively shut down on Dec. 23, 2008.
    4. George W. Bush was President in 2008.
    5. President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009.

    And here's a nice quote from pro-Ryan Republican John Beckord, the leader of the local Janesville business-development organization. In response to a reporter asking him if there was some project where Ryan’s anti-government views conflicted with the needs of local business, he said, “I suppose there could have been a full-court press to just cobble together as much federal money as possible on our behalf to make it irresistible for G.M. to keep this plant open.”

    What did Ryan do to keep the plant open, perhaps by trying to get federal money to do so? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

    September 4, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Paul Ryan has no integrity or credibility whatsoever. He voted for a seperate bailout of the auto industry under Bush after voting for the TARP bailout of Wall Street Banks who's CEO's used the federal aid to throw corporate parties and dish out million dollar bonuese to their colleagues while the middle class and the poor struggle to make end meet. But he opposed the auto bailout under President Obama while stressing fiscal responsibility and accusing the President of wasteful spending. So had the President called for additional aid to rescue the Wisconsin plant, would Paul Ryan have supported that bailout or continue to accuse the President of reskless spending? Hypocrisy and lies...hypocrisy and lies...hypocrisy and lies...hypocrisy and lies...hypocrisy and lies...

    September 4, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    The GOP/Tea Party presidential ticket has a trust problem. Romney can't be trusted because he is hiding something in his tax returns. Ryan can't be trusted because he has a problem with making up lies. He can't even talk about something simple like his personal best marathon running time without lying. There is a big difference between finishing in under three hours and over 4 hours. How can America trust these two to restore the economy when they can't be trusted to tell the truth?

    September 4, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Reject Repugs

    ryan is so corrupt he makes mittens look credible- and that's hard to do!

    September 4, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. LegalizeReason

    "Ryan quoted Obama as saying "if our government is there to support you ... this plant will be here for another hundred years."

    Were you Mr. Ryan and the rest of the GOP obstructionists there to support the plant being kept open? Read the speech, Mr. Arrogance.

    September 4, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. RN

    I thought the GOP wanted less government and less government intervention in business.
    If you expected President Obama to step in and reopen that plant – or order the reopening of that plant – then you must support Greater intervention of government in business operations.
    So, Mr Ryan, do you want the bigger government or a smaller one?
    It appears you want whatever will be opposed to President Obama, not because of any ideas you have to make things better.
    This is pathetic.

    September 4, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Mike

    This guy talks out of so many different holes in his head, it's amazing his hypocritical brain isn't leaking all over his shirt.

    September 4, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Yolie Scott

    Paul Ryan keeps blaming President Obama for the closure of the GM plant in his hometown, why didn't his cronies the Republicans put their money into opening the plant as they promised jobs for everybody. He is so full of it, nothing but a chronic liar and complainer when it comes to his party.

    September 4, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. MrUniteUs

    What was that marathon time again?

    September 4, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. FedUp

    Exactly. If Obama had been the President he was supposed to be, that plant would have stayed open. He said it would be open for another 100 years. Didn't happen. Maybe, just maybe, politicians should stop maklng "promises" they can't keep.

    September 4, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. V

    Mr. Ryan. Splitting hairs as you are trying to do here is not going to work. You can not blame the President for the closing of a plant that was determined before he took office. What you can "Thank" him for, it the thousands and thousands of jobs he did help save when he helped the auto industry, which by the way, ended up turning a profit for the government.

    Please note that we are paying attention and your lies are not going to fly!

    September 4, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. kakaraka

    This guy is total nonsense. Obama provided assistance for GM. It's up to the management to decide what plant to utilize and what quantity to produce based on market demand. Obama does not make a management decision for GM on which plant to open and which one to iddle. Paul Ryan is a disgrace to the intellectual people which he's silly reasoning.

    September 4, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Pedro

    My question to Paul Ryan is "What did HE do to help restart that plant?" Isn't it in his district?

    September 4, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Does Ryan not realize that we heard him make the speech he is now attempting to clarify. During the speech he made it sound like Obama closed the plant

    Clarification is Republican for "I got caught in a lie and now I have to lie again to defend it" Lies in his speeches. Lies about what his budget proposal will do to women. Even lies about his physical accomplishments in the past.

    Great choice Mitt. Ryan fits right in with with you and your campaign.

    September 4, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. Gezellig

    "The point is he filled people with hope traveling around the country running for president making grandiose promises which are not true."

    Oh please.... grandiose promises are all we are getting from Romney and Ryan; except for their nebulous Economic Plan to Nowhere.

    September 4, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. NC_Mike

    And I have just one question for Mr. Ryan: Are you saying A President should dictate what a private company does regarding its operations? Is that the kind of Big Government you advocate? You can't have it both ways!

    September 4, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. Dave - Phx

    Wow Obama owns GM now, and decides when and what plants open and close. Amazing. Maybe Obama will give me a raise in my corporation too! He surely must run that also, right?

    September 4, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. Wraith

    Not sure how he justifies his incorrect statements. What I got from his speech, seems to be what everyone else got. He lied on a number of issues, and the closing of the plant was a major reinventing of history. How on earth could you blame our current president for what occurred prior to him getting into office. Now he is back tracking on his statements, he does not even have the spine to stick to his guns.

    September 4, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. M.E.

    Ryans continued spin on an out right lie is the reason as an independent I am voting for Obama. He continues to lie and can not just say I was wrong. I guess that's what you get from the Republican party. I'm not saying the democrates are much better but they at least most of the time acknowlege their mistake. Ryan just keeps spinning the lie. Wake up Ryan, Obama was not president at the time. As president today he can not tell companies like GM to reopen their plant its up to GM.

    September 4, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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