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. Dan

    So, if Ryan is OK to suggest that Obama's broken promises closed that plant then it's pefectly OK for that other super pac to suggest Mitt Romney killed a woman, right?

    September 4, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. crush

    So he's saying Obama is not responsible for the plant closing, but that he didn't put enough republican hated stimulus money into it to build it back up. I am very confused by some of the Republican messages.

    September 4, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Didn't Paul Ryan vote against helping GM at all? Did Ryan propose anything to help the Isuzu plant from closing?

    General Motors had far too many models spread across far too small a market share. At it's peak, GM had around 40 consumer models spread across some 6 brands pulling down a 40% market share. By 2008, GM had over 90 consumer models spread across some 12 brands pulling down a 15% market share.

    September 4, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. independent

    If you say the World is flat enough times, and have all the sound-bite flunkies parsing every word, some people will believe you – even though it is absolutely false. What Ryan said is false. He can parse it all he wants. It is just like when he lied about the marathon running exploits, sub-3 minute marathon. He figured no one would be able to find out the truth. Runner's World was able to track down his record and he was over 4 hours on that marathon.

    You might not call being 33% wrong on his running time significant. I think that Ryan is demonstrating a pattern of making things up to suit the moment. Clearly, he has only a fleeting acquaintance with integrity, if at all.

    September 4, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Paul Ryan is an individual who aspires to live in a fictional society that he read in a book as a teenager.

    September 4, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Skeeve

    Dear republicans, you kinda have to figure out what you want: If you want a super-micromanaging government where a president should be responsible for each and every factory in this country then Obama is to blame. However, I've heard somewhere that you want smaller government, and you don't want government to participate in business decision. So, which is it? Last time I checked Obama was not a GM CEO....

    September 4, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Tommy

    I am still waiting for Romney to release his tax returns.

    September 4, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. ritmocojo

    Lyin' Ryan at it again we see.

    September 4, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. rosaadriana

    GOP time travel in action again. or maybe this time it is the if you say something enough times it becomes true thing.

    September 4, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. High Way

    Very dangerous should people that lies and distort facts go to power. Remember the McCarthy era where facts and truth were distorted to go on a communist witch hunt? In this era its not a communist witch hunt but ideological witch hunt. The radical Republicans do not have an open mind for alternate opinions. Its very dangerous for democracy.

    September 4, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. noteaparty4me

    The simplest to the point title for this article is :Paul Ryan LIED The vice presidential candidate chosen by Mitt Romney is a bold faced liar. We already know Mitt Romney is lying about something in his taxes so they are a perfect match. End of story.

    September 4, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. BillSD33

    anyone one else note that Ryan became a true conservative between Nov, 2008 and Jan, 2009. After voting for both wars, medicare-d, rich tax cuts, he became a fiscal conservative when Obama was elected. Kind of like the guy who buys a new car, golf clubs, and takes expensive trips, then tells the family they can't spend any money!!

    September 4, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. JB

    Let alone the GM plant, isnt this fellow interested in getting rid of the Education department? What is the difference between him and those folks north of Pakistan who were killing all the intelectuals before the US troops landed there?

    September 4, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Steve

    Please remove head from . The point that was being made was that Obama throws around empty
    promises to get votes. Many politicians practice this art. Obama however is a master at it and no one in the press
    questions him when he never even tries to deliver.

    September 4, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Lisa P


    So Obama is lying. What else is new?
    September 4, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am
    What's new is that someone is finally calling the GOP on their lies about Obama lying. Who'da guessed it? So now you have the choice that Paul Ryan claimed his dad gave him: you can be part of the solution or part of the problem. It appears little Paulie chose to be part of the problem, if we can even believe his story about his dad. After all, Paulie can't seem to get what Obama said straight, either, even though someone recorded it and wrote it down.

    September 4, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. v_mag

    @NC_Mike said: "I get to cast a vote that will affect the outcome of this election more so than most"
    I agree with much of what you said, but doesn't it bother you that your vote counts more than mine? I live in Texas. I might as well vote for Mickey Mouse as either of the Big Party candidates, since no matter what I do, Romney will walk off with all Texas' electoral votes.

    In point of fact, my vote is totally meaningless unless I use it as a protest and vote third party, which I will do. That is not a democratic system, and all of us should be outraged about it. It leads to horrors like the election of Bush in 2000 with a minority of the popular vote, which led to 2 wars, 911, and near-depression.

    September 4, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Bill, NY

    This is all very amusing considering it comes from the party that wanted GM to fail so that they could blame Obama for that too.

    September 4, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. anon-i-mouse

    There is the 'literal text truth' of the speach and the clear deceipt that was intended by the context. He was clearly trying to leave the impression that the plant closed BECAUSE of Obama. That is no different than him saying it outright. The man is deceitful and I have no trush or reapect for him.

    September 4, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. James AL

    "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive." All the backpeddling and re-explaining in the world cannot change the "LIES" Ryan told on last Wednesday about the president. The lies that Ryan/Romney and the republicans are telling about the president confirms that they will do ANYTHING to defeat President Obama. Republicans are one gray-hair short of third world barbarism.

    September 4, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Hotdog

    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. This truly pathetic and this guy has been nominated for VPOTUS. So now the POTUS has the responsibility of re-opening a private business entity that was closed because of the down turn of the economy. How about two wars that were not paid for and the pharmaceutical bill that was not paid for and passed by the previous administration? He took no exception to any of the economical issues that Bush proposed.

    September 4, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Martin

    I saw the interviews (CNN, NBC), read the speech transcript. I don't see any lying there. He didn't say that Obama closed the plants. He only was making a case that Obama failed to deliver on his promise. I don't see the connection that people make that he SAID or IMPLIED that Obama closed the plant. Where's the lie in it?

    September 4, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. yogi

    @ NC_Mike.
    Wow mike! Are you going to be the next king of the USA? All of us will bow to thee.

    September 4, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Barbwire

    I love hearing from the independent voter – though I am affiliated with a party I respect and recognize the power the independent voter has. I agree, and since this voter will do more discovery on their own, then I have no problem saying that it will be Obama 2012, because if you are reading between the lines, and vetting the information then you know too who would best suit the country that has suffered under GOP- yes the growth is slow, but the key word is "growth", just how does one turn around 8 years (of wars, growing debt, eductation cuts, etc.etc.) in 4 years when the goal of the other party (as they have publically claimed) is to set the current president back! Yet, things have turned around and will continue to get better if we keep moving FOWARD ....

    September 4, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Vic or New York

    NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In a dramatic narrative that could upstage this week’s Democratic National Convention, Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) gave reporters today a detailed account of the fateful day he killed Osama bin Laden.

    Mr. Ryan said that he was revealing his role as the triggerman who felled the Al Qaeda leader to “set the record straight,” explaining that he had remained silent about his mission until now, because “I don’t like to brag.”

    The Republican Vice-Presidential nominee painted a portrait of a Paul Ryan few know, a man who trained for missions with SEAL Team Six while somehow finding time to cut key provisions of Medicare.

    The Wisconsin Congressman said he was doing sit-ups in the House of Representatives cloakroom when he got the call to deploy for his mission to Abbottabad, and hours later found himself face to face with the world’s most wanted man.
    “Osama got one look at me and he ran like a bat out of hell,” he said. “It’s times like that that I’m glad I can run a hundred meters in 9.58 seconds.”

    As for the perfect shot between the eyes that nailed bin Laden, Mr. Ryan called it “just another day at the office.”
    “You don’t want to get too full of yourself because of a thing like this,” he said. “I had a job to do, and I did it. It was very satisfying to see all my SEAL training come together. And it was great practice for the day I got Qaddafi.”

    September 4, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. works for me

    Of course Lyin Ryan will defend what he said. Do you think he'd be a man and say ooops? My mistake...
    Our mistake is letting him AND Romney get away with the lies and deceit they have been.
    I won't be making any mistakes come November. I have a clear and vivid memory when it comes to the GOP and what they did (or didn't do) to make me switch parties.

    September 4, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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