Biden, Clinton tag team Romney claim on Jeep and China
October 29th, 2012
07:21 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden, Clinton tag team Romney claim on Jeep and China

Youngstown, Ohio (CNN) – It was like watching a tag team of a popular, political heavyweight and a scrappy contender against one fierce and determined opponent.

On Monday, former president Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden entered the arena - battleground Ohio - and launched a double whammy of pushback against a fresh, yet dubious, claim from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Among the duo's fighting words: essentially accusing Romney of stating "the biggest load of bull;" claiming the Republican nominee will say "anything to win;" and raising a question politicians reserve for only the most egregious arguments: "Have they no shame?"

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The Romney campaign has accused their opponents of "desperate arguments."

At issue: the Romney campaign's fresh assertion that President Obama's actions in the auto bailout caused carmaker Jeep to manufacture Jeeps in China.

A new Romney ad, running in Ohio, stated: "Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China." On Friday, Romney himself said: "I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers of this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China."

To that, Clinton swung first.

During a joint campaign rally with Biden in Youngstown, the 42nd president revealed a phone call he'd had with the president.

"I saw the reports of Gov. Romney's latest ad saying that the president had allowed Jeep to move to China," Clinton said. "And so this morning, before [Obama] left Florida and went back to Washington, he said, 'You know, of all the things Gov. Romney has said, that probably hurts my feelings the most'."

Clinton continued: "[Obama] said, 'You know, I never had any money when I was a kid. And the first new car I ever owned, I was 30 years old. And it was a Jeep. I would never move Jeep to China."

Clinton followed up the sentimental story with a hammer.

"Now it turns out, Jeep is reopening in China because they've made so much money here, they can afford to do it and they are going on with their plans here," Clinton said.

"They put out a statement today saying it was the biggest load of bull in the world that they would ever consider shutting down their American operations."

Though it did not exactly say "load of bull" – a Chrysler statement did characterize the Romney campaign's claim as false.

Chrysler Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Gualberto Ranieri wrote in an online posting: "Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China."

Biden, speaking after Clinton, also mounted a full court press.

"As we say in my faith, 'Bless me Father for I have sinned,'" Biden, a Catholic, mocked. "I mean, what are you talking about? I have never seen anything like that."

"It's an absolutely, patently false assertion."

Biden also referenced Chrysler's statement.

Yet in the next breath, he made an assertion that many politicians use sparingly.

"Ladies and gentlemen, have they no shame?" Biden said, lumping Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan together.

"Romney will say anything, absolutely anything to win, it seems."

Biden and Clinton also slammed Romney for, what the campaign asserts, are changing explanations over his initial opposition to the auto bailout.

They both referenced Romney's now famous 2008 op-ed, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

Though Romney argued for a managed bankruptcy at General Motors and Chrysler – and insists he did not favor letting the companies go out of business – his stance has been widely unpopular among many voters, especially some in Ohio, which relies heavily on the auto industry.

Clinton claimed Romney "ties himself in more knots than a Boy Scout in a knot tying contest" trying to explain his bailout stance.

Biden said: "This guy pirouettes more than a ballerina."

The Romney campaign was swift to respond.

"Today, Vice President Biden falsely claimed that Mitt Romney wanted to 'liquidate' the auto industry, and was dishonest about the Administration's own record," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement emailed to reporters. "Mitt Romney's support for loan guarantees and warranties for the U.S. auto industry is clear."

"The Obama campaign is less concerned with engaging in a meaningful conversation about his failed policies and more concerned with arguing against facts about their record they dislike. Ohioans see these desperate arguments for what they are, and will choose Governor Romney's positive agenda over President Obama's increasingly desperate attacks."

The statement did not directly respond to Clinton and Biden's slams against the Romney campaign's claim about Jeep moving operations to China.

The rally was a headline event given the Obama campaign's cancellations of other rallies due to Hurricane Sandy.

Both men opened their remarks on that note.

Referring to the president's abrupt Florida trip, Clinton said: "[Obama] got up this morning and called me and said, 'I got to go back right now. This storm's getting out of hand. I got to handle it.' And I said, 'Mr. President, that is the right call'."

Biden also explained the president's change of plans.

"Folks, I know you were expecting the real president…I just want you to know he asked me to express his regrets for not being able to be here. But you know, he's doing the job a president should be doing."

"First and foremost, on behalf of the president, I want to thank all the first responders throughout this country. You know, there are folks from all over America heading to my part of the world to the East Coast to help now. They're coming from all over. There's folks from Ohio heading east. There's a whole lot of folks all over the country. And it's further evidence…that when America stands together we're all better off."

Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Ohio
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. fernace

    Yep, that's about right! Romney is tying himself in knots & spinning more pirouettes than a ballerina, because he has Romnesia–amnesia of convenience! Or you can call it like the President did in Rolling Stone, Romney is a bs'er! He's a multi-millionaire w/his new hobby, being the president of a country! I just wish he'd pick Another country, not ours! His extreme ideas, shared by his extreme GOT-Party folk will be the end of the land of the free, home of the brave w/liberty & justice for all! That will belong to the 1%, because they truly want to take America back–to 1912! All for them, scraps for us! Forward to the Future, Obama/Biden 12!

    October 30, 2012 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  2. frederic h young

    Romney has no shame and completely lacks personal integrity. He will say anything to become president. The typical consultants modus operandi is to tell them anything to close the deal. Be aware of what you are voting for and how you will live with it afterwards.

    October 30, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  3. Monica K

    Romney will say anything to win. I hope Tagg gets to see that his Father is the liar Obama called him. And this is a man of his Church?? I am always shocked at the people who talk the talk but don't walk it!!

    October 30, 2012 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  4. John Q. Public

    "Mitt Romney's support for loan guarantees and warranties for the U.S. auto industry is clear."

    Yup, "loan guarantees"! For loans that No One was able or willing to give – except President Obama.
    Romney's "plan" would have decimated the workers! And, assuming the jobs ever came back, they'd all find themselves working for a pittance afterwards! Mitt Romney's "plan" was not to let the auto plants in Detroit go completely under, his "plan" was actually a plan to bankrupt the working class people of Detroit!!

    October 30, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  5. Lexycon22

    "Shift" Romney has never held an opinion he wouldn't change. It is almost impossible to pin him on anything because 5 minutes ago, he didn't believe in it.

    Is he taxing the rich? Is he not? Is he for that ACA? or not? Does he favor a managed bailout? or oppose it?

    How can we vote for someone who refuses to stand still and espouse a belief? ANY belief!!!!

    October 30, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  6. RQ

    What? Did Bain Capital buy Chrysler?

    October 30, 2012 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  7. stallionne

    Thats what politicians do, they say anything to win....Romney is just a new case in broken records. This country must really hate Obama for romney to do as well as he is doing. I am not sure anymore if he really doesnt know his stance or is a sociopath...either way, not a president material. I wld take mccain anyday over this guy...jeeze, I wld take least with her we know what we are going to get: stupid and consistent.

    October 30, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  8. TimM

    "...And it's further evidence…that when America stands together we're all better off." Whoever wrote this line for Biden has it absolutely correct. The real question is, why does it take a natural disaster for the Politicians in Washington to want to 'stand together'? The U.S. is facing a real disaster that is man-made (fiscal cliff), but the only way they want to stand together in DC is only if you stand on my platform. Guess what, to fix the man-made disaster, we need to reverse the course we have been on in the last few decades. We need to raise taxes and cut spending on stupid stuff. If we are going to regain the 'Greatest Country in the World' that we once were.

    October 30, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  9. Jerry

    One of our most respected and successful presidents in American history has become just a simple lap dog for the Obamboozler. Now, he has even adopted some of HIS lies and is drinking some of HIS spiked Kool Aid.

    Hillary 2016?! I don't think so!!!

    October 30, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Americans have to be out or their mind to even consider Mitt Romney as president. He lies about everything and you can't trust him about anything.

    October 30, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  11. John

    I am not a liberal and believe myself to be very conservative. I will not be voting for any Republicans in the local or national elections because of their consistently unethical behavior. The end does not justify the means and a man of character does not lie.

    October 30, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  12. Bev

    you know obama is in trouble when he has to hve bill clinton hit the campain trail for him who in their right mind would want a president who ignored libya & as a result 4 americans are dead obama should be impeached he is suppose to be president for all americans wherever they may be. shame on you obama how can you sleep at night? Romney 2012

    October 30, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  13. ghost

    Anytime a man says he would do anything to become President he is automatically disqualified from that position. That tells me he will LIE, CHEAT, and STEAL. Mitt has done it all. Check his record. Congress(Repugs) is worse. They committed TREASON in order to win. They were put in place to help America and its people. Yet, they have done everything can do to hurT America and its people in hopes of getting rid of the President. It is time to get rid of them, once and for all. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    October 30, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  14. Matthew Durr

    Is this truly the best we have to offer for the Presidency of The United States

    October 30, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  15. Danile6

    too late fellas-how did Paul Simon put it?? "Slip sliding away !!! "

    October 30, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  16. Cap'n Rita

    Whaaaat?!?! Romney spewing bold-faced lies to get votes? This huckster changes the facts more than his magic underwear.
    As a devoted Jeep owner it sickens me that he would even drag the Company into his desperate campaign.

    October 30, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  17. phildon31

    What is funny is that romney would say anything to get in the office but let it be known

    October 30, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
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