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. habte

    I love America! I love president Clinton! I love vice president Biden!

    October 29, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. mulwillie

    The fact that Romney is still running the ad, after hearing from Chrysler that it is not true, speaks loudly to the honesty of this man who wants to be president.
    To charge anyone else with dishonesty, when your lack of truthfulness is on display every time this ad is run, takes guts but not the kind that should get respect from anyone.

    October 29, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  3. Mike Texoma

    The bailout would not have worked without federal loans and loan guarantees, and that was what Mr. Romney found so wrong about that strategy.

    October 29, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  4. John

    Chrysler, GM, Government Motors!! I was a Jeep owner. I have had 3 of them. NEVER AGAIN!!! It will be a cold day in hell before I buy either one of them again!! I'll buy a FORD!! I would'nt beleive a word Clinton, Obama, Biden OR Jeep said!!!

    October 29, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  5. Fourmoreyears

    Character matters and Mitt gone none!!

    October 29, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  6. Andybinga

    From a Bloomberg article on 10/22/12: Fiat SpA (F), majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC, plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in that country, according to the head of both automakers’ operations in the region. Romney is telling the truth.

    October 29, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  7. Fourmoreyears

    Mitt got no shame, will say can anyone trust this man?

    October 29, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  8. john

    Again and again Mr Romney continues to prove why he is not to be trusted and not to be the man we want in the white house. Lies are ingrained in everything he says and does. I have no need for a blatened liar like him. I've had to deal with folk like him all my life and I certainly don't want one in such a position of power. It scares the Heck out of me to think he has the keys to our nukes.

    October 29, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  9. Tim

    This is another example of the old adage, "A lie can make it three fourths of the way around the world before the truth gets up in the morning." The Romney campaign knows the jeep story was a mis-truth all along but had decided up front to attack the obama folks for being desparate if they called them on it.

    October 29, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  10. Tim

    Pres Obama "...would never move Jeep to China."? that's great! too bad he's not the president of Fiat, which owns Chrysler (and therefore Jeep).

    October 29, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  11. james

    Any reason why they aren't suspending campaigning during the storm?

    October 29, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. rockychance

    I am sure Clinton would say it depends of your definiton of "Is" as to whether Jeep in moving to China Folks, we have heard the Clinton bull before so to believe him is a laugh-ask the lady in the oval office and I do not mean Hillary.

    October 29, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. NoKidding

    How embarassing that Jeep has to correct Romney on that lie... but what's even more funny is that Romney's own company Bain Capital has just announced plans to shut down their Sansata Technologies plant in IL and shipping all of its jobs to China, and we didn't hear a peep from Romney about that. What's up, Romney? A case of selective amnesia??

    October 29, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. Ray James

    Romney got it partly wrong...according to Bloomberg, Fiat is moving American production back to Italy, and Chinese cars will be made in China. Still leaves the American workers out in the cold.

    October 29, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  15. LC

    United we stand or divided we will fall Obama will stand with us all not 47% of us 100%.

    October 29, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  16. Jenkins

    I am so tired of Romney and his lame comments to attack our President. He and Ryan have not given a clue to how they are going to keep there promises. What a shame!! Obama/Biden 2012 hopefully by a landslide!

    October 30, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  17. Jenkins

    I am so tired of Romney and his lame comments to attack our President. He and Ryan have not given a clue to how they are going to keep their promises. What a shame!! Obama/Biden 2012 hopefully by a landslide!

    October 30, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  18. Fact Checker

    In other words, Romney is a liar.

    October 30, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  19. Anthony

    Romney wanted the auto industry to go into bankruptcy without government financing. There was no other source of financing, because the banks were broke too. Loan guarantees were useless because no banks would or could provide the loans. Without financing, the auto companies would have gone out of business completely. The auto industry in the U.S. would have died. Romney can lie, but he can't hide.

    October 30, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  20. Allen

    Mr. Obama ... the perfect US President.

    October 30, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  21. Uncle Lindy

    Biden apparently has no shame in the street language he uses...whatever happened to statesmanship?

    October 30, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  22. Thomas

    They are both right on !
    Mitt Romney will say or do anything to get in the White House.

    Not since Nixon has there been such deception and false statements made by a candidate.

    Ok maybe GW Bush along with Ralph Reed and Karl Rove.

    October 30, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  23. Armani

    Whoever supports a man like Romney has no shame.
    This man has insulted every one of us, yet somehow people still support him.
    It's insane.
    It's like you guys are brainwashed.
    I get it, Obama isn't perfect, but when it comes down to it the choice is clear.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    October 30, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  24. L. Cupo

    There are some worried Democrats in America.
    They have gone rogue negative because they have nothing positive to offer.
    As the polls are showing, Americans don't buy the negativity. Their eyes and ears were wide open during the debates and the reports about Benghazi.
    Some big egos named Obama, Biden and Clinton will come crashing to the ground on November 6.

    October 30, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  25. John Q.Public

    "Romneys positve agenda" ?? Lyingly accusing the President of forcing JEEP to move to China when JEEP's SVP says it's completey false is a POSITIVE AGENDA??? May I say it more likely falls under "increasingly desparate attacks". Americans in key states had better get out and vote this con man away or we might wake up to the Biggest Liar in the History of politics as our Commander in Chief.

    October 30, 2012 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
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