Critics pounce on Lyin’ Ryan’s RNC repeat of GM plant lie

Updated

Nobody is forgetting about Paul Ryan’s lies from last night’s vice presidential acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa – especially the one trying to link President Barack Obama to the closing of a General Motors plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.

“There’s no delicate way to say this. Last night, Paul Ryan lied – repeatedly, knowingly and brazenly,” Stephanie Cutter, the communications director for President Barack Obama, told reporters today. 

“When the speechwriters came in and said, ‘Now, Paul Ryan, we want you to say Barack Obama closed that GMC plant in Janesville,’ he should have stopped them and said, ‘That isn’t true. That’s not going to be in my first important speech of my political career.’ But he left it in,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated Ryan’s claim ”false.” 

“When Wisconsin needed him most, Paul Ryan turned his back on us, repeatedly voting against legislation aimed at helping displaced workers,” said Ron McInroy, director of UAW Region 4, which covers Wisconsin.

“He voted to cut unemployment insurance (UI) and voted against extending UI several times when protection was what Janesville workers needed most.”

Here’s what Ryan said last night:

“My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.”

Then-presidential candidate Obama did visit the Janesville plant on February 13, 2008, and spoke about the need for government investment in alternative energy.  But he did not promise to keep the plant open:

“I know how hard your governor has fought to keep jobs in this plant. But I also 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 retool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.”

Of course, this was several months before the financial panic triggered by the fall of Lehman Brothers (Sept. 15, 2008) and Romney’s call of “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” (Nov. 18, 2008). 

The GM Janesville plant closed on Dec. 23, 2008, one month before Obama was inaugurated as president (Jan. 20, 2009). 

Obviously, any suggestion that Obama had anything to do with the closing of GM Janesville is false.  

Paul Ryan and Barack Obama

Critics pounce on Lyin' Ryan's RNC repeat of GM plant lie

Updated