Ex-Janesville GM plant employee: Paul Ryan ‘ought to be ashamed of himself’

Updated
By Versha Sharma

Unique in their unanimity, for once, mainstream and more opinionated media outlets have been calling out Paul Ryan for the multiple distortions in his speech to the Republican National Convention Wednesday night. One assertion has received a little more attention than the rest: Ryan’s charge that Obama is to blame for the closing of the GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.

One problem: the plant closed all but a few last operations on December 23, 2008 - and Obama was inaugurated as President in January 2009.

Though the fact-check articles have piled up, The Ed Show went one step further on Friday night. The best fact checkers are “the people actually given notice they were losing their jobs,” said host Ed Schultz, who brought a former Janesville GM plant worker on the show.

Brad Dutcher, an employee who was at the meeting when then-Senator Obama spoke inside the plant, said Obama “had nothing to do with the decision to close our factory.” He also said “there was never a promise made…to keep our plant open. That is completely false.”

Four years after the closing of the plant, Janesville families are still feeling the effects. “We still have families that are separated, we have moms and dads that drive 4, 5 states away that come home on the weekends to see their families,” said Dutcher. “To turn this plant closing into a political football is shameful, and he [Paul Ryan] ought to be ashamed of himself.” The crowd behind him cheered and affirmed that comment, an audience comprised of people holding pro-union placards.

Schultz also pointed out another key date before the plant closure: November 18, 2008, when Mitt Romney wrote the now-infamous “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed column.

Dutcher took issue with one more Ryan fiction. “When our congressman made the remark that nobody in Wisconsin benefited from those auto loans, it’s absolutely false. I have a lot of retirees behind me that still collect the pension they earned because of those auto loans,” he said. At his statement, the crowd erupted into cheers and applause. 

“This entire room is full of Obama supporters,” he told Schultz.

Paul Ryan and Barack Obama

Ex-Janesville GM plant employee: Paul Ryan 'ought to be ashamed of himself'

Updated