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Ear to the Ground

Ryan Backpedals on GM Plant Closure Remark (Video)

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Posted on Sep 4, 2012
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Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is backtracking on a claim he made during his Republican National Convention speech last week that essentially blamed President Obama for a GM plant closure that happened under former President George W. Bush. It was just one of a handful of falsehoods Ryan told during the speech.

Now, Ryan says he used the anecdote to show how Obama didn’t keep his 2008 campaign promises.

Here’s what Ryan told NBC’s “Today” on Tuesday morning: “What they are trying to suggest is that I said Barack Obama was responsible for the plant shutdown in Janesville. That is not what I was saying; read the speech. What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for his broken promises. After the plant was shut down he said he would lead efforts to restore the plant. It’s still idle.”

Yet, once again, Ryan’s got it wrong. Obama did not promise that he would keep the plant open if elected, and in fact, that’s plainly stated in the quote Ryan used in his speech.

Here’s what Ryan said: “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. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”

In the statement, Obama clearly said the plant could stay open with government help. That’s obviously not the same thing as promising he would keep the plant open if he was elected president. The GM plant in Janesville, Wis., subsequently shut down at the end of December 2008, after Obama was elected but before he took office.

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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