President Obama has taken significant steps to protect jobs in Wisconsin’s paper industry and strengthen clean air protections so as to prevent thousands of premature deaths caused by harmful pollutants. But the conservative group American Future Fund (AFF) has launched a new, wildly misleading ad—“Paper”—which uses outdated information to falsely claim that the President’s efforts to increase standards for mercury pollution will cost thousands of paper jobs in Wisconsin.
The AFF has a history of concocting ads that “strain the facts,” and are “either flat wrong or greatly exaggerated” in order “to make a misleading point.” Its “Paper” ad is no different. Here are the facts:
The ad deliberately uses out-of-date analysis of an old draft of the rule: The Environmental Protection Agency drafted a proposed rule in 2010 to reduce harmful mercury emissions from boilers and incinerators. After finalizing the rule in February 2011 under a court-ordered deadline, the EPA then worked with the paper industry and Wisconsin leaders directly to revise the initial protections to “achieve extensive public health protections through significant reductions in toxic air pollutants, including mercury and soot, while increasing the rule’s flexibility and addressing compliance concerns raised by industry and labor groups.” The ad is based on an out-of-date analysis of the original draft of the rule that the EPA is no longer seeking to implement. What’s more, the study’s estimates are significantly different than those of the EPA, and reflect what the NRDC’s Chief Economist at its Climate Center, Laurie Johnson, describes as a “gross exaggeration of compliance costs and employment impacts, and a lack of understanding of even introductory-level economics.”
The actual protections will be significantly less costly and focus on less than 1% of all U.S. boilers: The EPA’s revisions to the boiler rule for mercury pollution would cut the cost of implementing the new standards by nearly 50%. The American Forest & Paper Association called the revision “an important step.” And this rule will only cover “less than one% of boilers” for which “the EPA is proposing more targeted emissions limits that protect Americans’ health and provide that industry with practical, cost-effective options to meet the standard—informed by data from these stakeholders.” This administration has also committed to work with any facilities having difficulty with the timing of this pollution standard.
The revised health standards will save thousands of lives and provide important health benefits: The new protections will cut down on toxic pollutants from boilers and incinerators to prevent “up to 8,100 premature deaths, prevent 5,100 heart attacks and avert 52,000 asthma attacks per year in 2015.” Every dollar spent to cut these pollutants will save the public anywhere from $12 to $30 in health benefits.
The President has taken significant action to protect Wisconsin’s paper industry from unfair trade practices: In 2010, the Obama administration cracked down on unfairly underpriced paper products from China and Indonesia, issuing punitive duties to protect jobs in our paper industry. According to the United States International Trade Commission, the U.S. paper industry would’ve seen “even lower employment levels, net sales, operating income, and profitability” if President Obama hadn’t taken action. And this year, the President signed a trade law that preserves our country’s ability to fight unfairly cheap imports that hurt our workers, including those in Wisconsin’s paper industry. Without this law, the U.S. “stood to lose trade leverage that benefits papermakers with mills in Wisconsin.” The only votes against the law came from 39 Republicans.
That AFF would so blatantly distort the facts to launch this attack is not surprising. As The New York Times has noted, AFF has been “spending millions of dollars on ads attacking Democrats across the country” while keeping their donors and their possible motivations “shrouded from the public.” Whatever its intent, the group’s attack completely fails on the facts.
This post was updated on October 31, 2012.
Homes across the country have been receiving deceptive robocalls that purport to relay a series of “debates” between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The debates never happened—the calls splice together unrelated statements that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have made on completely different days over the last few years to deliberately mislead voters about President Obama’s unshakable support for Israel.
The robocalls are part of a smear campaign directed by the “Emergency Committee for Israel,” a Republican-backed organization with a history of disingenuous, partisan attacks on President Obama. The American Jewish Committee has condemned the organization’s past false attacks as “highly objectionable” and “counterproductive to its stated aim of supporting Israel.”
The robocalls cut and paste various soundbites from President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu to make it seem as though President Obama does not fully support Israel, and that he is unwilling to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This is blatantly false. President Obama has made it clear that he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, and that he will take no options off the table to achieve that objective. That’s why he has secured the harshest sanctions ever imposed on the Iranian regime:
“When it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power: A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency. Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
So far, the sanctions have indeed proved crippling. The Iranian currency has lost 80% of its value since the end of 2011 and Iran is having trouble selling its oil. Even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been forced to admit the impact of sanctions, which he called “the strongest yet.”
President Obama has an unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security and has greatly expanded security cooperation between the two states. The President has provided Israel with record-high levels of security assistance funding, including $275 million to support the Iron Dome, a missile defense system that shields Israelis from mortars and rockets. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called President Obama’s support for Israel’s security “unprecedented,” while Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel and the United States have “the best relationship on the issue of security … this if a fact.”
As Prime Minister Netanyahu said earlier this year, “President Obama [has] reiterated that the threat of a nuclear armed Iran cannot be contained. I very much appreciate the president’s position, as does everyone in my country.”
By continuing to produce and fund such wildly deceptive robocalls, the Emergency Committee for Israel has shown an utter and irresponsible lack of regard for the truth. But Bill Kristol, the founder of ECI, doesn’t care if the calls are blatantly dishonest, and he has dismissed the widespread criticism as “faux liberal outrage.” But making up fake debates and trying to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel isn’t “faux liberal outrage”—it’s a pernicious gambit to mislead voters and smear the President’s strong record of standing up for Israel.
This post was updated on October 30, 2012.
By continuing to tell voters that Chrysler is moving Jeep production to China, Mitt Romney has once again demonstrated his utter lack of regard for the truth.
Even though Chrysler, along with scores of independent fact checkers, has repeatedly pointed out that Jeep has no intention of shifting production, the Romney campaign has doubled down and released a wildly misleading advertisement on the airwaves in Ohio.
Click here to see why Romney’s claim doesn’t withstand basic scrutiny.
In fact, Chrysler is expanding U.S. production and posting record profits. Today the company announced that its third quarter profits nearly doubled to $381 million on the heels of its best September in five years. And Chrysler is adding workers in Toledo and Detroit to support additional Jeep production, which has nearly tripled since 2009 in order to keep up with global demand.
As Chrysler’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, made abundantly clear, “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”
But despite the facts, Mitt Romney has refused to take down the ad. Newspapers and commentators across the country have taken note, and they’ve begun to highlight the Romney campaign’s brazen dishonesty:
Politifact: “Pants On Fire”
“The ad leaves the clear impression that Jeeps built in China come at the expense of American workers…
“The ad ignores the return of American jobs to Chrysler Jeep plants in the United States, and it presents the manufacture of Jeeps in China as a threat, rather than an opportunity to sell cars made in China to Chinese consumers. It strings together facts in a way that presents an wholly inaccurate picture.
“We rate the statement Pants on Fire!”
The Washington Post: “4 Pinocchios for Mitt Romney’s misleading ad on Chrysler and China”
“[T]the overall message of the ad is clearly misleading—especially since it appears to have been designed to piggyback off of Romney’s gross misstatement that Chrysler was moving Ohio factory jobs to China.
“It is also especially strange that the ad touts Romney’s endorsement by the Detroit News, when the editorial actually backs up Obama’s criticism of Romney’s response to the auto industry crisis.”
National Journal: “Romney ad wrongly implies Chrysler is sending U.S. jobs to China”
“Republican nominee Mitt Romney is running a new TV ad that implies Chrysler is planning to move U.S. auto jobs to China, though that is not the case…
“Despite the controversy, Romney launched a TV ad Sunday that could lead viewers to conclude Chrysler was indeed going to shift Jeep production to China.”
Los Angeles Times: Romney’s claim is “not true.”
“But in an indication that Romney’s campaign is worried about the impact of the bailouts, he is airing an ad claiming that Obama took car companies into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to a company that plans to start producing Jeeps in China. The implication is not true: Fiat is making Jeeps in China for the Chinese market but did not eliminate any American jobs or stop making Jeeps in the United States.”
NBC Northwest Ohio: “Jeep not leaving Toledo for China, Chrysler assures”
“UAW Region 2B director Ken Lortz called Romney’s statements about Jeep production moving to China ‘offensive and wrong.’
“‘The auto industry supports 1 in 8 jobs in Ohio. We Ohioans know the truth. We will continue to build our great products here in Toledo, in Ohio, and across this great nation because thanks to President Obama, America’s auto industry has come roaring back. We will never forget that you [Romney] were so quick to let it slip away,’ Lortz said….
“The Romney campaign has not yet issued a response to the incorrect statements made about Jeep production during the Defiance rally.”
Detroit Free Press: “Romney repeats false claim of Jeep outsourcing to China; Chrysler refutes story”
“Romney’s comments were immediately skewered by auto industry observers and Romney’s political opponents because Chrysler has added about 7,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada since emerging from chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009.
“The company is planning to add about 900 workers at its pickup plant in Warren by March.”
The Washington Post: “The Romney ad has been widely criticized for leaving the impression that Chrysler is moving jobs from its Toledo, Ohio Jeep plant overseas.”
“14-year Jeep worker James Fayson said he was offended that Romney had implied his job could be shipped overseas.
“‘The fact that you would fabricate a story about our jobs moving to China makes you the worst kind of politician,’ he said of Romney.
“Ken Lortz, director of the UAW for Ohio and Indiana, called the ad the ‘lowest form of political tactic.’
“He said Romney had only ‘angered Ohioans who know better.’
“‘We knew he wasn’t on our side when the economy and the industry was on the brink, but the fact that he would lie to our faces and try to deceive us is just too much,’ he said.”
Business Insider: “Mitt Romney has been telling a huge whopper about the auto industry, and his campaign is finally paying for it.”
”Ads that mislead or stretch the truth are nothing new for presidential campaigns. But this ad—and Romney’s comments last week—has prompted harsh criticism from the media, likely because it strikes reporters as not only disingenuous, but irresponsible. For Romney to suggest that the livelihoods of specific voters—namely workers at the Jeep plant in Toledo—are in danger in order to win an election comes across to many as the type of fear-mongering that no one wants in a president.”
This deliberately deceptive ad is only the latest example of Mitt Romney’s attempts to rewrite history when it comes to the auto industry. While President Obama made the tough, politically unpopular decision to rescue the U.S. auto industry and save more than 1 million jobs, Mitt Romney wanted to—and would have—“let Detroit go bankrupt.” And President Obama has fought against unfair Chinese trade practices that make it harder to export American-made cars like Jeeps. Voters in Ohio and Michigan won’t be fooled by Romney’s distortions—they’re well acquainted with his record, and they have no reason to expect he would suddenly start standing up for them as President.
In his latest attempt to distort President Obama’s consistent record of successfully betting on the American worker, Mitt Romney shamelessly tried to scare voters into thinking that Jeep is moving production to China and taking American jobs with it. The claim is blatantly false: As Chrysler made clear, “Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China.”
Here’s what Romney said:
“I saw a story today, that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China. I will fight for every good job in America, I’m going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it’s fair, America will win.”
And here are the facts:
Chrysler has no intention to shift Jeep production from North America to China. As the company made clear, “a careful and unbiased” understanding of its clearly-stated business plans “would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.” In an effort to score cheap political points, Romney is deliberately distorting a Bloomberg News article that reported that, while it may consider expanding into China, Chrysler is not shifting any output from North America to China.
If Romney read the article, he’d know it reports that “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio,” and Mike Manley, the President and CEO of the Jeep brand, was referring to “adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.” As Chrysler noted in a blog post, fooling Americans into thinking that it plans to shift all Jeep production to China and cut U.S. jobs requires a leap that would be “difficult even for professional circus acrobats.”
And not only will Jeep assembly lines continue to stay in operation, Chrysler is actually expanding U.S. production. The company’s assembly plant in Toledo, OH, for example, supports nearly 2,000 jobs—and last year, Chrysler announced it was adding a second shift of 1,100 workers to produce the next Jeep SUV. And next week, Chrysler will add a third shift of 1,100 workers at its Jefferson North plant in Detroit, MI to keep up with demand for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Thanks to President Obama’s bold and politically unpopular decision to rescue the U.S. auto industry and save more than 1 million jobs, America’s car manufacturers are in the midst of a roaring comeback. Now that they’ve paid back their loans, U.S. automakers have posted record profits, added thousands of jobs, and regained their place as leaders in the industry. In fact, 2011 marked “the first time in years that Chrysler, Ford, and GM have all been profitable at the same time.”
Mitt Romney knows that the auto industry is back on its feet—after all, he’s a “son of Detroit.” But voters in Ohio and Michigan also know that Romney would have “let Detroit go bankrupt” and sacrificed their jobs. As Chrysler made abundantly clear, Jeep’s not going anywhere.
What’s more, President Obama has fought against unfair Chinese trade practices that hurt the U.S. auto industry—filing a case against China at the WTO to stop tariffs that make it harder to export Jeeps and other cars to China. But while the President has fought to safeguard U.S. jobs from Chinese competition by filing trade complaints and imposing strict tariffs, Romney called President Obama’s effort to defend American tire workers from China’s unfair trade practices “bad for the nation and our workers.” President Obama has already filed more than twice as many trade complaints against China as the Bush administration did, and he plans to eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Romney, on the other hand, would encourage outsourcing by eliminating taxes on Americans companies’ foreign profits, which could create 800,000 jobs in other countries, including China.
Whether it’s standing up to China or standing up for Detroit, when it comes to betting on the American worker, the choice in this election couldn’t be any clearer.
Recently, homes in America have been mailed DVDs of “Dreams From My Real Father,” a “documentary” that makes offensive and downright ridiculous claims about President Obama and his family. The man behind the film, right-wing activist Joel Gilbert, has a long history of trumpeting bizarre conspiracy theories and producing films that are packaged as documentaries but peddle outright falsehoods. With the help of anonymous backers who are under no obligation to disclose their identities, Gilbert has made every effort to smear President Obama with his own myths and re-writing of history. Americans should not be fooled.
For those unfamiliar with his past works, Gilbert’s previous films include include “Elvis Found Alive”—in which he claims to have recently interviewed Elvis Presley—and “Paul McCartney Really Is Dead,” in which he concludes that a “surgically altered body double” has been masquerading as the former Beatles singer. Despite these incredible claims, Gilbert insisted his work was not a joke.
With that sort of résumé, it may not be surprising that Gilbert has produced a movie asserting President Obama is a part of a secret Communist plot to infiltrate the United States, overthrow the government, and destroy capitalism. At the beginning of “Dreams from My Real Father,” Gilbert describes his allegations as “re-creations of probable events, using reasoned logic, speculation, and approximated conversations.” In other words: lies. The claims in this movie are no truer than the latest Elvis sighting.
While President Obama’s grandfather served in Patton’s army, he was never the undercover CIA agent Gilbert portrays in the film. His father, Barack Obama Sr.—already the subject of a disgraceful attack film earlier this year—did not participate in a cover-up to conceal the President’s real father.
Most insulting of all, Gilbert makes disgusting and false claims about graphic photos he says depict the President’s mother; they do not. In fact, the photos were published before she ever moved to Hawaii when she would have been only 15 years old.
Joel Gilbert has a long history of trumpeting shameful, embarrassing conspiracy theories. Funded by anonymous donors and promoted by several Tea Party groups, Gilbert and “Dreams from My Real Father” are nothing more than the latest attempt to falsely smear President Obama by advancing contrived attacks completely detached from reality. After four years of calling President Obama every name in the book, right-wing conspiracy theorists like Gilbert have hit rock bottom, reduced to throwing everything they can at the wall to see what lies will stick.