In accepting the Republican vice presidential nomination, Paul Ryan delivered a speech riddled with breathtakingly dishonest attacks on President Obama and his record. The list is long, but an attack he weaved into the story of his homestone, Janesville, Wisconsin, stands out as “one of the biggest whoppers of the night.”
In Ryan’s tale, candidate Barack Obama traveled to Janesville in 2008 and promised to make sure the town’s General Motors plant stayed open. Because the plant eventually shut down, Ryan claims the President broke his pledge and has left it “locked up and empty to this day.”
Why is this story so blatantly absurd? He’s blaming President Obama for a plant that shut down under the Bush administration. Here are the facts:
The Janesville plant shut down in December 2008—before President Obama was even sworn into office. In fact, Ryan signed a letter asking General Motors to reconsider their decision to close the factory. The letter is dated June 3, 2008.
As CNN notes, President Obama actually never made the promise Ryan claims he did. He said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.”
Not only did Ryan deliberately suggest that a plant which closed under President Bush actually closed under President Obama, he failed to mention that his running mate Mitt Romney actually wanted to let the entire American auto industry “go bankrupt.”
Here’s the bottom line: President Obama came into office in 2009 and crafted an auto rescue plan “which industry leaders have hailed as the start of their successful turnaround.” Mitt Romney wanted to let the entire industry enter into bankruptcy—a position that would’ve left plants across the country to face a similar fate that the Janesville plant faced in 2008.
Janesville and surrounding communities are still suffering from the devastating loss of the GM plant. Paul Ryan’s dishonesty—and decision to turn the GM closing into a false political attack—is a slap in the face to the community he calls home.