Governor Scott Walker, during Wednesday night’s Republican National Committee Convention, repeated the Romney campaign lie that Barack Obama was responsible for the 2008 Janesville, Wisconsin auto plant closing — that happened while President Bush was in office. NBC reporter Ron Mott, in a gross example of journalistic malpractice, let the Governor lie about the plant closing, but MSNBC anchors Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz were quick to correct Walker as he spent five minutes defending the Romney/Ryan lie.
“That’s not true,” Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post noted, referring to Congressman Paul Ryan’s lie on Wednesday that “appeared to suggest that President Obama was responsible for the closing of a GM plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisc.”
The plant was closed in December, 2008, before Obama was sworn in. But look how Ryan came close to the line in his speech:
“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.”
Obama gave his speech in February, 2008, and he did say those words. But Ryan’s phrasing, referring to the fact the plant did not last another year, certainly suggests it closed in 2009, when Obama was president.
MSNBC, who provided the video below, adds:
But perhaps the most blatant lie was the suggestion that a General Motors plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, closed and stay closed under and/or because of President Obama:
“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. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”
Ryan’s phrasing, referring to the fact the plant “didn’t last another year” certainly suggests it closed in 2009, when Obama was president.
But as we pointed out on Aug. 17, 2012, the plant in question halted production in December 2008 when President George W. Bush, a Republican who was ranked as the fifth-worst president in U.S. history by Siena Research Institute of Siena College in 2010, was still in office (in fact, he’d been in office for nearly eight years by then).
Then-Sen. Obama did speak at the Janesville plant in February 2008 (well before the economic collapse of Sept. 2008). At the time, he suggested that a government partnership with automakers could keep the plant open, but made no promises to keep it open.
“I believe 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,” Obama said, some eleven months before taking office.
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