Romney’s Post-Truth Campaign: Auto Rescue Edition
Last week, Mitt Romney made now infamous comments in Defiance, Ohio claiming that Jeep was going to “move all production” to China. The comments were immediately exposed as completely false. This, however, did not stop the Romney campaign from doubling down on the comments and making several other misleading claims in a TV spot. And when that ad came in for heavy criticism, they again doubled down by putting out an even more egregiously misleading radio ad about the auto bailout.
Well, the reviews of Romney’s desperate Ohio Hail Mary are in — and they’re not pretty.
Fact Checkers: “Pants on Fire,” “4 Pinocchios”
Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s fact checker, awarded Romney four Pinocchios — his strongest possible dishonesty rating, concluding:
“This ad shows that we have entered the final, desperate week of the campaign.”
Major Corporations Publicly Shame Romney
In a move virtually unprecedented just days before an election, two major corporations waded into the election to debunk Romney’s false claims.
Chrysler initially responded with a blog post:
“Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.”
But the Romney campaign continued its distortions and concerned workers even began calling their union to make sure they still had a job, so yesterday Chrysler’s CEO sent an email to employees and penned a letter to the Detroit News reiterating that Romney’s claims were “inaccurate.”
The response from General Motors was even more devastating, with the automaker saying Romney’s claims were from a “parallel universe”:
“We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said. “No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”
“At this stage,” Martin said, “we’re looking at a Hubble telescope-length distances between campaign ads and reality.”
Opinion Pages Slam Romney
The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote a scathing editorial headlined, “Flailing in Ohio, Romney rolls out Jeep ploy”:
The Romney campaign clearly is being hurt by the fact that Chrysler and GM were saved by the decisions of President Barack Obama. So Romney and his surrogates claim that Obama essentially followed their blueprintfor the rescue or that it really wasn’t a good deal — because some plants and dealerships closed — or, now, that the wolf is back at the door.
It won’t work. Ohio voters know who stepped up when the auto industry was at the abyss — and it wasn’t Romney.
And it wasn’t just Ohio papers that got in on the action. The Denver Post weighed in today, “Romney outsourcing the truth on Jeep”:
“Nothing smells like desperation more than the falsehoods and half-truths coming out of the Romney campaign about Chrysler purportedly moving Jeep manufacturing jobs to China.
“The episode has been shameful. […]
“It bespeaks an indifference to the concerns of Ohio’s working class, and that is just as revealing as backing an ad that leaves a wholly untruthful impression.”
We could go on, but you get the picture.
Car Czar: Romney’s Claims Are “Absurd and Ridiculous”
Steve Rattner, who was the president’s lead adviser on the auto rescue, explained once again today why Romney’s claim that the automakers could’ve survived a managed bankruptcy backed by private capital is simply false:
“It is among the most absurd and ridiculous things that the Romney people have been saying. I was there in the Spring of 2009, as you all know, when this was happening. There was no private capital available to these companies whether in bankruptcy, outside of bankruptcy, or standing on their heads on Fifth Avenue. There was no private capital.[…]
“There would have been no exit [from bankruptcy]. If these companies had gone into bankruptcy without government support, they simply could not have functioned. […]
“I’ve challenged Gov. Romney to come up with one person, one company, one fund, one bank, one anything that would stand up and say, ‘yes, I was there in the Spring of 2009 ready to provide private capital and nobody wanted it.’ And he has not done that because there isn’t any such person or entity on this planet. And I am very, very confident of that.”
And just today, the Romney campaign was caught in a new effort to mislead people about the blowup. The Romney campaign claimed that a key update to the article that Romney twisted to make his original comments in Defiance, Ohio was not made until after Romney made his remarks. In reality, however, the article had been updated three days prior to Romney’s original erroneous comments.
BOTTOM LINE: Mitt Romney will literally say anything to win, no matter how dishonest. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) summed up what this all means:
“To try to get Ohio votes or scare people into voting for him is another example of why you cannot trust this man. To me this is an issue of character and this is why, I believe so strongly this is why he cannot win Michigan, he will not win Michigan, and he will not win Ohio because people can see deception when it’s placed in front of them.”
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed
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