Ryan blames Obama for Janesville plant-closing that happened on Bush’s watch

STILL MORE EVIDENCE that Paul Ryan seems to be getting the hang of the Romney campaign’s penchant for prevarication:

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan inaccurately said Thursday that President Barack Obama “broke his promise” by failing to keep a General Motors plant open that closed in 2008 – before the Democrat took office.

Ryan, the House Budget committee chairman, recounted the decision by GM to shutter the Janesville Assembly plant in his hometown in June 2008. The last SUV rolled off the line in December 2008.

“I remember President Obama visiting it when he was first running, saying he’ll keep that plant open,” Ryan said at a campaign stop in Ohio Thursday, recounting the fact that his high school friends worked at the GM assembly plant. “One more broken promise. We used to build Tahoes and Suburbans. One of the reasons that plant got shut down was $4 gasoline. You see, this costs jobs. The president’s terrible energy policies are costing us jobs.”

In fact, Obama made no such promise and the plant halted production in December 2008, when President George W. Bush was in office.

GM cited the low demand for SUVs and high gas prices during the Bush administration as the reason for closing the plant, but Obama hadn’t taken office.

Obama did speak at the plant in February 2008, and suggested that a government partnership with automakers could keep the plant open, but made no promises as Ryan suggested.



  1. Pretty weak effort Cunningham. Here is what candidate Obama said in 2008. If I was a GM worker, I would have heard a promise here too.


    Obama did not directly address the buyouts, but he did talk about the challenges facing Janesville and G.M.

    “I know that General Motors has been going through some bad news lately,” he said. With the conversion to more hybrid vehicles, G.M. can shape its own future. “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 100 years.”

    And that had the workers fired up. “I think he wants to make some changes that’s going to help the country, the environment, help General Motors. I want this plant to thrive even after I’m gone,” says Frank Hereford, a 37 year veteran at GM.

  2. By the way, how’s that conversion to hybrid vehicles going?

  3. doc: If you think that stuff you’ve quoted somehow refutes the point of this post, you’re only kidding yourself.

    The indisputable facts are these: 1) Ryan is blaming Obama for a plant-closing that happened on Bush’s watch; and 2) Ryan is falsely claiming that Obama promised to keep the plant open.

    Your buddy is lying.

  4. At least he did everything he could to keep the plant open.


    Rock County economic development manager James Otterstein was also on the task force with Ryan. Otterstein’s role was to coordinate the activities of the various members of the task force, and said he worked directly with Ryan’s office on many occasions.
    “Our entire federal delegation that represented Rock County was involved, but certainly Congressman Ryan and his staff carried a different role and performed different responsibilities during the course of the task force,” Otterstein said, “and that was primarily because of the personal contacts that Congressman Ryan had at the time with the C-suite executives at General Motors.”
    In September of 2008, Ryan traveled to Detroit with three Democrats—Sen. Russ Feingold, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, and Gov. Doyle—to meet directly with GM executives and ask them not to close the plant.
    In a statement released after that meeting, Ryan, along with Feingold and Baldwin, said that they had met with GM Chief Executive Richard Wagoner, Jr. and “made clear what a tremendous asset the people of Janesville’s GM plant are to GM, and how important GM jobs are to the Janesville community.”

    The task force wound up presenting GM with hundreds of millions of dollars in inducements to keep their plant in Janesville running. Documents obtained by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel show that the package of incentives presented to GM executives by Wisconsin officials wound up totaling $409 million in combined public and private funds to get the company to choose Janesville over a site in Michigan to produce a new small-car line.

    The package, which GM ultimately declined, included $100 million in tax credits, $213.14 million in concessions from local union workers, $24 million from health care providers and insurers, and half a million dollars in contributions from private companies in the area. The package also offered up $20 million from Rock County and $15 million from the city of Janesville itself.
    “We leaned on [Ryan’s] office more heavily than anybody else, and his office consistently delivered,” Otterstein said. “In terms of whatever the ask list was they were extremely efficient and expeditious with everything.” Otterstein said that the task force explored the possibility of using federal stimulus funds, though they never submitted any applications for federal funds.
    “We literally had explored each and every possible source of public as well as private sector funding that we were privy to to create what we thought would be the most competitive package for us,” Otterstein said. “And then we certainly went to the next level with having additional direct contact with the program administrator.”

  5. bejer50

    Standard GOP Rovian B.S. Tell a fib, twist the truth, whatever it takes.

    Only winning matters.

    Fact is, if Ryan’s boss-to-be were POTUS in 2008, GM might not exist, and certainly would not be the strong middle-class-job creator it is today.

    Probably would have been bought by Bain or one of their buddies, and hacked to death for cash and management fees.

    It’s the new American way, right? Totally free enterprise.
    Except that nothing is really free except air and opinions.

    By the way xpdoc, my hybrid is getting me 55-60 mpg and is very comfortable, thank you. I would not trade it for any other car I have ever owned.
    And I see
    Doesn’t that just make you mad?
    more and more hybrids on the road every day, even in Jeep crazy Illinois.

    Doesn’t that just make you mad?

  6. Why would it make me mad?

    IMHO that is a typical liberal comment, so I am not too surprised. Emotion over logic eh?

    The choice of the car you drive should be yours alone. The choice of what cars are produced and sold should be driven by the free market.

    If you want to spend your hard earned money on a car that is more expensive and less functional, feel free.

    Your welcome should be my real response. Without the subsidy you received for the car you might not have been able to afford it.

    It always amazes me how liberals argue for tax increases on wealth, when creating wealth is what would make the economy boom. You understand that a tax break/subsidy for a car will sell more cars.

    Why do you not understand that a income tax cut will generate more revenue (which it always does)?

  7. The plant didn’t close under Bush! It closed June 2009, under Obama. The plant had 2 major contracts, one was for SUVs, which closed production in Dec. of 08, the 2nd contract was for light trucks which closed June of 09′. This is typical liberal spin! I will wait for a retraction of this hit piece, but I won’t hold my breath!

  8. Martin: As you might put it, don’t hold your breath.

    The proverbial die was cast regarding the Janesville plant during the Bush administration. Principal work at the plant ended in 2008. A skeleton crew continued to work at the plant through June, 2009, completing the Janesville/Isuzu light truck contract. But the plant’s fate was determined before Obama became president.

    Them’s the facts of the matter.

    I eagerly await a retraction of your snarky suggestion that this post is just an unwarranted liberal slap at Paul Ryan.

  9. From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120817/POLITICS01/208170356#ixzz2509nH9So

    Obama did speak at the Janesville plant in February 2008, and suggested a government partnership with automakers could keep the plant open, but made no promises as Ryan suggested.

    “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.

    The plant, which once employed about 7,000 and had 2,400 workers when GM announced it would close, remains on standby. The plant opened in 1919.

    GM still owns the plant and, technically, it’s on “standby.” In reality, it’s a deserted hulk of 4.8million square feet surrounded by weed-choked parking lots. Most of its employees retired early or accepted offers to move to other plants. Even if the automaker reopened, city economic development director Vic Grassman says wages would be far lower because of union agreements struck before the plant was idled.

    From Bob:
    The fact is he made a non-promises promises. Kind of like a Nixon non-denial denial. And make any excuse you want, the fact is President Obama was president of the United States of America in June 2009. They even teach this in grammer school.

  10. rasqual

    Pat: I draw a distinction that’s not as subtle as it sounds. I don’t think Ryan’s blaming Obama that it closed. I think he’s insinuating that Obama had no business inspiring hope that government investment (as he calls it) would save the plant. That kind of talk might get him some votes among those listening, but there’s no quid pro quo. If Ryan’s delegation itself couldn’t incentivize GM, it’s difficult to imagine why the Illinois senator’s remarks should be taken with more than a grain of salt. And yet Obama clearly intended his high-sounding notions of government salvation to be taken seriously:

    “And 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. The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it’s where it will thrive. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your President.”

    Didn’t happen. Ryan’s point would be, I think, that with Obama’s policies it couldn’t happen. The plant still hasn’t re-opened, though it’s still in GM hands and is mothballed. Where’s the support and assistance that Obama “fought for?” Heck, the taxpayer’s stuck with a huge tab for the bailout and GM isn’t exactly growing their sales — half Ford’s growth, currently. You know — the company that didn’t get a bailout? What chance do you think there is that Obama’s policies will re-open the Janesville plant? All that support and assistance?

  11. There you go again.

    Ryan did not blame Obama for the Janesville GMC plant closing. Ryan never ever said that. He said Obama made false promises to the people of Janesville — Obama campaigning, standing in that plant — he promised that if they voted for him the plant would be open for another hundred years.

    Ryan did not say Obama’s policies closed the plant (and YOU LIE when you say that’s what Ryan said)– Ryan gave evidence that Obama LIED in order to get elected. The second point is that those guys from Janesville are still suffering because of Obama’s poilicies have not improved the conditions for the working man in Janesville or anywhere — and has made them worse.

    The MSM — so shamefull as usual — taking notes from Axelrod.

  12. I love that speech that Obama gave in Janesville — truly telling of Obama’s conceit and also so telling of his true belief in GOVERNMENT. I think it would be a good ad for Romney to show Obama giving that speech.

    Bring in on “fact checkers” let’s talk about GM!!

    I’d like to also point out, Ryan also has been a truth teller about the auto-bailout. Let’s talk about the “sucess” of the auto-bailout — let’s talk about the $25 billion tab (and rising) that taxpayers are footing. Bring it on — Ryan can teach you a few things on this topic as well — he’s well versed on it.

  13. PT_Goodman

    Get used to it folks. Ryan lied…again! There is no dispute here. The plant failed before Obama was POTUS; it was a business decision by GM. It was Ryan who failed you. Now GM is healthy again…thanks to Obama, although it may not help you much.

    And how’s that Scott Walker experiment working out for you. You attacked your school teachers, waging class war and cutting their salaries and eliminating some collective bargaining rights, and WI is now hemorrhaging jobs anyway while the country as a whole is picking up jobs. No business creation to speak of, either. Isn’t that what the Walker tax cuts were supposed to do? Why doesn’t the Janesville GM plant reopen because of Walker’s policies? Real good thinking to elect Walker a governor…yessiree!

    Now, I’m going to take a break and go run a sub-3 hour marathon for kicks.

  14. Hey PT,

    I take it you don’t live in Wisconsin. Walker still has a majority approval rating, higher than Obama’s in the state. Our state budget is in far, far better shape than most states and makes Illinois look like a European PIIG.

    Plus we have the Packers.

    Don’t hurt yourself on that run.

  15. PT_Goodman

    I don’t doubt that Walker has a majority approval rating….in spite of the facts. The fact that WI has taken such a path makes me fear for my country. The Walker cancer may spread to the rest of the country–in fact it already has. And we may be doomed because of it.

    I live in NY and we rejected “Crazy” Carl Paladino, apparently for the reason you embraced crazy Scott Walker. We have the Giants, the Jets and the Bills.

    My central point was that Ryan did not tell the truth. Does he ever?

  16. Walker is crazy based on what? His desire to balance the budget without raising taxes? His desire to attract business rather than repel it?

    Ryan is crazy based on what? His desire to save Medicare rather than let it go bankrupt in a generation? His desire to simplify the tax code and incent growth and success rather than attack growth and success?

    Crazy is what we have been doing to date. Republican and Democrat. We need real change which will give us hope.

  17. PT_Goodman

    In Walker, you got real change. Some of the most extreme and divisive change in the country. But you didn’t get new business and you’re losing jobs. Gee, I’m shocked. Reagan failed, Bush failed (both of them). If all you want is lower taxes, well, you got that (for the wealthy, at least), and you can claim success. You just didn’t get what your were promised, and in that you failed. Better you than me.

  18. Extreme and divisive? Only because of the Democrats and their public employee union puppetmasters who were squealing at their loss of power. Besides’ my taxes aren’t lower, in fact they are at one of the higher marginal rates in the country. They just weren’t raised to cover the projected short fall.

    Failure? In less than 1 year? Seems a little soon to judge to me, particularly when the tone of the Democratic/Doyle administration had been so stridently anti business for the past decade.

    I will take the resulting budget situation in Wisconsin over both Illinois and New York as well.

    Plus, our cheese is better.


  19. PT_Goodman

    My central point was and is that Ryan lied. If you can’t address that then I’m out of here.

    WI is your state to ruin…and all the evidence points to a state further in decline that when Walker took office. Just don’t drag the rest of us down with you. You’re well on your way to becoming a 3-rd rate red state dependent on blue states to carry you. That’s what I want to avoid.

    And I don’t buy WI cheese or any other WI product because of Walker.

  20. Is the state further in decline, or is it the country?

    Ryan lied about a marathon time that he ran? Who cares!

    He isn’t lying about the federal deficit.

    He isn’t lying about Medicare and the fact that it will be bankrupt within a generation.

    He didn’t lie about the Janesville plant closing. You could only believe that if you viewed it with a partisan eye. Read the quotes and read his speech.

    By the way, you cannot avoid Wisconsin cheese.

    It’s everywhere.

  21. PT_Goodman

    I can not only avoid WI cheese, I can avoid WI cheeseheads. And I do.

  22. In 14 years Ryan helped pass two bills one renaming a post office and the other lowering the excise tax on arrows (must have a thing for the Hunger Games). The rest of his political career has been spent climbing the Washington ladder and blaming others for his inability to save and create jobs in the Janesville community. Also interesting that a person who is suppose to be a wizzbang with budget figures can’t recall his one and only real marathon time within an hour.

  23. PT_Goodman

    It’s incredibly sad that Ryan, who has only a B.A. (1992) with a double major in economics and political science became Chairman of the House Budget Committee and has so much influence over budgetary matters for the largest economy in the world and the largest spending entity (the U.S. government) in the world. How does this happen in this country? And what could possibly go wrong? A lot considering his lack of education and with his inability to round numbers properly. Good enough for the people of WI maybe, but not good enough for my country.

  24. PT,

    I think it’s great that you’d boycott an entire state because of Governor Walker. It shows such intelligence and principle. I’m sure the million plus people in the minority that didn’t elect the Governor will appreciate the show of support.

    Will you move to France when Romey/Ryan win too?

  25. Biden attended the Archmere Academy in Claymont,[13] where he was a standout halfback/wide receiver on the high school football team; he helped lead a perennially losing team to an undefeated season in his senior year.[10][14] He played on the baseball team as well.[10] During these years, he participated in an anti-segregation sit-in at a Wilmington theatre.[15] Academically, Biden was undistinguished,[10] but he was a natural leader among the students.[16] He graduated in 1961.[13]

    Biden attended the University of Delaware in Newark, where he was more interested in sports and socializing than in studying,[10] although his classmates were impressed by his cramming abilities.[15] He played halfback with the Blue Hens freshman football team,[14] but he dropped a junior year plan to play for the varsity team as a defensive back, enabling him to spend more time with his out-of-state girlfriend.[14][17] He double majored in history and political science and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1965,[1] ranking 506th of 688 in his class.[18]

    He went on to receive his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University’s College of Law in 1968,[19] where by his own description he found it to be “the biggest bore in the world” and pulled many all-nighters to get by.[15][20] During his first year there, he was accused of having plagiarized 5 of 15 pages of a law review article. Biden said it was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and he was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade of F, which was subsequently dropped from his record.[20] He was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1969.[19]

    Biden received five student draft deferments during this period, with the first coming in late 1963 and the last in early 1968, at the peak of the Vietnam War.[21] In April 1968, he was reclassified by the Selective Service System as not available for service due to having had asthma as a teenager.[21][22] Biden was not a part of the anti-Vietnam War movement; he would later say that at the time he was preoccupied with marriage and law school, and that he “wore sports coats … not tie-dyed”.[23]

  26. So from what I can tell Joe was a great athlete (until he met a cute girl) and not much else. Looks like Mr. Ryan will be a step up, maybe several flights of stairs up intellectually.

    Why am I not surprised?

  27. PT_Goodman

    @expdoc September 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    You’re welcome.

  28. PT_Goodman

    With all those draft deferments, you’d think Biden was a Republican–they were dedicated to avoiding military service during the the Vietnam War.

    With just a B.A., Ryan would be a huge step down. Biden was bored because he found the subject matter too easy. Ryan’s intellect is not equal ambition–he’s out of his league, apparently either does not understand his terrible his budget proposal is. Doesn’t matter, Romney and Ryan don’t stand a chance. And you can have Ryan…keep him tied up ruining your state.

  29. Does that mean you are moving or you aren’t moving?

    I hear the federal budget stuff in France is pretty screwed up kind of like here in the good old U.S. of A.

    But at least the socialists are in power now. They are really getting ready to screw the rich. I think you might really love it.

    I know they have Disneyland and the Eiffel Tower is cool.

    Even better I hear the cheese is good.

  30. PT_Goodman

    I have thought of leaving. With conservatives, it always comes down to socialist this and socialist that, even though you lunkheads have no clue what socialism is. And it also comes down to an invitation to leave the country. For you people, ignorance is bliss…or least a good facsimile. OTOH, one more bad election–one in which Tea Partiers do well–and most of us honest income earners and taxpayers might as well leave. Oh, look? A map. It shows that WI is losing jobs, losing business, and is becoming more and more dependent on the Federal government. Socialism indeed.

  31. Honest income earners? Ha. The conservatives I know are the most honest income earners you will ever meet. That is what the tea party types are all about. They want less government, lower taxes and more freedom.

    That is not to say that liberals aren’t honest income earners as well, but the Democratic play book is all about giving money to special interest groups to garner votes and establish dependence. All well and good until you run out of money.

    All you have to do is look at the results of the war on poverty in the inner cities of all those liberal Democrat political strongholds to see the sad effects.

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