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You can’t help but wonder if Mitt Romney is actually trying to lose in Ohio

Let’s give Mitt Romney the benefit of the doubt and blame his campaign handlers for the moronic decision to double-down on what everyone knows is a flat-out lie about Jeep’s plans to build vehicles in China.

Greg Sargent has THIS to say about the matter:

[I]t’s worth taking a look at how the battle over Mitt Romney’s latest falsehood — that the auto bailout will result in American Jeep jobs getting shipped to China — is playing in the Ohio media, since this claim represents Romney’s last chance to turn things around in the state.

Here’s the headline in today’s Toledo Blade: “Clinton, Biden call Jeep ad deceptive.”

Another in the Toledo Blade: “Obama campaign accuses Romney of dishonesty on Jeep issue.”

The Blade has been covering this story pretty aggressively, noting that Romney — who now claims Obama followed his approach on the auto-bailout — previously derided the rescue effort as “crony capitalism.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, meanwhile, published a scorching editorial with this headline: “Flailing in Ohio, Romney rolls out Jeep ploy.”

(Snip)

This is hardly a comprehensive look at the local coverage, but it does suggest the possibility that Romney’s Jeep-to-China gamble may be backfiring. Polls have shown that large numbers of Ohioans don’t think Romney cares about their needs and problems. And the Obama campaign views the auto bailout, and Romney’s dishonesty about it, as central to their closing case against Romney’s character, integrity, and true priorities. So these are exactly the headlines the Obama team wants.

And then there’s THIS:

In the final days of the 2012 race, Mitt Romney’s campaign is really making good on its pollster’s August promise to ignore fact checkers. To close the deal in the Ohio, Team Romney is blitzing the state with a series of wildly deceptive statements and ads suggesting that Chrysler is moving local jobs to China…

Chrysler, Jeep’s parent company, has publicly condemned Romney’s claims as false, writing on its website that they have “no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China” and that any expansion in Asia is to serve Asian markets. In fact, they are adding over 1,000 jobs to their Toledo factory as part of a $500 million investment in upgrading its capacity.

After Romney continued to suggest otherwise in ads, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne personally called him out for “inaccurate” claims.

(Snip)

Things have been getting dicy in the fact check department in general this week in Ohio. In addition to Romney’s repeated claim that he’d have saved the auto industry largely with private funds, a scenario experts say would have been impossible during the financial crisis, one of his top surrogates suggested on Monday that a Romney administration would have little effect on abortion laws. Romney supporter Norm Coleman told a Jewish group in the state on Monday that Roe v. Wade would never be reversed under Romney, despite Romney’s frequent criticism of the decision.

In a blast from the past, the Romney campaign is also reviving ads (unannounced, yet again) that feature a debunked claim that Obama “gutted” welfare work requirements. Romney’s original welfare attack in the summer was savaged in the press as inaccurate, prompting Romney’s pollster Neil Newhouse to respond that “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

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13 Comments

  1. As typical of liberals, they are calling the Romney a liar without knowing all the facts. Romney’s comments are based upon this article:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-21/fiat-says-china-may-build-all-jeep-models-as-suv-demand-climbs.html

    “Fiat SpA (F), majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC, plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in that country, according to the head of both automakers’ operations in the region. ”

    Note, since this article was published the head of Chrysler has stated operations are not moving.

  2. It can’t be going well for Willard if the pot scrubber is running around Wisconsin trying to save his congressional seat.

  3. Milton Waddams

    Pretty weak Neftali. If Romney’s statements are based on that article he needs to bone up on his reading comprehension, as the article is pretty clear about what Jeep is doing. Besides, as a businessman experienced in shipping jobs to China, he knows that China’s government practically requires building cars in China for the Chinese market. They allow very few imports.

    It might be difficult for Romney to “get tough with China” if he understands so little about how business in CHina works.

  4. Neftali: You’re as poor as reader as Romney is.

    The stuff in the Bloomberg piece about plans by Jeep “to eventually make of all its models in” China didn’t mean that all of its manufacturing operations will be moved there. It meant that the manufacturing operations in China will include all the models the company makes. That’s a big difference. The company’s objective is to use Chinese manufacturing facilities to serve the Chinese market.

    But here’s what Romney dishonestly stated when he raised this subject last Thursday: “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.”

    Clearly, he was telling his audience that Jeep was thinking of moving all of its American jobs to China. That was never the company’s plan.

    The real kicker here is that Romney’s handlers didn’t get the story from Bloomberg. They got it from the right-wing Washington Examiner, which distorted the hell out of the Bloomberg article. Here are the first two paragraphs of that piece from the Examiner:

    “In another potential blow for the president’s Ohio reelection campaign, Jeep, the rugged brand President Obama once said symbolized American freedom, is considering giving up on the United States and shifting production to China.

    “Such a move would crash the economy in towns like Toledo, Ohio, where Jeeps are made and supplied, and rob the community of the economic security they thought Obama’s auto bailout assured them.”

    This isn’t the first time the Romney team has picked up on baseless stories they’ve gleaned from the right-wing media. However, this time they got caught peddling a flat-out whopper that’s been debunked all over the place. Rather than admit their mistake — especially at this late stage of the campaign — they’ve decided that their only option is to double-down and hope that there are enough gullible folks in Ohio who will believe them.

    Well, it’s backfiring on them, despite the best efforts of partisans like you to defend them.

    This episode could well cost Romney any chance he had of winning in Ohio.

  5. Milton – Romney’s dad was a governor of Detroit, he knows the auto industry very well, and he’s quite familiar with the various intricacies with import/export regulations in the industry. Much more than the both of us, and certainly more than the President.

    What happened here is typical in politics. Team Romney took a speculative business statement and turned it into a campaign issue. Democrats freaked out and hounded Chrysler. Chrysler, not wanting any negative press to hurt their sales, backed away from the statements. Now the Democrats are unfairly calling a Romney a liar.

    And from the looks of things, voters in Michigan are aware of this, being that Romney is now within the margin of error of winning what has traditionally been a deep blue state.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121030/POLITICS01/210300442/1022/politics/Poll-Romney-closes-gap-Obama-Michigan

  6. Neftali: Now you’re just being silly. There’s not a shred of evidence that Chrysler ever had plans to move Jeep’s American manufacturing operations to China. And there’s not a shred of evidence Democrats hounded Chrysler into changing its mind.

    Do you just make up this crap? Or do you get it from your favorite right-wing sources?

  7. Stevo,

    Ryan being in Wisconsin has nothing to do with his Congressional seat in Janesville. It is all about helping Romney win Wisconsin and win the election.

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/176598461.html

    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is scheduled to speak here Wednesday morning at the new headquarters of FulfillNet Inc., a marketing services firm.

    With the election just days away, Ryan has a full day of campaigning. He was in Eau Claire for a rally in the morning, heads here for a speech around 11 a.m., followed by an appearance in Racine.

  8. Neftali: Your claim that Chrysler changed its story under pressure from Democrats is refuted by one simple fact:

    On the very same day that Romney first made his false statement about Jeep moving to China, Chrysler announced that it was expanding Jeep production in the U.S., adding 1,100 American jobs.

    So, unless you made up that claim yourself, you should no longer trust whatever right-wing source you got it from.

  9. Neftali: No wonder Ryan is working so hard in Wisconsin. He’s worried about the impending embarrassment of Mitt and him losing his home state. And he has new cause to worry:

    A Marquette University Law School poll released within the past few hours shows Obama leading in Wisconsin by eight points, 51 to 43.

  10. Pat – Re-read that opening quote. Its simply speculative long term business discussions that went public. Did Chrysler initially say they were moving production to China as part of their strategy? No. Did their Asia-based COO Mike Manley say it was a possibility? Absolutely, 100% yes. Later the Fiat CIO, Sergio Marchionne, overruled, or clarified depending on how you look at it, the statements of his subordinate. No doubt from media (i.e. Democratic) pressure. You think he made that public address statement cause he was bored? As if he had nothing better to do?

    And current employment hiring announcements have very little with long term strategy. An increase of 1100 jobs is nothing to a company with almost 60,000 employees. That number is no bigger than a standard seasonal shift in employment figures, it means nothing.

    So was Romney probably a bit premature in running with the original statement? Certainly. But it doesn’t make him a liar, which is what the Democrats are suggesting. No. He’s just playing politics, which is what they all do, you should know that by now.

    (Note this is the 2nd time in a month Romney is premature with his statements, the first being after the Benghazi attacks. )

  11. The “liar” strategy of the left has been coordinated ever since Romney became the presumptive nominee. It is purely a political strategy that the left must use because they cannot run on Obama’s record. The one nugget of goodness they have to trumpet was the execution of bin Laden and the demise of Al Qaeda.

    Unfortunately, that nugget was tarnished on Sept. 11, 2012 in Benghazi.

  12. Milton Waddams

    Sticking to your guns about ambiguity WRT Jeep, Neftali? Guess Ernie Anastos said it best…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss8LDBNcsWc

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