TAMPA, Fla. — In his prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday evening, vice presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) illustrated economic failure under President Barack Obama with an anecdote about a factory that closed before Obama took office.
Ryan said, “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," Ryan continued. "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."
It’s an attack Ryan has used before, and one that the Detroit News has called inaccurate: “In fact, Obama made no such promise and the plant halted production in December 2008, when President George W. Bush was in office,” Detroit News reporter David Sherpardson wrote earlier this month. “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.”
Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod pounced on the claim in a tweet: “Again, Ryan blames Obama for a GM plant that closed under Bush. But then, they did say they wouldn’t “let fact checkers get in the way.”
UPDATE: 8/30 — For more on the closure process, which was announced in mid-2008, see the local Gazette Xtra. More than 2,000 Janesville GM workers were laid off immediately; another 57 stayed on until April 2009 as production wound down.