October 1, 2014

Romney, Kasich Lie About Auto Rescue

News Release

For Immediate Release: October 10, 2012
Contact: Dale Butland, 614-783-5833

ROMNEY, KASICH LIE ABOUT AUTO RESCUE
IO; Auto Czar Rattner Say Jobs & China Claims are “Cynical Deceptions”

COLUMBUS — Steven Rattner joined Innovation Ohio today at a Columbus news conference to “blow the whistle on the Romney campaign’s cynical attempt to mislead Ohio voters about the auto rescue.” Rattner was Lead Advisor to President Obama during the 2009 rescue of the auto industry. Innovation Ohio is a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus.

Rattner and IO cited numerous instances in which the Romney campaign and its GOP allies – including Ohio Gov. John Kasich – have attempted to mislead Ohio voters, including:

  • At an October 25 campaign rally in Defiance, Romney claimed that “Jeep is thinking of moving all production to China.” The company emphatically denied the charge the same day, saying “Jeep has no intention of shifting production out of North America” and criticizing Romney’s claim in unusually blunt language as “a leap that would be difficult even for circus acrobats” and lamenting “unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.” In fact, Jeep intends to restart production in China by hiring additional workers, not moving U.S. jobs there. It’s akin to Honda or Toyota opening plants here to build cars for the American market.
  • Despite the company’s rebuke, on October 27 the Romney campaign began airing a television ad misleadingly saying that “Obama … sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” The ad also contains three additional distortions:
    • It states that Obama “took the auto companies through bankruptcy” — conveniently omitting that was Romney’s plan as well;
    • It says that the conservative-leaning Detroit News “endorsed Romney” — conveniently omitting that the endorsement criticized his position on the auto rescue, while praising Obama’s “extraordinary leadership” on the issue.
    • It states that Romney has a “plan to help the auto industry” — when neither he nor his campaign has ever announced or spelled out such a plan.
    • As a result, the ad has been rated false by numerous media fact-checkers, including the Tampa Tribune’s “Politifact” which rated it “Pants On Fire.”
  • On October 28, in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Gov. Kasich claimed that Ohio is only “up a total of 400 auto jobs when you count the companies and suppliers.” In fact, Innovation Ohio has shown that the industry has created over 17,300 Ohio jobs since the rescue. And according to the Kasich Administration’s own Department of Development, 34% of private investment in 2011 – including 11 of 29 investments over $50 million — were in the auto industry. These deals accounted for 18% of all private sector job announcements reported by the Department.
  • On October 30, the Romney campaign tripled down on its deceit with a radio ad which not only repeats the debunked claim about Chrysler shipping American jobs to China, but claims that GM is planning to do so too. The ad also falsely blames President Obama for GM “cutting 15,000 American jobs.” In truth, these losses occurred prior to the President’s rescue plan in the summer of 2009. Since then, more than 152,000 American auto jobs have been created.

In the final Presidential debate and since, Gov. Romney implied that he actually favored using federal money to save the auto industry. In fact, he opposed both the essential “bridge loans” provided by President G.W. Bush and the long-term funding provided by President Obama. He would only consider federal guarantees of private sector financing following a bankruptcy proceeding. But there would have been nothing to “guarantee” because the auto companies were out of cash, private sector financing was not available, and without the funding provided by President Obama, the companies would never have come out of bankruptcy. Instead, they would have ceased paying suppliers, laid off their employees, closed their doors and liquidated.

Said Innovation Ohio President Janetta King:

“President Obama took an enormous risk when he bet on Ohio and Ohio workers. But the President’s bet paid off — and now over 17,000 Ohioans are back at work in the auto industry and Ohio’s unemployment rate is lower than it’s been since 2008. But if Romney, Kasich and Mandel had their way, Ohio wouldn’t have an auto industry today.”

Added IO communications director Dale Butland:

“It was bad enough when Mitt Romney turned his back on Ohio workers by opposing the auto rescue and saying ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.’ But now he’s adding insult to injury by distorting what happened and running false and misleading television and radio ads. Equally shameful is that Gov. Kasich is assisting Mr. Romney in that deception. Trying to win an election is one thing. Trying to win it this way is something else again. If Gov. Romney will lie to Ohioans about auto jobs, maybe we should ask what else he’s been lying about.”

Materials distributed at IO’s press conference can be found here.

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