The morning after the Republican Party officially nominated its presidential standard-bearers, Vice President Joe Biden appeared in Ohio auto country to blast the Romney-Ryan convention speeches as “not on the level,” accusing the GOP vice presidential nominee of fudging details of a closed auto plant.
Mark Stahl / AP
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop at the United Auto Workers Local 1714 Union Hall, Friday, Aug. 31, in Lordstown, Ohio.
Referencing Rep. Paul Ryan’s story of a shuttered Wisconsin GM plant, since put under the microscope by fact-checkers, Biden offered his own timeline of events during an appearance at a United Auto Workers hall in Lordstown, Ohio.
“What he didn't tell you was that plant in Janesville actually closed while President Bush was still in office,” Biden said. “And what they didn't say is, but for the sacrifices you all made, and the courage of the President of the U.S., all those GM plants would be closed, here all across the company.”
Independent fact-checkers have wrangled over the veracity of Ryan’s claim that Barack Obama broke his promise to help keep the plant open. The facility was idled under Bush but remained on standby status during the early days of Obama’s presidency.
Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck said in response to Biden’s claims that “the vice president can’t answer for this administration’s unfulfilled promises and failed record … Like many towns across America, Janesville, Wisconsin is still waiting for the recovery the president promised.” Buck pointed to Obama’s October 2008 statement that he would “lead an effort to retool plants” like the one in Ryan’s hometown.
In remarks to about 200 attendees, the vice president did not reserve all his fire for his GOP counterpart. Referencing a recent article in Rolling Stone that indicated Romney-led Bain Capital received federal assistance for its reorganization, Biden contrasted that attitude with Romney’s opposition to a full auto industry bailout.
The Associated Press' Liz Sidoti, Republican Strategist Phil Musser, Senior Editor of the National Review and Bloomberg columnist Ramesh Ponnuru and Indiana Republican Communications Director Pete Seat review Mitt Romney's speech and talk about the convention on a whole.
“It was one thing when a million middle-class jobs were on the line,” he said of Romney’s alleged seeking of federal assistance. “It was another thing when his own financial interests and those of his partners were on the line.”
On the alleged Bain “bailout,” the Romney campaign noted that the 1990 loan restructuring was actually for a spinoff company of the one founded by Romney and was administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission, which does not take or use taxpayer funds.
The vice president added that Republicans who lamented the flagging economy during their 3-day confab in Tampa failed to recognize advances in the Rust Belt and in the community of Lordstown, where Chevrolet has announced a plant will make new Cruze vehicles.
“They said last night that things weren't getting better,” Biden said. “I guess they don't know what's happened in this valley. I guess they don’t know what's happened here in Lordstown. I guess they haven't met any of y'all.”
While Biden’s criticisms were characteristically harsh, perhaps a more blunt version of an RNC fact check was offered to the crowd by former Gov. Ted Strickland, who introduced the vice president.
“They're crazy,” Strickland said of the GOP. “They lie. Their strategy for winning this election is to tell the big lie."