By Michael J.W. Stickings
By now you’ve hopefully heard about what Jonathan Cohn calls Romney’s “desperate, deceptive gambit” in Ohio.
Basically, conservative outlets were pushing a completely false story about Chrysler moving its Jeep production to China. Romney then “scared the bejeezus out of Ohio autoworkers” at a rally in Toledo last Thursday by pushing the story himself. Alas:
The story turns out to be wrong. As Chrysler made clear the very next day, in a tartly worded blog post on the company website, officials have discussed opening plants in China in order to meet rising demand for vehicles there.
But instead of backing down, the Romney campaign doubled down (as it usually does when it gets caught lying). Because it already had an ad in place repeating the lie — an ad targeting Ohio — an ad, needless to say, blaming President Obama for destroying the domestic auto industry: “Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.”
This is completely insane, of course, but par for the course for Romney. Everything in that sentence is either misleading or outright false. Read Cohn’s entire piece for an explanation, but basically: Far from, and indeed the opposite of, destroying the auto industry, President Obama rescued it, saving “at least a million jobs,” including many in Ohio.
Finally, though, it appears that even the media are treating this as a lie too far. As Brian Beutler writes: “In news articles, tweets, and other media, members of the national press, usually reluctant to criticize campaigns directly, have taken Romney to task for running a misleading TV ad creating the false impression that Jeep will ship jobs to China because of President Obama’s auto rescue.”
And the Obama campaign is firing back as well, including with a new ad and this from Vice President Biden:
This guy pirouettes more than a ballerina. Now he says — seriously, think of what he’s saying within two weeks. I find — I’ve never seen this in public. I’ve served with eight Presidents. I have never seen this in my public life. Within two weeks, he’s running an ad in this state saying that President Obama made the companies go bankrupt; is now — gave the industry the Italians, who are selling it to the Chinese. Whoa. As we say in my faith, bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I mean, what are you talking about? I have never seen anything like that. It’s an absolutely patently false assertion. It’s such an outrageous assertion that one of the few times in my memory a major American corporation, Chrysler, has felt obliged to go public and say, there is no truth. They said, Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. Chrysler Corporation, which is highly unusual, said, a careful and unbiased reading would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.Ladies and gentlemen, have they no shame?Romney will say anything, absolutely anything, to win, it seems. But he can’t run from the truth.