Matthew Dowd, President George W. Bush’s former chief strategist, on Sunday said that Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan “so stretched the truth” during his convention speech by suggesting that President Barack Obama was responsible for a GM plant that closed before he took office.
During a panel segment on ABC’s This Week, senior Romney campaign adviser Kerry Healey noted that the false claim that Obama gutted the work requirement in welfare reform had “become so central to this race.”
“What we’ve seen is that a unilateral action by the Obama administration saying, ‘We don’t feel that we need to enforce these anymore, we will release the states from enforcing the work requirement,’” she insisted. “And you can make the argument — and I’m sure some people are spoiling to do that — that isn’t actually abandoning the core of the legislation, but it is.”
Former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton shot back that Healey’s assertion had been “widely debunked.”
“I think there’s a reason that Mitt Romney did not bring this up at his convention floor [speech],” Burton explained. “If you don’t have the guts to make an argument to the American people in the light of day but you spend $10 million on it — making it the core of your campaign — it says something about the character of who you are, and it says something about the kind of campaign you are running.”
Dowd agreed that “truth has become a casualty” throughout the 2012 presidential campaign.
“It’s as if we’re going to make any argument possible that’s advantageous to our side in order to overcome the other side,” Dowd observed. “What happened at this convention is that nobody is calling [Republicans] on it. Paul Ryan, what he did in his speech, I think so stretched the truth — and I like Paul Ryan and I have a lot of respect for Paul Ryan — but the elements of what he said, closing the GM plant, which closed before Barack Obama took president [sic], about the Simpson-Bowles bill, which he opposed and you see, all of the sudden, he faults Barack Obama for.”
“It some point, the truth should matter,” he added. “When anybody that was watching that, that didn’t know the facts of it, anybody watching that speech — just like the welfare thing — anybody coming away from that believes one thing. … He was trying to say Barack Obama was responsible the closing of the GM plant and that isn’t true.”
Watch this video from ABC’s This Week via Think Progress, broadcast Sept. 2, 2012.