Eric Fehrnstrom, Mitt Romney’s senior campaign adviser, is denying that Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan suggested that President Barack Obama was to blame for a GM plant that was shut down while President George W. Bush was still in office.
Ryan’s Wednesday night convention speech has been blasted by fact checkers at The Associated Press, USA Today and CNN (just to name a few) for what one Fox News contributor called “misrepresentations” and Salon’s Joan Walsh said were just “nastiness and lies.”
One of those misleading statements had to do with a Janesville plant that GM decided to close in June of 2008, but Ryan has repeatedly said that the president “broke his promise” by failing to keep it open after taking office in 2009.
“What Paul Ryan said there was clearly misleading,” CNN host John Berman pointed out to Fehrnstrom on Thursday.
“Well, no,” Fehrnstrom replied. “He didn’t talk about Obama closing the plant. He said that candidate Obama went there in 2008, and what he said was with government assistance, we can keep this plant open for another 100 years.”
The adviser continued: “Here we are four years into his administration. That plant is still closed. I think it’s a symbol of a recovery that hasn’t materialized for the people of Janesville, Wisconsin, just as it hasn’t materialized for Americans everywhere.”
“He left the impression that President Obama shut that plant down,” Berman pressed.
“Well, I would encourage people to go back and look at what candidate Obama said in 2008,” Fehrnstrom insisted. “What he said was with his recovery program, with government assistance, we can keep that plant open for 100 years. Four years later, it’s still shuttered. I think it’s a symbol of a broken economy under this president.”
Earlier this year, Fehrnstrom was widely mocked after he said that Romney could shake up his campaign “like an Etch A Sketch” and “start over again” after spending the primary season pandering to conservative voters. As the general election campaign was underway in June, the adviser tried to deflect attention from the candidate’s extreme positions on contraception and abortion rights by saying that women’s issues were just “shiny objects” being used to distract voters.
Watch this video from CNN’s Starting Point via Talking Points Memo, broadcast Aug. 30, 2012.