POLITICS

FACT CHECK: Obama promised and failed to keep Janesville GM plant open

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Politics Digest

Last night, in his Republican National Convention speech, Paul Ryan said:

President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

The Washington Post, and a host of other liberal media outlets, are calling this passage “misleading” because the Janesville plant “closed before the president was inaugurated.” The Post is dead wrong. Here are the facts:

1. On February 13, 2008 Obama said in Janesville : “I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.”

2. In June 2008 GM announced that the Janesville plant would stop production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009, and stop production of large SUVs in 2010 or sooner.

3. In October 2008 Obama doubled down on his promise to keep Janesville plant open: “As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.”

4. In December 2008 GM idled production of GM SUVs at the Janesville plant. Medium-duty truck assembly continued.

5. In April 2009, four months after Obama was inaugurated, GM idled production of medium-duty trucks.

6. In September 2011, more than two years after Obama was inaugurated, GM reiterates that Janesville plant is on “stand by status.” Auto industry observer David Cole, tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel it would be premature to say the Janesville plant will never reopen.

6. Today the GM facility in Janesville still has not been retooled “so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs,” as Obama promised.

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