The whopper of the year

13 Dec

Romney-Jeep-Lie-sizedIt was a whopper that Mitt Romney told in Ohio in the final days of a close campaign.

Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China.

Bloomberg reported in October that the company was planning to restart production of Jeeps in China.

The report was very clear Chrysler was considering expansion in China, not closing American production.

The Washington Examiner blogged about the Bloomberg story and wrote that Jeep was “considering giving up on the United States and shifting production to China.”

The anti-Obama Drudge Report then linked to the post with the headline, “Jeep eyes shifting production to China.”

Off it went.

Hours later Mitt Romney picked up on it in an Ohio speech, “I saw a story today, that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China. I will fight for every good job in America. I’m going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it’s fair, America will win.”

The next day, reporters were hammering Romney for not knowing the facts.

Romney’s campaign answered with a TV ad for Ohio voters that weekend:
“Who will do more for the auto industry? Not Barack Obama. 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.”

That was followed by radio ads saying the same thing.

Chrysler again issued a clear denial – which was ignored by Romney.

PolitiFact and other fact-checkers called the ad inaccurate.

At the Republican National Convention in Tampa, journalists challenged the Romney campaign team about the ad, and got this response, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

The Obama campaign had a field day.

They reminded voters in Ohio and all over the country that Romney had opposed the auto bailouts and also painted him as desperate.

To this day Romney’s campaign insists that ad worked, that it had reassured voters in key Ohio markets.

Romney paid the price as a flood of negative press smothered his campaign and he lost Ohio, the most important state in the presidential election.

PolitiFact has selected Romney’s fib as the Lie of the Year.
We agree.

That’s not to let President Obama and his campaign off the hook.

Their TV ads distorted Romney’s positions on abortion and immigration to make them seem more extreme than they actually were.

A pro-Obama super PAC even created an ad suggesting Romney was responsible for a woman’s death when her husband lost his job at a Bain-controlled company.

But the Jeep ad topped them all for flat-out lies.

It’s easy to see why Romney lost as badly as he did with decisions like that.

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