The Romney campaign’s lies, deceptions, and sneaky messaging over the auto bailout are going beyond anything that many political professionals had thought possible. Last Friday Mitt conflated a Bloomberg wire story on Fiat setting up some Chinese factories to make Jeeps for China into ‘Jeep’s moving all US production to China,’ then getting roundly called out for the inaccuracy. However, over the weekend the campaign ignored calls for a simple correction to the record. Worse, they made clear that a correction wold not be forthcoming by releasing a TV ad using the same bogus claim. This promptly drew an ad from the Obama campaign rebuking them for their dishonesty and for trying especially to scare voters in Toledo, Ohio, where Jeep’s top U.S. manufacturing is based. Now, the Romney campaign has gone ever further by re-purposing the TV spot in to a radio ad.
Additionally, the Chrysler corporation has found it necessary to wade in to the mix, with Detroit News auto industry reporters David Shepardson and Bryce Hoffman reporting this today:
“Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne rejected an assertion from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that Chrysler is planning on moving Jeep production to China.
‘I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,’ Marchionne said in an email to employees Tuesday, a copy of which was obtained by The Detroit News.
In fact, he said the company will continue to expand Jeep manufacturing in this country.
‘Jeep is one of our truly global brands with uniquely American roots. This will never change. So much so that we committed that the iconic Wrangler nameplate, currently produced in our Toledo, Ohio, plant, will never see full production outside the United States,” Marchionne said. “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.’ . . . . [emphasis mine]
The Obama campaign began running an ad Tuesday in Toledo calling Romney’s ad a ‘lie.’
Both sides are making a big issue of Jeep in China because of how important Ohio is. They are trying to sway blue-collar voters in auto towns across the Buckeye State.
Marchionne said the Auburn Hills automaker is ‘investing to improve and expand our entire U.S. operations, including our Jeep facilities.’
He noted the company plans to ‘invest more than $1.7 billion to develop and produce the next-generation Jeep SUV, the successor of the Jeep Liberty — including $500 million directly to tool and expand our Toledo Assembly Complex, and will be adding about 1,100 jobs on a second shift by 2013.’
In Detroit, at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, Chrysler has created 2,000 jobs since June 2009 and has invested more than $1.8 billion to build its Jeep Grand Cherokee.
However, Marchionne said the company does plan to add additional production capacity in China to build Jeeps for the Chinese market.
‘(W)e are working to establish a global enterprise and previously announced our intent to return Jeep production to China, the world’s largest auto market, in order to satisfy local market demand, which would not otherwise be accessible,’ Marchionne said. ‘Chrysler Group is interested in expanding the customer base for our award-winning Jeep vehicles, which can only be done by establishing local production. This will ultimately help bolster the Jeep brand and solidify the resilience of U.S. jobs.’”
Ohio newspapers, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Toledo Blade have condemned the Romney campaign for this series of deceptions, but they have refused to correct the record, instead compounding the lies. The Plain Dealer editorialized, “Mitt Romney is desperate to convince Ohio voters that he’s the candidate most committed to the U.S. auto industry–no matter how much confusion he must sow to do it.” Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s Fact-Checker assigned Mitt’s claims his dreaded “Four Pinocchios.” It’s clear that the Romney campaign–whose first TV ad last spring attacked President Obama by falsely attributing words of John McCain’s to the president–will be ending their campaign much as they began it. Romney’s bogus Jeep claim is the apotheosis of all his lies.