Paul Ryan defends Obama jab

August 30, 2012

GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Thursday defended a jab that he made at President Obama in his Wednesday-night acceptance speech, arguing that Obama should have acted to prevent the shuttering of a GM plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis.

“I’m not saying it was his decision,” Ryan told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I’m saying he came and made these promises, makes these commitments, sells people on the notion that he’s going to do all these great achievements, and then none of them occur. These are empty promises that become broken promises and that’s the story of the Obama economy.”

The plant was largely shut down in December 2008. Earlier that year, in February, Obama delivered a speech at the plant in which he said he would fight to prevent the plant’s closure.

“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,” Obama said at the time.

In the wake of Ryan’s speech, Democrats have swung back at the GOP vice-presidential nominee by noting that not only did the plant’s partial closing occur during the Bush administration, but that Obama did not make an outright promise to stop the plant from shutting down.

At a roundtable with Washington Post reporters earlier Thursday, former New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu also defended Ryan’s statement on the plant’s closure and declared, "I find it amazing that fact-checkers themselves need fact-checking."

"Even if Bush completed the closing in December, if he (Obama) was honest -- the sentence Paul Ryan used was correct,” Sununu said. “He could have kept it, done something to get it so that it would stay open for 100 years. So, with all due respect to the Obama people and the fact-checkers, they're wrong."

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