Paul Ryan defends convention remarks: ‘Read the speech’

September 4, 2012

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisc.) made the rounds on the network morning shows Tuesday, offering a defense of his Republican National Convention speech. Ryan's address has been criticized by opponents and prompted questions from fact checkers about whether he stretched the truth.

"What they are trying to suggest is I said Barack Obama was responsible for a plant shutdown in Janesville," Ryan said on NBC's "Today." "That is not what I was saying. Read the speech. What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for his broken promises. After our plant was shut down, he said would lead an effort to retool plants like the Janesville plant to get people back to work."

Ryan made a reference in his speech to a GM plant in his hometown, saying: “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.”

The plant was largely closed before Obama took office in early 2009. Obama's "hundred years" comment was made in February, 2008. GM made the decision to close the plant that summer (it closed at the end of the year) and in October of 2008, Obama said, "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."

"General Motors isn't alive where I come from in Janesville," Ryan said on "CBS This Morning."

Ryan stumped in North Carolina on Monday and is headed off on a multi-state swing that will take him to the west for fundraising and campaign events.

On ABC's "Good Morning America," Ryan defended the Republican plan to overhaul Medicare, which also has been strongly criticized by Democrats. 

"Our plan to save Medicare does not affect or change the benefits for anybody who is in or near retirement," Ryan said on ABC.

Updated at 8:18 a.m.

 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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