This created a stir last night on Twitter that has subsided. But it wouldn’t be surprising if the Obama campaign seizes on it in coming days to close out its argument in Ohio. From the Detroit News:
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told a rally in northern Ohio on Thursday night that Chrysler was considering moving production of its Jeep vehicles to China, apparently reacting to incorrect reports circulating online.
“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,” Romney said at a rally in Defiance, Ohio, home to a General Motors powertrain plant. “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.”
Romney was apparently responding to reports Thursday on right-leaning blogs that misinterpreted a recent Bloomberg News story earlier this week that said Chrysler, owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA, is thinking of building Jeeps in China for sale in the Chinese market.
Romney told Ohioans that a major manufacturer is on the verge of moving all its jobs to China — but it isn’t true. Chrysler is looking to build Jeeps in China for the Chinese market, not to move American jobs there. In fairness to Romney, the news story that gave rise to this tale seems to have been sloppily written. But all the relevant facts were in the original article. And in any case, there are no indications the Romney campaign bothered to check out its preferred story before working it into his stump speech.
In political terms, this goes directly to the heart of the argument Obama has been making about Romney to Ohioans about trust: That Romney can’t be trusted in a very fundamental way to level with them or genuinely look out for their interests, that he’ll tell them anything to win the election. The auto bailout has been central to that case. Obama has argued that not only did Romney fail to support the auto rescue at a time when Ohioans needed it; he doesn’t even have the integrity to admit it. He’ll claim he favored rescuing the auto industry in the manner Obama ultimately did in order to get elected, even though it’s false. This is more of the same.
Beyond the politics, this story should be a big deal. Romney may very well be the next president. That’s a position of some responsibility. Yet he and his campaign rushed to tell voters a story designed to stoke their fears for their livelihoods without bothering to vet it for basic accuracy. This is not a small thing. It reveals the depth of Romney’s blithe lack of concern for the truth — and the subservience of it to his own political ambitions.
UPDATE: I noted in the above post that Bloomberg’s original story seemed to have been “sloppily written.” But the story was in fact perfectly clear on the situation. It says that Chrysler may end up making “all of its models” in China, for the Chinese market, but it clearly says that Chrysler will be “adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”
* Obama ahead in Nevada, tied in Colorado: New NBC/WSJ polls find that Obama’s lead in Nevada is holding: He’s ahead 50-47 among likely voters. Key finding: No movement in the state since before the debates. In Colorado, the two are tied at 48-48, a shift from Obama’s previous 50-45 lead.
With Romney gaining in Colorado among independents and Denver suburbanites, Obama is holding Romney to a tie thanks to his overwhelming advantage among Latinos. They are also fueling his lead in Nevada. It’s a reminder of how pivotal Latino turnout could prove to Obama’s reelection chances.
* Again: Why so little discussion of Virginia? A new Fox poll finds Romney ahead of Obama by only two points among likely voters in Virginia, 47-45. I’m not aware of any quality poll finding Romney only two points behind Obama in Ohio. It remains inexplicable that Virginia is widely assumed to be in Romney’s pocket. In reality, the polling averages show the race is tighter in Virginia than in Ohio.
* Early voting up from 2008: ABC News has a useful overview of the early voting that’s underway right now. More Democrats have cast early votes in Iowa and Nevada, while Republicans have the edge in Florida and Colorado. Ohio has boasted by far more early votes than any other state — 808,051 — but the state doesn’t register voters by party, so there’s no breakdown. However, polls show Obama winning in early Ohio voting by huge margins.
* Can Obama’s turnout machine pull it off? Don’t miss Jim Rutenberg’s detailed look at the massive turnout machinery the Obama campaign has spent years building, and at the quiet confidence the Obama team has in its intense microtargeting to eke out a slim victory, even as the commentators remain distracted by talk of Romney’s supposed “surge.”
* More good economic news (sort of): Reuters:
Economic growth picked up in the third quarter as a late burst in consumer spending offset the first cutbacks in investment in more than a year by cautious businesses. The stronger pace of expansion, however, fell short of what is needed to make much of a dent in unemployment, and offers little cheer for the White House ahead of the closely contested November 6 presidential election.
What matters politically is perceptions of the direction of the economy.
* Yup, Romney’s jobs plan is a sham: Paul Krugman says what must never be said: Only one of the presidential candidates has an actual jobs plan, and it ain’t Mitt Romney. To reiterate, Glenn Kessler asked the Romney campaign to provide back up for the claim that his plan will create 12 million jobs. The campaign was unable to do it. The plan is a sham. By contrast, whether you like it or not, Obama’s plan has been evaluated by economists.
It is simply amazing that there has been so little effort on the part of major news organizations to compare the two candidates’ central proposals on the most pressing problem facing the country.
* Obama campaign again ties Romney to Mourdock: The Obama campaign has created a web page with a clock counting the amount of time that has lapsed since Richard Mourdock made his rape comments, without Romney pulling his support. Dems have had success in stretching out the story, and there are still no indications that Romney intends to further clarify his support for Mourdock.
* Hitting Romney’s remarks about “the poor”: The Obama-allied American Bridge and the Jewish Council for Education and Research are out with a new Web video featuring comic Elon James White lampooning Romney’s claim that “the poor are taken care of” because “they have a safety net.” As many have noted, doing something about poverty (as opposed to whether we should preserve the safety net) is a topic that’s been oddly missing from the campaign. Exhibit A: This Romney comment had been all but forgotten.
* And Romney’s campaign chair suggests Powell motivated by race: Yep, John Sununu really did explain Powell’s endorsement of Obama this way:
Well, I think that when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being President of the United States — I applaud Colin for standing with him.
Sununu has since clarified that he believes Powell’s endorsement was only motivated by preference for the president’s policies. But he said what he said, and as Steve Benen notes, a top Romney campaign official adopted an argument that’s straight out of the Rush Limbaugh playbook; in fact, Rush himself employed it in 2008.