(CNN) — Despite facing heated criticism over some comments from his convention speech, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan stood by his remarks Thursday, August 30th.
On CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” Ryan said he would not revise his statements linking President Obama to the closure of a General Motors plant in Wisconsin, even though the decision to shutter the factory occurred before Obama took office.
“It’s still idle,” Ryan said. “The point is this is a story of the Obama economy. A man running for president in 2008 making all these grand promises and then none of them occurring.”
During his speech Wednesday night, Ryan told a story about then-presidential candidate Obama sharing with auto workers his hope that government could help keep their plant open. In his speech, Ryan quoted Obama as saying “if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.”
Ryan added: “That plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.”
The plant was shut down just over a year later, but the decision to do so occurred in June 2008, prior to Obama winning election to the White House. It officially closed its doors in April 2009, a few months into Obama’s first term.
According to a CNN Fact Check, Ryan’s statement was true–in the sense that the factory closed down while Obama was president, but his speech was incomplete.
The CNN report states: “To fairly evaluate Obama’s statement, at least two pieces of context — missing from Ryan’s account — would be useful: First, that Obama wasn’t telling this plant that he’d save it from a pending closure. He wasn’t addressing a plant that he knew to be closing, because the closure announcement didn’t come until four months after his speech. Second, although the plant’s last bit of production stopped early in Obama’s presidency and the plant remains closed, the closure was planned before Obama became president.”
But Ryan on Thursday did not walk back his comments.
“He got elected. He put his policies in place and the plant is still shut down,” Ryan said on CNN. “These are empty promises that become broken promises, and that’s the story of the Obama economy.”
The House Budget chairman also stood by another jab he made Wednesday, blaming Obama for “doing nothing” over last year’s debt deal fiasco.
“He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing,” Ryan, who served on that panel, said in his convention speech.
According to a CNN Fact Check, Ryan was misleading over the so-called Bowles-Simpson plan–the deficit reduction proposal that became the end product of the presidential debt commission. However, the proposal failed to gain enough votes from the group’s 18 members to pass. Ryan, himself, even voted against the plan.
The CNN Fact Check states: “Obama didn’t sign onto the Bowles-Simpson recommendations wholeheartedly, but he did take some of their suggestions to Congress in 2011. And Ryan ignores his own role in the failure of the Bowles-Simpson panel.”
Pressed about it further Thursday, Ryan emphasized the budget plan he put forward, arguing that he at least took action beyond the commission, whereas the president did not.
“We took the best ideas from Bowles-Simpson and added other ideas and passed it. President Obama did none of that. President Obama said ‘I don’t like this plan’ and offered nothing in return,” Ryan said.
Asked about the last-minute debt ceiling deal reached between Congress and the White House last summer–one for which House Speaker John Boehner engaged in multiple negotiations with Obama–Ryan said it wasn’t enough.
“It was a small or medium-sized deal, and cutting a back room deal that gives you liability is not leadership,” Ryan said. “Submitting a budget to Congress that fixes a problem is leadership, and we haven’t seen it from President Obama.”
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