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“Vroom, Vroom”: So Let Me Tell You About My Car And Why Mitt Romney Will Lose Ohio

Greetings from the battleground state of Ohio, which Democrats and Republicans alike insist will determine the presidential race.

No use resenting us if you don’t live here. For a few more days, we’ll be the center of the universe. After Election Day, you can go back to wondering how a state with so many dairy farms and coal miners can be in the same time zone as Manhattan.

President Barack Obama continues to hold the lead in polls in Ohio. Beltway pundits love to rattle off the reasons, but this Buckeye who lives here has narrowed it down to one: the auto rescue.

So, let me tell you about my car.

Last summer, I traded in my Pontiac Vibe for a Chevy Cruze. It’s bright red. I call it my red-hot mama car, just to embarrass the kids.

I bought the Cruze primarily because of my roots. I was born in Ohio and raised here by blue-collar parents who believed in God, hard work and organized labor. In the early 1970s, dozens of my relatives, including my utility worker father, worked in union jobs at power plants, steel mills and auto factories. I grew up believing that Ohioans knew how to make things — big things — that were shipped all around the world.

How my parents would have loved the story of the Chevy Cruze. It’s a tale of many cities, many of them in my home state, full of the people I come from.

Bear with me, please, as I rattle off Ohio workers’ contributions to the Cruze, which is now one of the best-selling cars in America:

The engine is made in Defiance.

The seat frames: Lorain.

The brackets: Waverly.

The fasteners: Brunswick.

The plastics: Tallmadge.

The seats: Warren.

The transmission: Toledo.

The sound system: Springboro.

The steel: Middletown and Cleveland.

The wing nuts: Tiffin.

The weld nuts: Hudson.

The weld studs: Medina.

The insulators: Norwalk.

The wheel bearings: Sandusky.

That is a partial list of Cruze parts made in Ohio.

The Cruze is assembled by about 4,500 union workers in Lordstown, Ohio, which is producing cars around the clock.

But wait… there’s more.

Even if you don’t live here, you probably have heard about another made-in-Ohio car: Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler, which is assembled by union workers in Toledo.

I’ll spare you that list of Ohio suppliers. Lots of cities — and lots of workers, too.

Mitt Romney, who opposed the auto rescue, recently claimed during a campaign stop in Defiance, Ohio, that Chrysler is planning to move its Jeep production to China.

For a few hours, I was willing to write off this absurd claim as just another Romney gaffe. He says a lot of ridiculous things. Some of them are even unscripted.

Then Romney doubled down on his lie with TV and radio ads here in Ohio. In them, he claims that President Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” A little word-tweaking, but the clear intention is to scare Ohio workers into believing they are about to lose their jobs.

For this whopper, Romney has earned nonpartisan PolitiFact’s worst rating, “Pants on Fire.” As PolitiFact also reminded readers, about 1 in 8 jobs in this state are auto-related. That’s more than 800,000 jobs, which means at least a half-million families who have better lives because of the auto industry. These workers have relatives — friends and neighbors, too. Most of them care about the survival of the auto industry, too, because they care about the people who work in it.

This is very bad news for Romney — just as it was bad news for Ohio Republicans when going after the collective bargaining rights of state workers backfired on them last year.

In the wake of Romney’s ad, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne felt the need to send a letter to his employees: “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand,” he said. “It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”

Nevertheless, as I write this, Romney’s ad continues to run in Ohio.

And I’m days away from renaming my made-in-Ohio Chevy Cruze the red-hot victory car for Barack Obama.

By: Connie Schultz, The National Memo, October 31, 2012

November 1, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Yes, Romney’s A Liar”: But More Than Just Creepy, This Is Getting Ridiculous

It is no secret that political candidates are capable of doing awful things when they are reach the desperate final days of an election campaign.

But trying to scare American workers into believing that a government initiative that saved their industry was some sort of secret scheme to shutter major plants and offshore jobs is more than just creepy. It’s economic fear-mongering of a sort that is destructive to the spirit of communities and to the very future of the republic as an industrial force.

George Romney, who led the remarkable American Motors Company project that would eventually produce the Jeep, never in a political career that saw him win election as governor of Michigan and seek the Republican nomination for president would have engaged in such calumny.

But George Romney’s ne’re-do-well son, a very different sort of businessman who devoted his career to taking apart American companies and offshoring jobs, is trying to resurrect his presidential candidacy with a big lie.

And the lie is about Jeeps.

Jeeps are made in Toledo, Ohio, where the iconic American vehicle has been produced since 1941, and Romney needs to win Toledo and the rest of northwest Ohio if he is to stand a chance of winning the battleground state that is key to the presidency.

Last week, Romney went to the region and shocked voters by suggesting that: “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.”

The story, an October 22 report by Bloomberg News, which specifically stated that: “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. [Fiat/Chrysler executive Mike] Manley referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”

Yet, Romney spoke of the company that manufactures Jeeps “moving all production to China.

The statement stirred fundamental fears in a regional that has been battered by plant closings. So much so that Jeep’s parent company, Chrysler, rushed to clarify that Romney was completely, totally, incredibly wrong. “Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China,” announced Chrysler.

Company spokesman Gaulberto Ranieri said that Romney had remade the facts so aggressively that: “It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.”

What was Romney’s response to being caught in a lie.

He lied bigger.

Much bigger.

The Romney campaign is now airing an ad in Ohio that claims President Obama, with the auto bailout that saved domestic vehicle production, “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.”

The ad concludes that Romney—whose Bain Capital enterprise identified as “a pioneer of outsourcing”—“will fight for every American job.”

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the nation’s top experts on political advertising reviewed the ad and dismissed it as “inferentially false.”

They are inviting a false inference,” Hall said of the Romney campaign’s attempt to suggest that Obama had engineered a change in Jeep’s status that would see the Toledo plant shuttered and its more than 3,500 workers idled.

The Washington Post “Fact Checker” site reviewed Romney’s ad and declared: “the overall message of the ad is clearly misleading—especially since it appears to have been designed to piggyback off of Romney’s gross misstatement that Chrysler was moving Ohio factory jobs to China.”

The pushback from Obama’s backers and his campaign has been aggressive.

Former President Bill Clinton flew to Ohio and decried Romney’s claim as “the biggest load of bull in the world.”

Vice President Joe Biden said: “I have never seen anything like that. It’s an absolutely, patently false assertion. It’s such an outrageous assertion that, one of the few times in my memory, a major American corporation, Chrysler, has felt obliged to go public and say, there is no truth.”

An Obama campaign ad announced that “now, after Romney’s false claim of Jeep outsourcing to China, Chrysler itself has refuted Romney’s lie.”

What was Romney’s response.

Up the ad buy.

Expand the big lie so that it is now enormous.

The deception has become such a serious issue that, on Tuesday, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne felt compelled to clarify what is becoming an international controversy.

“Chrysler Group’s production plans for the Jeep brand have become the focus of public debate. I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,” wrote Marchionne, who added:

North American production is critical to achieving our goal of selling 800,000 Jeep vehicles by 2014. In fact, U.S. production of our Jeep models has nearly tripled (it is expected to be up 185 percent) since 2009 in order to keep up with global demand…

With the increase in demand for our vehicles, especially Jeep branded vehicles, we have added more than 11,200 U.S. jobs since 2009. Plants producing Jeep branded vehicles alone have seen the number of people invested in the success of the Jeep brand grow to more than 9,300 hourly jobs from 4,700. This will increase by an additional 1,100 as the Liberty successor, which will be produced in Toledo, is introduced for global distribution in the second quarter of 2013.

There was nothing unambiguous about that statement. Yet Marchionne continued: “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.”

“Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand,” confirmed Marchionne. “It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”

That’s a rare commitment by a manufacturer—far more clear and unequivocal than the commitment Bain Capital made to the companies it bought up, tore apart and outsourced.

Yet, Mitt Romney’s campaign is still running the ad.

Still lying.

That’s made United Auto Workers union president Bob King furious:

It is especially hypocritical of Mr. Romney’s statements and new ad is Bain Capital’s closing of profitable U.S. facilities and shifting work to China to make even higher profits like what is happening today in closing a profitable Sensata plant in Freeport, IL, to move the work to China. Romney says in the ad that he will fight for every American job, so why isn’t he fighting for the American jobs at Sensata? And why isn’t he intervening with his own Bain Capital to keep these jobs in the U.S. rather than outsourcing them to China? We just wish that Mr. Romney was as committed to investing in the U.S. as Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is.

Americans will remember that President Obama stood behind American working families and American communities in rescuing the U.S. auto industry and that Mr. Romney opposed the rescue and now attacks Chrysler with misinformation. In putting out this misinformation, Romney is recklessly undermining Chrysler’s reputation and threatening good American jobs.

Imagine if Mitt Romney were to be elected president of the United States.

Imagine if he had to go into negotiations with Marchionne, or another CEO of another industrial giant, about protecting US jobs. Or expanding US manufacturing.

Would the executive trust Romney?

Or would the executive remember Romney as the politician who lied and then lied bigger in order to get what he wanted?

That’s a question that American voters who want their country to have a future as a country that makes cars and trucks and Jeeps would be wise to ponder as November 6 approaches.

 

By; John Nichols, The Nation, October 30, 2012

October 31, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Binders Full Of Lies”: Mitt Romney Doubles Down On Auto Industry Lies

Mitt Romney has tried to dodge, bob, weave, change the subject, and pretend it didn’t happen when it comes to his position on the automobile companies.

But obfuscation is not enough for Mitt Romney: Now he is resorting to an outright lie in his speeches and in his last minute, desperate advertising. In fact, two big lies.

Lie No. 1: Contrary to Romney’s claim, Detroit and Chrysler are not moving jobs and the making of Jeeps to China. In fact, they are selling Jeeps to China and they are adding $500 million and 1,100 workers to their Ohio Jeep plant. Chrysler smacked down Romney’s lie when he first said it and now Romney is up with an ad repeating the lie, ignoring Chrysler.

Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne was forced to send employees an E-mail Tuesday afternoon: “I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China.”

Hello, Mitt? Apologize and take down your TV ad. Instead, he is buying more air time and putting up radio ads with the same lie.

But it gets worse.

Lie No. 2: This is the one Romney has been repeating over and over about the American auto industry—he would have saved it with his “managed bankruptcy.” I worked for GM; there was no way the auto companies could have survived without Barack Obama’s rescue and with the decision to provide bridge loans and government help. Romney’s plan was not Obama’s plan—as he would try and make you believe. His plan was to get private capital, and as Steve Rattner, who ran the rescue team, and everyone else has stated, there was no private money. Even the conservative Detroit News praised President Obama and referred to Romney’s “wrong-headedness on the auto bailout…he was wrong in suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the private markets.”

When Romney called for letting Detroit go bankrupt, he meant it, because his view was the popular one at the time—no more bailouts, no more government money or intervention, enough already. Romney was playing politics. And he knew no one would buy a car from a bankrupt car company, unless the government stepped in to help

Now that the hard decision that President Obama made to provide government loans is popular, Romney is singing a different tune. He is not only trying to give voters the impression that he would have saved Detroit, which is absurd, he is implying that Obama is part of a plot to ship Jeep jobs to China.

Romney will lie and say anything to get elected. Let’s hope the people of Ohio and the United States see through it by next Tuesday.

By: Peter Fenn, U. S. News and World Report, October 30, 2012

October 31, 2012 Posted by | Auto Industry, Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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