Romney surrogate Marsha Blackburn has Romnesia. Asked on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co if Romney was lying about Jeep moving production to China, Blackburn said, “Oh, well, I don’t know. I haven’t talked with the campaign staff about that.”
To catch you up, during a rally in Ohio, Romney said Jeep was moving “all production to China.” Since then, he’s put out an ad insinuating that Jeep is moving production to China.
Full segment (starting at 10:14):
TRANSCRIPT VIA MSNBC (Sic):
JANSING: There is a controversy about Mitt Romney telling voters that Jeep is going to move production to China. According to the company that’s entirely false. Is he lying about that?
BLACKBURN: Oh, well, I don’t know. I haven’t talked with the campaign staff about that. I will say this. (PIVOTS hard) For workers in the auto industry, across the board, whether it is GM, whether it’s Nissan, whether it’s American Motors, individuals are very concerned about the impact of regulation that the EPA and OSHA and other federal agencies are heaping on our manufacturers. I hear this every day from my constituents who are incredibly concerned about this… Everybody talks about this. It is the out-of-control regulation, the difficulty we have with trade issues right now. That’s why Mitt Romney has laid out a plan to create 12 million American jobs making America more business-friendly and reducing this regulation.
(She is correct that Romney has no jobs plan other than reducing regulation and tax cuts for the rich. The 12 million number Romney cites is actually the number of jobs projected to be created if we continue on as we are, and he does nothing.)
JANSING: And yet, the numbers, the at least from Chrysler, they felt so compelled about what Mitt Romney was saying on the campaign trail that they issued a statement to say, not only are they not moving jobs to china, in fact, the company has announced plans to hire an additional 12,000 workers in Detroit. That will contradict what you say are concerns about autoworkers?
(Reality? Um, no thanks…)
BLACKBURN: I don’t see it as a contradiction at all. I think it is a testament to America in general at this time that people move forward to manufacture in this country. EPA and government regulators are making it more and more difficult every single day. This is what we hear from so many of our manufacturers, large and small.
So, no matter that Chrysler is increasing production, Blackburn is still going to claim that regulations are threatening manufacturing here. Ohio’s unemployment rate is below the national average, due in large part to the auto industry and its subsidiaries.
It seems that Blackburn, like Romney, can’t tell if something is a lie unless she checks with Romney. So, according to her, there is no reality that is established outside of Romney’s head. This is just bizarre.
Since the Romney campaign knows that they got the Jeep production claim wrong, it is clear that by choosing to perpetuate it, Romney is lying.
Instead of backing down, Romney put out an ad making the same claim but less directly. In the ad they merely insinuate this, using choice quotes from the Bloomberg article that were already debunked. Knowingly misusing already debunked, inaccurate statements is not a gaffe. It is s decision to deceive and mislead.
The Romney campaign is doing this in order to deceive middle class Ohioans who haven’t forgotten his “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” bit into voting for Romney. Romney has consistently polled under Obama in Ohio, which is in Obama’s corner statistically right now, even as the Romney camp says otherwise. Romney’s weakness in Ohio is why they are resorting to such obvious lies.
The Romney camp tried to make people think that Romney’s plan for the auto industry was the same as the President’s but no one was buying it, so instead they accused the President of shipping jobs to China, as Romney’s Bain is actually doing.
There are other misleading aspects to Romney’s ad, like his claim that he has a plan for the auto industry, when in fact he has revealed no such plan.
The fact that Blackburn thinks she needs to check with the campaign staff on whether or not Romney is lying is telling. It means that within Republican circles, there is no base agreement on what constitutes a fact. Everyone knows where Romney got this idea and everyone knows that Chrysler clarified the confusing Bloomberg article. If Chrysler’s words weren’t enough, the fact that they are adding jobs, not taking them away, should have been proof positive.
Romney could claim he misunderstood on day one, but instead he chose to cynically deny reality and facts because it benefits him to do so. All it took was a Google search of Bloomberg and Chrysler on day one to find numerous clarifications. To choose days later to build an ad around a claim you know is false and you know frightens the hard working folks in Ohio is a new low.
Obama’s campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said, “In the final week of this campaign, Mitt Romney and his supporters have completely abandoned the truth. In Ohio today, Senator Portman looked straight into voters’ eyes and falsely claimed Mitt Romney would have saved the auto industry. That’s just not true – when it mattered most, Romney turned his back on the industry and more than one million jobs up and down the supply chain.”
Back when we were in deep crisis and Obama was trying to navigate the best solution for the auto industry, Romney said Obama’s solution “would make GM the living dead.” Now he wants you to believe that he had the same solution as Obama, so he’s rewriting history and playing parsing games. Romney got it as wrong as it is possible to get it. Now he’s claiming credit for Obama’s plan. Since that isn’t working, he resorted to lying about Jeep and here we are.
It’s one thing to politicize the auto rescue, it’s another to politicize reality.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.