Paul Ryan's VP Acceptance Speech Draws Critics, Analysis of His Statements
Was Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who is Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, accurate?
Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s vice presidential speech was emotional and energetic for GOP members watching in Tampa and at home, but critics have been quick to analyze the speech, pointing out where they believe the line of truth has been blurred.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ranked Ryan’s statements about President Barack Obama promising to keep the Janesville General Motors plant open as false:
“Ryan said Obama broke his promise to keep a Wisconsin GM plant from closing," wrote the Milwaukee newspaper. "But we don't see evidence he explicitly made such a promise – and more importantly, the Janesville plant shut down before he took office."
The Janesville plant closed operations in December 2008, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Obama was inaugurated in January 2009. However, a Janesville Gazette article states that while most of the plant was shut down, the final operations ceased in April 2009.
“My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory,” Ryan said Wednesday night. “A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. 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. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”
A report in USA Today shows that Obama made the statement to the Janesville factory in February 2008, but that notice of the plant’s closure wasn’t given until June 2008.
But while the Journal Sentinel ranked Ryan’s statements as being false, CNN ranked the statements as “true, but incomplete.”
Here’s CNN’s analysis of Ryan’s statement.
“But 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.”
Other Statements From Ryan’s Speech
Ryan praised presidential candidate Mitt Romney in his speech. The following quote earned him a “half true” from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Mitt has not only succeeded, but succeeded where others could not. He turned around the Olympics at a time when a great institution was collapsing under the weight of bad management, overspending, and corruption – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in ten legislators are Democrats, and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down, household incomes went up, and Massachusetts, under Mitt Romney, saw its credit rating upgraded.”
The Journal Sentinel also ranked Ryan’s comments alleging Obama “funneled” $716 billion from Medicare as “mostly false.”
As for comments from Ryan about Obama doing nothing with a report from a bipartisan debt commission? CNN ranked the following statement as misleading:
"He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report," Ryan said about Obama. "He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing."