A former employee of the General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin said Paul Ryan “should be ashamed of himself” for his misleading claim about the plant’s shutdown.
During his speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, Ryan blamed President Obama for the plant’s closing.
“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,” Ryan had said. “Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.”
Brad Dutcher, the former GM employee, told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz on Friday that he was at the Janesville plant during Obama’s visit and that Ryan had told an “outright lie” by implying that Obama had been responsible for the plant’s closure.
Dutcher said that Obama “had nothing to do with the decision to close our factory.” He added that “there was never a promise made…to keep our plant open. That is completely false.”
Dutcher’s comments come on the heels of widespread criticism from Democrats and the media. A progressive Fox News columnist called the speech “apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.” The Washington Post called it “breathtakingly dishonest.” Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, told the LA Times that “Paul Ryan lied.”
As Schultz pointed out, the plant shut down in December 2008, when George W. Bush was still in office. The plant’s shutdown had been announced months earlier.
Dutcher said that Ryan should be “ashamed of himself” for his misleading claim.
“To turn this plant closing into a political football is shameful,” he said. “We still have families that are separated, we have moms and dads that drive 4, 5 states away that come home on the weekends to see their families,” because of the plant’s closing.
Ryan’s campaign has pushed back against criticisms, arguing that “whenever the plant may have closed, it has yet to re-open under Obama, and is therefore a symbol of a failed recovery.”