In Ohio, Biden slams Ryan for GM plant closing claims

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop at the United Auto Workers Local 1714 Union Hall, Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, in Lordstown, Ohio. AP Photo/Mark Stahl

Joe Biden
AP Photo/Mark Stahl

(CBS News) LORDSTOWN, Ohio -- Vice President Joe Biden slammed Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan for inaccurately suggesting in his convention speech that a GM auto plant in Ryan's hometown closed on President Obama's watch.

"What [Ryan] didn't tell you is the plant in Janesville actually closed when President Bush was still in office," Biden said, eliciting boos from the pro-Obama crowd. "He didn't tell you that! And what they didn't say is, but for the sacrifices you made, and the courage of the president, all those GM plants would have closed."

Lordstown is home to a major GM assembly plant, the area's largest employer.

On Wednesday night, Ryan, a House member from Wisconsin,told the Republican National Convention in Tampa that a GM plant in Janesville closed after Mr. Obama pledged to keep it open. "A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant," Ryan said. He quoted Mr. Obama saying during a 2008 campaign appearance at the facility that if elected, "this plant will be here for another 100 years."

"That's what he said in 2008," Ryan said. "Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year."

CBSNews.com reviewed Mr. Obama's 2008 remarks on the Janesville plant and the reasons for its closure in a fact-check of Ryan's speech.

In his remarks, Biden also reminded the crowd that Mr. Obama led the government reorganization of the auto industry after it nearly went bankrupt during the recession. Republican nominee Mitt Romney at the time argued against government intervention. (More on Romney's position on the auto bailout here).

"What they didn't say is because of the auto rescue, there are 4,500 of you working here today. And GM is adding two shifts," Biden said, adding, in a reference to a now famous headline on an op-ed written by Romney, "And what they didn't acknowledge is Governor Romney's position was, 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.'"

  • Rodney Hawkins On Twitter»

    Rodney Hawkins covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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