Wow! No video available yet because it just happened, but on The Ed Schultz Show just now, Ed interviewed two men who were among those who lost their jobs at the GM Auto Plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. One of them flat out said that he was in the room when President Obama, then candidate Obama, visited the plant and he never promised them that he would keep their plant open.
The two men interviewed sat in front of a room full of people at the UAW Local 95 Hall.
Q: Was Paul Ryan lying when he blamed President Obama for your plant's closure?This is just a quick transcript which is more difficult off the DVR than using the online video. Once the video is available at MSNBC, I'll add it to the diary. This is an interesting turn of events coupled with something I read yesterday, that I didn't really see anybody talking about here, at Talking Points Memo:
Brad Dutcher: Absolutely. Absolutely, President Obama, then Senator Obama, had nothing to do with the decision to close our factory. That was an outright lie.
Q: Did Paul Ryan fail to help you at all, Ron. What about that?
Ron McInroy: Let me correct you first, Ed. I really didn't work at the plant but I am the Director of the Region in which the plant is located. So I just want to correct that little. Where we believe Paul Ryan lied and where he failed at is his inconsistencies. Early on if you look, he voted for stimulus package in the early 2000s, and at that time that was under George Bush, which again was a party line vote. If you look again 2008 just like you said earlier, it's really about the timeline and how things happened. When this plant closed in 2008, George Bush was still in office and their party line politics were in effect at that time.
When Barack Obama was elected, and in 2009 the plant had already closed. But what's really important here is, once the plant had closed, where we needed Mr. Ryan to step up was simply when people needed TA grants to retool, reeducate themselves to get back into other jobs; he failed to do that. He did not want to reach out and do those grants. As far as where he's inconsistent on the unemployment, again, early on in the 2000 he was all for extended unemployment, but in 2009 when these workers here really needed that, when their plant was closed, he again failed to do that.
Q: All right, Brad, I want to ask you. Are you under the impression, and do you think President Obama left the impression, that if he were elected president that that Janesville plant was going to remain open?
Brad: Absolutely not. I was in that meeting when President Obama spoke inside our plant. There was never a promise made by then Senator Obama to keep our plant open. Absolutely not. That is completely false. And you know again ...
Brad: Where Congressman Ryan failed us, is when these employees needed it most, and to pull a stunt that he did at the Republican National Convention, and use the closing of this plant and to disgrace the plight of these workers when even today four years after the closing of this plant we have families separated. We have moms and dads that drive four or five states away to come home on the weekends to see their families. [Cheering from people in room.] And to use that and to turn this plant closing and into a political football is shameful and he ought to be ashamed of himself and we ought to be ashamed of him. [Cheering from people in room.]
Steve Rattner, who oversaw the Obama administration’s auto rescue, told TPM Thursday that Paul Ryan personally lobbied him in 2009 to intervene to reopen the Janesville, Wis., plant he cited in his convention speech on Wednesday.This was also being reported at Bloomberg News Businessweek:
Rattner recalled telling him the same thing he had told other lawmakers with similar requests: The White House left those decisions to the car companies.
“We did not get involved with individual plant decisions in the auto task force,” Rattner said in an interview with TPM. “So I find it ironic that Paul Ryan, who thinks the government should stay out of all this, was nonetheless lobbying to change that decision.”
“The Obama administration had nothing to do with any individual plant-closing decisions,” Steven Rattner, who headed Obama’s auto task force, said yesterday in an interview. “But in this case, it’s particularly egregious to suggest that the administration had any connection since this decision was made and announced before Barack Obama became president.”So wow! Paul Ryan has some explaining to do. These workers in Janesville don't back up his story. The government didn't tell the auto industry what to do. The decisions were left to the business. Oh, and let's not forget the paper trail.
For more background on what's going on in Wisconsin politics, (h/t history first) check out AnnieJo's diary, Why They Think Lies & Propaganda Can Win: The Wisconsin Example.Update: Here's the video from MSNBC of the entire segment. Apologizes to my regular readers, I just don't have time to type it all up tonight. Thank you for your understanding.
Also, while I'm thinking about it, Paul Ryan is still on the ballot in Wisconsin for his House seat in Wisconsin. His opponent is Rob Zerban who has posted here under his personal name, and has started an account here for his Congressional Campaign. You can also visit the Campaign website. Paul Ryan isn't going to be the next vice president. Let's make sure that he also doesn't return to Congress in November. As you saw the people in Ryan's district say on The Ed Schultz Show tonight ... he dropped the ball when they needed him most. Let's help those people get a representative who will actually do the job!