Remarkably, Stevens uses Romney's original, completely false quote—then talks in circles trying to convince us it said something other than it did. As a reminder, here it is:
"I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China. I will fight for every good job in America, I’m going to fight to make sure trade is fair."All production to China. Got that? Stevens sums it up:
That’s it. It was not a big story. The New York Times and Washington Post did not mention it in their coverage.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Oh, well, if two newspapers missed a possible story, case closed. And I'm sure they'll thank you for mentioning it, Stuart. Anyway, "that's it." If no one outside Romney's immediate audience had noticed that he said Jeep was moving all production to China, all would have been well, or something. Except people did notice, and it didn't go so well for Romney, because of the part where it was untrue. And because the Romney campaign then doubled down with an ad pushing a slightly more accurate version of the story, but still one presented for maximum scare value.
So here we are, 17 months later, and Stuart Stevens would like to revisit this campaign disaster that happened on his watch. According to Stevens, by "all production to China," Romney really meant "starting to make Jeeps in China for the Chinese market," which would have been accurate. If it had been what he said. Stevens appears to have been goosed into frantic spinning action by recent stories noting that Chrysler's Toledo Jeep plant is hiring 1,000 part-time workers to deal with demand. This is Not A Good Deal For Workers, Stevens argues, because the jobs are part-time and temporary. Oh, please. As if Mitt Romney stood for anything other than part-time and temporary jobs.
Let's clarify, though: The situation is that the full-time, permanent workers at the Jeep plant had been working so many hours that they needed a break and their union negotiated this solution. Part-time workers are being brought in to work between 10 and 30 hours a week at the pay rate of new full-time hires, with health insurance. Would it be better if more of these jobs were converted to non-temporary jobs? Abso-freaking-lutely. But does this show that Mitt Romney was somehow magically right when he said Chrysler was moving all Jeep production to China? Only in the fevered imagination of a professional spinner who's probably using this occasion to beat the bushes for a 2016 candidate to hire him.