The Romney campaign is running a new radio ad in Ohio that leaves impressions about auto jobs in the United States and China that fact-checkers, Chrysler and GM say are wrong.
The campaign has spent $100,000 to run the new 60-second radio spot in Toledo and $124,000 to run it in Dayton, according to a Democrat familiar with the ad buys.
It begins, "Barack Obama says he saved the auto industry. But for who? Ohio or China? Under President Obama, GM cut 15,000 American jobs, but they are planning to double the number of cars built in China, which means 15,000 more jobs for China."
The company did in fact shed about that many American jobs during Obama's tenure, but most of the losses came before the administration's rescue of the auto industry.
"We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” GM spokesman Greg Martin told The Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. “No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”
The ad goes on to say, “Chrysler is starting to build cars in, you guessed it, China. What happened to the promises made to autoworkers in Toledo and throughout Ohio? The same hard-working men and women who were told that Obama’s auto bailout would help them.”
The statement about Chrysler’s planned operation in China echoes a similar television ad the campaign is running in Ohio that earned “Four Pinocchios” from The Washington Post’s fact-checker and a “Pants on Fire” rating from PolitiFact for implying that the President Obama's handling of Chrysler has hurt American autoworkers.
Romney erroneously stated at a rally in Ohio last Thursday that Chrysler, which owns Jeep, “is thinking of moving all production to China.” In fact, Chrysler may expand Jeep manufacturing to China to supply the Chinese market, but has reiterated several times that it is not cutting any production in the United States.
While the statements made in both the radio and television spots are factually correct, they create the impression that Obama has hurt the auto industry when in fact the consensus is that he saved it.They also suggest that Chrysler is moving American jobs to China — an implication that Chrysler has repeatedly said is false.
“Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand,” Chrysler’s CEO wrote in a letter published Tuesday by The Detroit News. “It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”
The radio spot also states, “Mitt Romney grew up in the auto industry. Maybe that’s why The Detroit News endorsed him, saying ‘Romney understands the industry and will shield it from regulators who never tire of churning out new layers of mandates.’ ”
What the spot doesn’t mention: The conservative newspaper’s endorsement of Romney goes out of its way to praise Obama’s handling of the bailout, and criticizes Romney’s “wrong-headedness” on the issue, before going on to state that Romney would be a better friend to the industry going forward.
The News isn't Romney's only fan in Detroit. Former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, along with the company's former president, Hal Sperlich, endorsed the Republican challenger in a blog post circulated by the Romney campaign on Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, in the absence of a record or a plan to restore the strength of our nation’s economy, President Obama has resorted to misleading attacks about Romney’s commitment to the automotive industry," the two men write. "But if there’s anyone who wants to see American car companies thrive and succeed, it’s Mitt Romney."
The tagline of Romney's new radio ad portrays him as the champion of an industry vital to a state he needs to win to reach the White House: “Mitt Romney — he’ll stand up for the auto industry. In Ohio, not China."