When Paul Ryan looks at the empty GM plant in his Janesville, Wisconsin, district, all he sees is President Obama and “one more broken promise.” Problem is, the factory that opened in 1919 and once employed 7,000 workers closed five months before the president was even elected.
Ryan accused President Obama of breaking the nonexistent promise at a campaign stop in Ohio yesterday. “I remember President Obama visiting it when he was first running, saying he’ll keep that plant open,” Ryan said with rolled-up sleeves. “One of the reasons that plant got shut down was $4 gasoline. You see, this costs jobs. The president’s terrible energy policies are costing us jobs.”
Not all of Ryan’s story was a lie. Then-candidate Obama did visit the GM plant in February 2008. During the trip he said, “I believe if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.”
Four months later, GM announced plans to close the plant. And as Ryan said, high gas prices were to blame. Given the tanklike miles per gallon achieved by the SUVs built there, Chevy’s Suburban and Tahoe, the plant never stood a chance with $4-per-gallon gas. Of course, President George W. Bush was in charge of energy policy in June 2008 when the closure was announced. He was also in charge in December when the last vehicle came off the assembly line.