PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: Romney’s Jeep Claim

  • Share
  • Read Later

PolitiFact has picked its lie of the year: Mitt Romney’s ad implying Ohio jobs would be shipped overseas because Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” You’ve probably seen the deceptive spot, which sparked a backlash against Romney in late October and hindered his push to win Ohio. If not, here it is:

Calling the ad “brazenly false,” PolitiFact writes:

[Romney’s campaign] stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false.

People often say that politicians don’t pay a price for deception, but this time was different: A flood of negative press coverage rained down on the Romney campaign, and he failed to turn the tide in Ohio, the most important state in the presidential election.

I think PolitiFact performs an important public service, and does so very well. That said, I don’t agree with the choice here. The ad was one of the most consequential of the campaign, and surely its most controversial. But even though it was deliberately misleading, I don’t think it was the most blatant lie — even though it was, unequivocally, intended to deceive, and Romney himself took the falsehood even further during at least one campaign event. The ad never outright asserts that Jeep is shipping jobs from Ohio to China. It asks the viewer to make that assumption. As I wrote at the time: “As political rhetoric, which is often measured by its ability to deceive an audience without crossing over into outright falsehood, it’s wondrous stuff. It begs the viewer to make false inferences.”

In designating this the “lie of the year,” Politifact seems to have factored in the furor the ad generated, as it did last year, when it awarded the dubious distinction to the Democratic contention that Republicans voted to “end Medicare.” That too was up for debate, a matter of parsing semantics as much as anything else. (Is Medicare still Medicare if it exists in a fundamentally different form?)

This stuff is subjective, as we concluded in a cover story during the campaign. Which makes ranking mendacity a mug’s game. I know because I tried to do it here,* and in hindsight I disagree with some of my own rankings. So I don’t envy Politifact the task of selecting just one lie from among the multitudes that marked the petty presidential campaign.

*While I’m copping to mistakes: in my original piece ripping Romney for the deceptive Jeep ad, I predicted it might help his campaign by muddling an issue on which Obama held an advantage. Obviously, I was wrong. 

186 comments
DaleKaskey
DaleKaskey

I'm not seeing this so much a pants on fire because as it turns out there is more truth than lies. I would say politifacts gets a pants on fire on this one.

outsider
outsider

The truth is a drug. 

Here's some more for you:

Congratulations Mitt Romney! You lost the presidential race, but you won another big contest: You’re Politifact’s Liar of the Year, for your brazen claim that thanks to the Obama auto restructuring, Chrysler was “going to build Jeeps in China,” costing Americans jobs.

In fact, of the top 10 worst political lies Politifact nominated, four came straight from Romney. In addition to the Jeep lie, he was dinged for claiming Obama began his presidency “with an apology tour,” that the president gutted the work requirement for welfare, and that he told business owners “you didn’t build that” when in context he said they didn’t build businesses alone. Only two of the top lies came directly from Obama (exaggerating George Bush’s responsibility for the deficit and claiming Romney called Arizona’s draconian immigration laws a model for the nation.) The rest came from campaign surrogates or television ads. In what feels like standard Politifact false equivalence, Democrats and Republicans were responsible for five lies apiece.

Romney’s Jeep claims and ads were pretty horrific, even leading some Chrysler workers to panic and ask supervisors if they were losing their jobs. They made a desperate effort to avert defeat in Ohio, and they failed. But I think Politifact missed the top lie of the year, which had to be Romney and Paul Ryan’s claim that Obama had “gutted” the work requirements in current welfare law. “Under Obama’s plan (for welfare), you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check,” intoned an ad from Romney’s campaign, against a backdrop of mostly white families.

It was such a lie that not only Bill Clinton but Newt Gingrich and Ron Haskins, the GOP staffer who’d developed the original bill, came out and said it wasn’t true. (Obama had granted some program waivers to governors, including Republicans, who wanted to try some local innovations to increase the number of people working – and only under the condition that work rates go up.) “There’s no plausible scenario under which it really constitutes a serious attack on welfare reform,” Haskins told NPR after the ad began airing.

http://www.salon.com/2012/12/12/the_real_top_lie_of_2012/

HarryCallahan
HarryCallahan

The TRUTH is the best drug out there! Jus sayin

HarryCallahan
HarryCallahan

Liberals love to use name calling like: angry, racist, bigots, homophobic, islamaphobic etc etc blah blah blah. Jus sayin

HarryCallahan
HarryCallahan

I am an Eternal Optimist baby! Polls show liberals tend to be more pessimistic & nihilistic. :( Jus sayin

fitty_three
fitty_three

Wow.  I think the general public will be really impressed with groeny and this new HarryCallahan guy.

I rilly, rilly do!

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

Politifact got caught in their own lie when it claimed that no socialists were involved with the founding of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and that no socialists are currently CPC members. This is easily proven by noting that Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, co-founded CPC and is a current member.

HarryCallahan
HarryCallahan

Enjoy the kool-aid folks. Truth will eventually be revealed and set us free! Jus sayin

HarryCallahan
HarryCallahan

Like Don Quixotic you are a fraud and wanna-be "person of significance".  Jus sayin

Mr.357
Mr.357

@kcshooters It's a lie because it suggests that Obama somehow decided to move all jeep production outside of the country. (even though he doesn't own the company).  And in fact, it states directly in the article that "Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. Manley referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China."  Notice that it says that no jobs will leave the United States, which is what the Romney ad was suggesting.  Chrysler is merely seeking, although not in the U.S, to add production facilities.  From what it seems, they're trying to become more of an international brand.  You could argue they should just increase production capabilities here to increase revenue but if the market isn't here for it..why do it?  Even the title of the article suggests that the Chinese citizens are wanting more jeeps to purchase for themselves as "demand rises".  To blame B.O for that seems silly.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

@HarryCallahan You calling someone else a moron is funny.

HarryCallahan
HarryCallahan

@outsider2011 It was because the DNC twisted the facts and made it one of their main talking points. You drink the kool-aid so blindly. Unfortunately you are a lost cause and a DNC robot sheep. Jus sayin

HarryCallahan
HarryCallahan

@KevinGroenhagen Unfortunately Kevin, only some moderate democrats have enough brain matter to listen to a cogent message. The rest are lost to a fairy-tail LALA land. Jus sayin

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen 

Link?  Or are you just making this case yourself?  Bernie Sanders is an independent, I'm pretty sure the point they were making is that none of the founding members belong to a literal Socialist party.

kcshooters
kcshooters

@Mr.357 @kcshooters 

The ad never claimed that "Obama decided to move all Jeep production outside the country"  It says Chrysler was sold to Italians,  and that is correct.  It says that the new owners plan to send jeep production to China, correct.. according to Bloomberg news.  

So why is it bad for all other "big corporations  to move production to China, but not Chrysler, even after Chyrsler gets a big handout at taxpayers expense.  Obama's rants have always been about US companies, on corporate welfare, setting up shop in another country.  But now that Chrysler  one of the biggest corporate welfare cases in US history decides to do it, it's suddenly OK?  Why is that?

HarryCallahan
HarryCallahan

@Hollywooddeed Wow that was very informative of you mr dog-face. Maybe your should stop screwing poodles and get informed. btw your breath smells like $hit!

outsider
outsider

my side won, and no one wants what you are pushing.

just sayin

outsider
outsider

@DonQuixotic @53_3 

Groeny is always angry - it comes from his afliction. 

And also having no integrity. 

I dunno what's up with Dirty Harry here though - he's off his rocker. 

The other conservative guy you and 53 were hitting all day was interesting though; at least he was articulating an argument. 

It was better than this stuff

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen This is what is really sad. We on the conservative side know more about your representatives and their views than you socialists do. Bernie Sanders is an independent, but he makes o secret about his being a socialist. PolitFact claimed that no socialist founded CPC or is a current member of CPC. That is a bold-faced lie since Sanders fits into both categories. Also, Democratic Socialists of America has noted that Rep. Danny Davis, an Obama ally from Chicago, is a DSAer. Davis also received an award from People's World, a communist outfit, last February.

OhMyRighties
OhMyRighties

@kcshooters @Mr.357 Man, I rarely agree with Righties, as facts are frequently glazed over, but I see your point here KC.  I do think it was a desperate attack on the part of M.R. as he was already painted as the Chrysler killer. The voting populous would likely assume "So Chrysler moving overseas gradually beats Chrysler folding suddenly" at least reasonable people would. So where that would have benefited Romney ever, I don't know.

I will say this though.. if Chrysler is selling cars in China, they would most naturally make those models in China.  Toyota has huge popularity in the US so naturally they are built here rather than being built in Japan and shipped over here.

kcshooters
kcshooters

@Mr.357 @kcshooters 

Obama makes the statement that if Healthcare reform is passed the average american family will save $2600 per year on health insurance.  That is truly not the case.  Never was going to happen, mathematically impossible.  I really don't care if he knew he was lying, or if things just didn't turn out as he expected.  What he said was NOT TRUE.  And instead of just admitting it was a lie, you write as essay.  Kinda like you did when you were trying to make a case against Romney.  You are what the rest of the world call "in the tank".  Nothing I can do to change that.  But I will change my position on who should receive "Lie of the Year Award".. that would be you, for the gem you told earlier in this thread... "I didn't vote for Obama thank you."

LMFAO!!!

Mr.357
Mr.357

@kcshooters @Mr.357 The lie was the inclination that Obama wanted or intended it to happen.  That was the lie.  I think we can agree that he nor any other politician "wanted" that to happen.

And with or w/o the AHA, premiums seem to be rising regardless(hence the thought from politicians that govt. should intervene) and there have been "analyst" to say it will affect citizens negatively and positively.  People have been complaining about this law setting up provisions for people to pay for healthcare for "poor" people and people who may not even be citizens, well, that's already happening to some extent really.  I work at the largest cancer hospital in the world and see it daily, people who cant afford the care but it gets paid for which is good, but from where?  Some of it absorbed by the institution but as far as tax breaks go only so much can be done in that manner.  Afterwards, because my place of employment is also a state institution, it turns into taxes for the citizens of the state.  So paying for the poor's healthcare is already happening to a larger extent than most people think.  The best part about the bill is that no one can be turned down due to preexisting health conditions which is great.  Romney had a similar plan that was implemented in his home state and worked "good" supposedly but then he turned around and was opposed to it which I thought was strange.  As well as Ron Paul and the rest of the party attacking it for it's "cuts" to Medicare, when now currently due to the fiscal cliff they're criticizing B.O. because he doesn't want to make cuts to Medicare.  The hypocrisy of some politicians is quite silly.  I don't see a problem with the intent of the AHA, but like all bills in this country, it could be done better.    

kcshooters
kcshooters

@Mr.357 @kcshooters 

Whoa, whoa, whoa...  You can't decide the "lie of the year" based on a candidate telling the truth and assuming that the message would be interpreted by the viewers differently.  There were plenty of bold faced lies to chose from that required no misinterpretation.

But not only was it not the biggest lie, it wasn't even a lie.  You yourself said that Fiat could move Jeep production to China... Some or all, and that the market could be the deciding factor. 

And thank you for your service.

And yes, healthcare premiums are going up.  You needn't be involved directly to see that just read a newspaper. 

or this...http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-12/aetna-ceo-sees-obama-health-law-doubling-some-premiums.html

or this..http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-blue-shield-rates-20121213,0,6546740.story

Obama stated many times that categorically  that the average family would save over $2600 per year in health care premiums.  

It was mathematically impossible..  But the average low information voter isn't capable of that kind of thinking.  But when it come to reading between the lines on a Romney ad.. look out!

Mr.357
Mr.357

@kcshooters @Mr.357 Letting the market decide "all things financial" definitely would not be a good move.  And I'm aware it didn't say "all" jeeps or that "obama" intended to do this but that's the message that's interpreted by viewers and the Romney campaign knew that.  And you're right, not the biggest lie of the year but it's quite deceptive.  This article also states that part of the reason it being voted "biggest lie" was the outrage from citizens when it was stated.  

And health insurance premiums going up?  Well, I wouldn't know anything about that, I  Served in the United States military for quite some time so my care at the VA hospital is "free" and I pay no monthly premium for health insurance at my current place of employment(ranked as one of the top places to work in the nation a couple years back by Time magazine) so that's "free" also if I'd like to visit a doctor outside of the VA system.  

kcshooters
kcshooters

@Mr.357 @kcshooters 

Hey, if you are ok with letting the market decide all things financial then we can agree.  I think Romony would second that.

As for EXACTLY what the ad says..

"...Obama took GM & Chrysler into bankruptcy  and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China."

It didn't say ALL Jeeps.

It didn't say OBAMA intended to send Jeep production to China. (that is left up to the buyer, Fiat)

And the ad isn't the biggest lie of the election year, isn't even close.  

How bout our health insurance premium cost supposedly going DOWN?  Is that a whopper or what?  That is the biggest lie ever told, not just this election, but in all elections.

Mr.357
Mr.357

@kcshooters @Mr.357 It's not necessarily Fiat's decision either is it though?  The market will be a big dictating factor in that scenario.

Mr.357
Mr.357

@kcshooters @Mr.357 I didn't vote for Obama thank you.  And Romney's point was that Obama intended for this to happen.  That's silly.  Indeed had the government not stepped in, and Chrysler folded no doubt people would have been pointing fingers at B.O.  So what do you do, seems like a lose-lose either way.  

kcshooters
kcshooters

@Mr.357 @kcshooters 

". And again, Chrysler does not plan to decrease output here in the states..."

But that isn't Chrysler's decision to make is it?  

Like you go on to say in your other post... "this wasn't chrysler's decision as you're stating, the company that owns them is the main proponent to that idea."

You have got to come to the conclusion that Obama didn't save a US company.  He saved an Italian company that has already expressed a desire to produce product in China.  And there is nothing you or I or Obama can do to stop them.

kcshooters
kcshooters

@Mr.357 @kcshooters 

"And also, this wasn't chrysler's decision as you're stating, the company that owns them is the main proponent to that idea."

And that's my point.  And that was Romney's point.  The Chrysler bailout isn't exactly as rosy as it seems upfront.  Company control was lost to Fiat.  New owners aren't beholden to growing the company in the US.  And trust me on this..  After the plant is built in China, and after the Jeeps are rolling off the line over there.  There is nothing to keep the entire production run from being produced in China.    You tell me what keeps Jeep in the USA?  A sense of guilt on Fiat's conscience?  LOL 

You guys will never give up.  Obama can do no wrong, even if he does the same thing a repub would do and gets ripped for.  Every "big coorporation" he bails out is a "good thing", every US plant that gets built overseas is a good thing, every tax dollar that goes to his favorite company is a good thing. And he rants and rants and rants about corporate welfare.  

Like Samuel Jackson said.. "Wake the F**K up!"

Mr.357
Mr.357

@kcshooters @Mr.357 And also, this wasn't chrysler's decision as you're stating, the company that owns them is the main proponent to that idea.

Mr.357
Mr.357

@kcshooters @Mr.357 I never recall B.O saying it was Ok, or that his intentions in selling it to an Italian company was so that they would create jobs overseas.  And again, Chrysler does not plan to decrease output here in the states...

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

@HarryCallahan Oh look, the GOTP brain trust has wandered into the Swampland.  Are you the bagger version of MENSA?  Jus askin'

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen You really can't be that stupid, can you? The PolitiFact item said that no socialists were involved in the founding of CPC. Bernie Sanders co-founded CPC. Sanders openly acknowledges that he is a socialist. So in what world was PolitiFact not wrong?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

And you have yet to point out to me how the above article is wrong short of "wrong by association".  Please, lace your posts with "skippy" more.  We all take you so very seriously when you do.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen When did I ever say that Lewis and Johnson are socialists, Skippy. They're merely morons. (Johnson is the one who wondered if Guam would flip over if we put too many troops on it.)

You're quite ignorant, Skippy. PolitiFact used that quote and others when it issued its false "Pants on Fire" rating.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

In 2009, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described Democratic Socialist, wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post arguing that no one else in Congress thinks similarly.

Spokespeople for Johnson and Lewis both rejected any claims to being socialists or members of the DSA.

Our rulingSovereign Citizens United believes it has evidence that shows the Congressional Progressive Caucus thinks like socialists and is under the thumb of the Democratic Socialists of America. The evidence is rather flimsy and, in some cases, bogus. The DSA doesn’t boast on its website that it created the caucus, as the sovereign group claims.

Huh, how about that.  I think you missed the point of the article Kevin.  That quote you're using above is not an endorsement of politifact.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen Here's the link,Skippy:

http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2011/sep/02/sovereign-citizens-united/did-group-get-it-right-calling-caucus-socialists/

From the link:

"[CPC] was not started by any socialist organization. It was not started by any socialists,"Bauman said of the caucus, founded in 1991. "The fact that anyone would call into question [the caucus members’] patriotism is shocking to me."

That is not true because Bernie Sanders co-founded the CPC and he was and is a socialist. He doesn't hide this:

http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=7b6eba9b-67f5-4d8f-bc75-ce63a07035d2

Also, note that Rep. Ron Dellums  co-founded CPC. He was also a member of Democratic Socialists of America at the same time.

So I wouldn't put much stock in what PolitiFact calls a lie when they have in fact lied themselves.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

Do you have a link to this article or not?  Also, why would one erroneous article disprove the evidence above?  Generalizing does not help your arguments Kevin, not that you understand what a socialist is to begin with mind you if you think Obama is one...

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@HarryCallahan @DonQuixotic 

What DNC talking points?  These?

Factcheck.org said Romney’s speech was "flat wrong" and the ad was misleading. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave the ad four Pinocchios, saying, "This ad shows that we have entered the final, desperate week of the campaign.

Fact Check and Washington Post are wings of the DNC now?  Your article also does nothing to disprove the lie.