Mitt Romney, as a presidential candidate, has always had a fluid relationship with the truth, and the final week of the campaign is no different. In his litany of critiques on President Obama’s handling of the economy, he has claimed in recent days that GM and Chrysler are considering moving its entire manufacturing business to China. Two of the major auto manufacturers moving tens of thousands of jobs overseas is indeed a damning indictment of our current economic climate…or it would be if it were true.
The fib “sources” from a creative interpretation of a Bloomberg News report that Chrysler owner Fiat "plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in that country." The Romney camp eagerly took that to mean that jobs were leaving the United States, despite the fact that these are all new jobs in addition to the ones that are, and will remain, in the U.S.
Greg Martin, a spokesman from GM, had this to say about Romney’s allegations:
“We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days. 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.”
Well that clears things up, yes? Yes. Unless you live in a certain nearby parallel universe. An adviser to the Romney campaign offered this rebuttal:
“Chrysler has the option of serving the Chinese market. They could do it in any number of ways. I think one of those ways is to increase production here in the U.S. And instead they chose to increase production in China.”
So, just making sure I have this right, an American company produces cars that are so popular in China that it makes fiscal sense to manufacture them over there, and it’s Obama’s fault that they didn’t instead choose to build them in the U.S. and ship them across the world’s largest ocean. What? First of all, that’s a bizarre claim. Second, it’s not what the Romney camp has been saying, which is that many GM and Chrysler jobs will be replaced by Chinese jobs. Romney is running an ad in crucial Ohio which makes that false claim, with no plans to take it down. After all, with less than a week before the election, why correct when you can just continue to confuse? Or, as Vice President Joe Biden put it:
“What a cynical, cynical thing to do.”
The most peculiar thing of all is the Romney camp’s sudden lack of familiarity with the concept of investing overseas. A certain bank account in the Cayman Islands makes that idea something short of credible.
Image credit: Reuters