One word describes Democrats’ view of Rep. Paul Ryan’s address Wednesday night to the Republican National Convention: “lies.”
The Obama campaign is criticizing the GOP vice presidential nominee, backed by reports from independent fact-checkers that claim Ryan repeatedly took liberty with the facts.
“There’s no delicate way to say this. Last night, Paul Ryan lied. Repeatedly, knowingly and brazenly,” deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter told reporters today.
“He recited charges that have been repeatedly dismissed by news organizations including many of you in this room and by independent fact checkers, but they just don’t care,” she said.
A web ad produced by the Obama campaign highlights four lines from Ryan’s speech that Democrats say were downright “false.”
Ryan said Wednesday that $716 billion were “funneled out of Medicare by President Obama,” suggesting the administration had raided the program at the expense of beneficiaries.
In reality, the Affordable Care Act did not alter existing Medicare benefits as guaranteed by law but instead trimmed payments to service providers while reducing waste, fraud and abuse, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Ryan also didn’t mention that he proposed the same $716 billion in Medicare savings in his signature budget.
(Republicans claim the trimmed payments will result in some lost benefits and higher costs, particularly for seniors with Medicare Advantage plans.)
Ryan also tied the president to the closure of a GM auto plant in Janesville, Wis., where Obama stumped in 2008 and pledged to help it stay open. But what Ryan didn’t mention is that that the plant produced its last GM car and transitioned to standby phase before Obama began his term.
“The president told the people of Wisconsin he would ‘lead an effort to retool’ it and restart production,” said Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck. “But when the bailout’s winners and losers were decided, Janesville ended up losing.” The plant remains closed.
On the $800 stimulus package, Ryan accused President Obama of “political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism at their worst.” The congressman from Wisconsin did not mention, however, that he too sought a piece of the pie. Letters from his office and with his signature show that he appealed to federal officials for grants on behalf of two state energy conservation companies. (Ryan has since said the letters were mishandled.)
Democrats claim that perhaps the rankest hypocrisy from Ryan came when he slammed Obama for not embracing the deficit-reduction proposals of the Simpson-Bowles Commission. “He thanked them, sent them on their way and did exactly nothing,” Ryan said last night. Left unsaid is that Ryan, who was a member of the panel, voted against the same plan.
Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck insisted that, on face value, all of the claims made in the speech were true.
“Instead of admitting that his policies have led to record unemployment, debt that puts our economy at risk, and programs that have grown government at the expense of the private sector, President Obama continues to double down on the same false attacks and policies that have done nothing to fix our economy,” he said in a statement.
But Cutter argued today that Ryan demonstrated that his and Romney’s campaign has an open strategy of defying the truth.
“Two days ago, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney said, and I quote, ‘We’re not going to be beholden to fact checks,’” she said, referring to comments earlier this week by Romney pollster Neil Newhouse. “They proved that last night.”
ABC News’ Elicia Dover and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.