In his speech Wednesday evening, Rep. Paul Ryan referenced a Janesville, Wis. GM plant that was shut down, linking its closure to President Obama, who gave a speech there in 2008. But it turns out the last GM vehicle produced at the plant was in late 2008 when George W. Bush was still president.
“My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory,” Ryan said in his convention speech Wednesday night. “A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008.”
“Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight,” Ryan continued.
The plant Ryan referenced, which he also brought up at an event earlier this month, made its last GM automobile in December 2008 while President George W. Bush was still in office. The announcement to close the Janesville plant came in June of 2008, after then-candidate Obama spoke there, and the initial projected date for its closing was 2010, according to an AP article from the time.
The plant remained open for a few months in 2009 to complete orders on Isuzu vehicles, a company with which GM had a partnership.
In February 2008, Obama told employees at the plant “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,” according to USA Today.
The Romney/Ryan campaign noted the plant did not close but went into”standby” in 2008 and remains in that status today, as is noted in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. The campaign also pointed to a statement released in 2008 by Obama’s campaign that said it would help “retool” plants like the one scheduled to shut down in Janesville.
“I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America,” an Obama campaign statement from 2008 reads.
The AP reported Ryan joined with other Wisconsin legislators to lobby GM to keep the plant open, but they were unsuccessful.
This post was updated.