President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. 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. 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…
One question is whether when Paul Ryan attacked Barack Obama last night for the closure of the Janesville, WI GM plant, he knew or did not know that the plant had been closed before Obama took office.
Paul Ryan Used Government Funds and Power to Try and Save GM Plant: General Motors announced on June 3, 2008 that it intended to close the nearly 100-year-old [Janesville] plant…. [T]he company suspended all operations at the facility by Dec. 23, 2008, eliminating 2,400 jobs. It has been in “standby” mode since….
Ryan was one of 32 Republicans who voted for the $14 billion auto bailout in December 2008…. The task force of which Ryan was a member went as far as to explore the possibility of using funds from the $789 billion stimulus deal approved by Congress, task-force members said, a package Ryan voted against and publicly called a “wasteful spending spree.”…
Former task-force members as well as press releases and a letter from Ryan’s office show the important role Ryan played when GM moved to shut down the plant, which at its height employed as many as 7,000 people, and was one of two operating at the time in Janesville. Tim Cullen was a member of the Janesville school board when Gov. Jim Doyle asked him to co-chair the task force along with United Auto Workers 95 President Brad Dutcher to fight the shutdown. Ryan or his chief of staff attended all the meetings held by the task force, Cullen said, adding, “We worked with officials from both parties, the local health-care sector, local government, the county, and the city to try to put together a package, a proposal to try to get them to stay in Janesville.” Cullen also said “There was not another elected official who tried harder than Paul Ryan to save the plant,” and that Ryan’s chief of staff, Andy Speth, was often Ryan’s liaison to the task force. A task-force member said that the congressman’s office became an important point of contact between GM and the task-force members working to save the plant.“What Paul did was whenever we asked him to try and get a hold of someone in Detroit or General Motors, he would do it,” Cullen said….
On June 3, 2008 Ryan sent a letter to Wagoner cosigned by Feingold and Sen. Herb Kohl. In it, they asked the company to consider the importance of the plant to the town, as well as to explore bringing new product lines to the facility. “The Janesville GM plant has a continued role to play in the future success of GM and we ask that GM reconsider the decision to close the Janesville plant,” the legislators wrote…. “He was completely dedicated,” Cullen said of Ryan’s involvement in the task force. “This is his home town, and he has been the world enough to know that what happens to a town the size of Janesville when it loses a plant of this size.”…
In September of 2008, Ryan traveled to Detroit with three Democrats—Sen. Russ Feingold, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, and Gov. Doyle—to meet directly with GM executives and ask them not to close the plant….
At a campaign stop on Thursday, Ryan claimed that President Obama had promised to “keep the plant open” in Janesville, and laid the blame for its closure at the president’s doorstep even though Obama did not take office until after the facility had closed. Ryan, who task force members said did everything he could to keep the plant open, said that Obama’s purported words were “one more broken promise.”