Ryan Omits Support for Auto Bailout


Congressman Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republican National Convention Wednesday night singled out comments President Obama made at the Janesville General Motors plant as a candidate in 2008. However, Ryan neglected to mention his own record of supporting government help for the auto industry.

The quote that Congressman Ryan keyed in on came from then candidate Obama ahead of Wisconsin’s 2008 Democratic primary, where Obama said he knew General Motors had been going through some bad news lately. “But I also know how much progress you’ve made, how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you’re churning out. And I believe that if our government is there to support you and give you the assistance you need to retool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another 100 years.”

This is how Ryan framed those words in his speech at the RNC Wednesday. “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, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Some context here: Obama made his remarks in February of 2008. GM announced plans to close the plant that June. By winter of 2008, Congress was debating an auto industry bailout. On Wisconsin Public Television’s Here and Now, Ryan made the case for accelerating $25 billion in federal payments to automakers to help build more fuel-efficient cars. Ryan said, “They’re accelerating their plan to build these fuel-efficient cars. So let’s not parcel out this money over 45 months. Let’s do it right now so they can survive this. So they can implement this plan, which is to do more fuel-efficient cars.”

Less than a week later, Ryan would vote in Congress for a $14 billion federal government rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, a roll call he did not mention in his convention speech.