Misleading Romney Ad on Jeeps Draws Obama Retort

Oct 29, 2012 5:08pm

A misleading TV ad from Republican nominee Mitt Romney has prompted spirited objections from independent fact-checkers and Democrats for suggesting incorrectly, just days before the election, that automaker Chrysler is moving Jeep production out of Ohio to China.

"Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China," the Romney ad says. "Mitt Romney will fight for every American job."

The ad appeared to be an attempt by Romney to undercut Obama's appeal among voters who had bee grateful for the 2009 auto bailout, warning that some of the region's auto jobs could be moved or created overseas.

The spot, which began airing without announcement in northwest Ohio markets last weekend, followed a similar claim by Romney at a rally in Defiance, Ohio.

"I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers of this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China," Romney said on Oct. 25.

Fiat, the Italian parent company of Chrysler and Jeep, has said flatly that Romney's claims are "unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments."

"Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It's simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world's largest auto market," said spokesman Gualberto Ranieri in a blog post Thursday. "U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation."

The Obama campaign has been on an all-out offensive over the ad, calling it a sign of "desperation" in Ohio, where Romney has yet to hold a lead in any public poll.

"It's a big deal, a really big deal in northwest Ohio that he said this," Obama for America press secretary for Ohio Jessica Kershaw told ABC News. "It was a shot across the bow to all those people there to say your jobs are leaving to go to China. ... So dishonest and desperate. This is the end for him."

"The fact that Romney decided to run this ad tells you a lot about him and a lot about where he stands in Ohio," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters today. The latest Real Clear Politics polling average shows Obama with a nearly two-percentage-point lead there over Romney, 48.6 to 46.7 percent.

Team Obama countered Romney today with a new TV spot of its own in Ohio.

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