Ryan's Speech Flunks Fact Checks
VP candidate lambasted for various deceptions
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Aug 30, 2012 10:01 AM CDT
Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 29, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Paul Ryan's speech last night may have been rousing, but accurate it was not. Ryan is being lambasted today for what Sally Kohn of Fox News calls "an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech." Here's what the critics are saying:

  • Ryan said Obama broke a promise by not saving a GM plant in Janesville, Wis. But PolitiFact could find no evidence that Obama explicitly made such a promise and, more importantly, the plant closed before Obama was even sworn in.

  • Ryan chastised Obama for creating a bipartisan debt commission and doing nothing with its findings. But as Talking Points Memo points out, Ryan was on that commission—and voted against it, as did the panel's other Republicans.
  • Ryan attacked Obama for the S&P's downgrade of America's sovereign credit rating. Which is rich, writes Brett LoGiurato of Business Insider, because the S&P specifically said that it downgraded the rating "because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues."
  • He repeated the Romney campaign's frequent assertion that Obama "funneled" $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. Actually, the Affordable Care Act reduces payments to health care providers, not Medicare's budget.
  • In another oft-repeated distortion, Ryan said Obama wanted to credit the government with the private sector's successes. "That isn't what the president said. Period," Kohn writes.
  • The speech also gave Mitt Romney credit for bringing up household income as governor of Massachusetts. That's only half-true, PolitiFact rules: Adjust for inflation, and income actually decreased.
  • Near the end, Ryan described protecting the poor as the "greatest of all responsibilities." According to TPM, two-thirds of the cuts in his budget proposal come from programs that help the poor.

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Showing 3 of 234 comments
Linmarvan
Aug 31, 2012 1:22 PM CDT
1. Ryan said Obama broke a promise by not saving a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. But PolitiFact could find no evidence that Obama explicitly made such a promise and, more importantly, the plant closed before Obama was even sworn in. From Obama’s February, 2008, campaign speech at the Janesville plant: "And I believe that 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. The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it’s where it will thrive. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your president." Okay ... so Obama intimated that “government assistance” would keep “this plant here for another hundred years.” The plant is now closed. So, one can rightly assume that the billions in auto bailouts were unsuccessful in keeping the plant open. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be closed. 2. Ryan chastised Obama for creating a bipartisan debt commission and doing nothing with its findings. But as Talking Points memo points out, Ryan was on that commission – and voted against it, as did the panel’s other Republicans. Obama didn't sign onto the Bowles-Simpson recommendations wholeheartedly, but he did take some of their suggestions to Congress in 2011. 3. Ryan attacked Obama for the S&P’s downgrade of America’s sovereign credit rating. Which is rich, writes Brett LoGiurato of Business Insider, because the S&P specifically said that it downgraded the rating “because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” Per the S&P website: http://www.standardandpoors.com/ratings/articles/en/us/?assetID=1245316529563 “The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics.” You can read the entirety of the text yourself. S&P never stated anything about the majority of Republicans doing anything. Further it would be difficult for the majority of Republicans to control anything since the Democrats have control of the Senate. 4. He repeated that Romney’s campaign’s frequent assertion that Obama “funneled” $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Actually, the Affordable Care Act reduces payments to health care providers, not Medicare’s budget. Okay, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. If Obamacare reduces payments to the healthcare providers the net result is that the doctors are paid less. If they are paid less, they will refuse new patients, which will impact those on Medicare. Instead of a politically-motivated, one-size-fits-all, across-the-board fee cut, the Romney approach allows competing insurers to negotiate with hospitals and doctors to gain the optimal combination of access and price. Under a competitive bidding system, insurers are likely to pay primary care physicians more, while bearing more scrutiny upon the wasteful, costly procedures that drive Medicare spending higher. The key to putting Medicare on a fiscally sustainable path isn’t to take a sledgehammer to the program, as Obamacare does, and ration care from above, but to make structural improvements that give seniors and their doctors the bottom-up incentive to avoid wasteful spending. 5. In another oft-repeated distortion, Ryan said Obama wanted to credit the government with the private sector’s successes. “That isn’t what the President said.” Period, Kohn writes. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia President Obama specifically stated: “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.” I contend that if you have a business, it is your business and no one else’s. So, what if you had a teacher along the way. We all have teachers along the way. They are government employees, and they were paid in exchange for their services as a teacher. That doesn’t give the government a life-long entitlement to your successes in life. If you built a business, it’s your business. Obama made an idiotic statement. Period. 6. The speech also gave Mitt Romney credit for bringing up household income as governor of Massachusetts. That’s only half true. PolitiFact rules: Adjust for inflation, and income actually decreased. Real people don’t care about “adjusted for inflation.” They only care about the amount of money they are bringing home. If they bring home more, then, that’s an increase in household income. 7. Near the end, Ryan described protecting the poor as the “greatest of all responsibilities.” According to TPM, two-thirds of the cuts in his budget proposal come from programs that help the poor. Keeping people dependent on government welfare is not “helping the poor.” It enables the poor and enslaves them to the government. If he cut such programs, I give him applause.
Modulus
Aug 31, 2012 7:57 AM CDT
"PolitiFact could find no evidence". PolitiFact didn't bother to look at Wikipedia to find a quote from Sen. Obama assuring that the factory would remain open for another 100 years. It also would have found out that the Janesville plant closed April, 2009, four months after President Obama took office.
KEMPB
Aug 31, 2012 2:21 AM CDT
HUUMMMM, LOL MAYBE HE WENT TO HARVARD ALSO......