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article imageOp-Ed: The latest fictional short story — Paul Ryan's speech Special

By Greta McClain     Sep 1, 2012 in Politics
Tampa - Politics and politicians are not exactly known for impeccable honesty. George Washington may not have been able to tell a lie, but according to Fox News' Sally Kohn, Paul Ryan found it hard to tell the truth.
In an opinion piece on, Kohn says: "Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold."
Ryan made many statements about the current administration and about his running mate, Mitt Romney. Some are indeed based on facts while many are either figments of Ryan's imagination or deliberate untruths and misrepresentations of the facts.
One statement Ryan made was about the GM plant in Janesville, Wis. According to the National Journal transcript of the speech, Paul said: "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."
Although Ryan does not actually say the plant closed down during Obama's presidency, the comment can easily be construed to mean exactly that. In fact, when digital journalist asked individuals how they perceived the comment, they said unanimously they thought Ryan was
Republican Paul Ryan
Republican Paul Ryan
saying the plant closed after Obama took office. When Robin Wilson was asked if she believed the plants closed down before or after Obama was sworn in as President, she stated "after, while he was president." Nathan Y. responded to the same questions by saying "according to Ryan it was after."
That is not what happened though. According to a report by, employees were told the plant would close in June 2008, five months before the presidential election even took place. PoitiFact confirms that the plant was slated to possibly close and was indeed shut down on Dec. 23, 2008, during the Bush administration.
Ryan said the Obama presidency: began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America. Again, when Digital Journal staff asked citizens how they interpreted the comment, the vast majority felt Ryan was saying the downgrade was due to something the current administration had or had not done. Robin Wilson said "I know it was not anything Obama did, but the statement makes it sound like it was his fault, something he personally did."
However, if you look at the Standard and Poor's report it never mentions anything that the White House did or did not do. It does say: "The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy." The threat of refusing to raise the debt ceiling, which would have resulted in a government default, was a factor in their decision to downgrade the rating according to the report. A CBS News report quotes Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell as saying: "I bet there won't be a single Republican vote to raise the debt ceiling at the end of the day."
Standard & Poor s Headquarters in Lower Manhattan  New York City  New York (55 Water Street)
Standard & Poor's Headquarters in Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York (55 Water Street)
B64 / wikipedia
The Standard and Poor report also says: "Our opinion is that elected officials remain wary of tackling the structural issues required to effectively address the rising U.S. public debt burden in a manner consistent with a 'AAA' rating. In our view, the difficulty in framing a consensus on fiscal policy weakens the government's ability to manage public finances and diverts attention from the debate over how to achieve more balanced and dynamic economic growth in an era of fiscal stringency and private-sector deleveraging."
The CBS report quotes McConnell as admitting the "back-up" plan he unveiled yesterday comes down largely to a political move. The plan would allow Mr. Obama to raise the debt limit without any Republican support. McConnell goes on to say: "I refuse to help Barack Obama get re-elected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy," McConnell admits to playing politics with the debt ceiling issue and worrying about the 2012 election instead of focusing on the issue at hand, exactly what Standard and Poor says lead to their decision to downgrade the rating.
When speaking about the stimulus packages instituted by the Obama Administration Ryan said: "You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal." According to, more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers. If you look at the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation report, it shows the Making Work Pay tax credit part of the stimulus plan gave up to $400 to individuals earning up to $75,000, and gave up to $800 to couples earning up to $150,000 in 2009 and 2010. That was money that went directly back into the hands of working Americans.
Ryan also criticized Obama for his "If you have a business, you didn't build that" comment
President Barack Obama at Ready to Go Rally  Richmond  VA  May 5th  2012
President Barack Obama at Ready to Go Rally, Richmond, VA, May 5th, 2012
Barack Obama
saying: "After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that." If you watch the actual speech in which Obama said those words, what you hear is him saying business owners did not build the bridges and roads that lead to the business, a government agency such as the Department of Transportation built them. Obama also spoke about how a teacher may have inspired someone and how businesses based on internet sales thrive because of government research that helped to create the internet.
Ryan proved what Obama was saying when he said: "My Mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Mom was 50 when my Dad died. She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison. She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business. It wasn’t just a new livelihood. It was a new life. And it transformed my Mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past. Her work gave her hope. It made our family proud. And to this day, my Mom is my role model." If not for roads, a public transportation system and an education system, she may not have been able to obtain the "new skills to start her small business".
Ryan also accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, something and Politifact both prove to be untrue.
Kohn appears to hit the nail on the head when summarizing Ryan's speech. When Ryan mentions the current administration, he either misrepresents the facts, or ignores them all together. Again, I don't believe any of us are naive enough to believe that politicians do not lie or twist the truth into some sort of contortionist pose, but it would be nice to be able to believe that at least some of the statements were based in actual fact.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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