Yet another US election ad caught with its integrity down. This time it’s all about Mitt Romney desperately currying favour in the battlefield state of Ohio by resorting to what appear to be – er – lies about Chrysler’s employment policy.
The automobile industry being a big employer in those rust-belt parts, any suggestion that America’s third biggest car maker is about to outsource construction of its Jeep marque to China is likely to create something of a sensation:
And create a sensation is exactly what the Romney ad did. But for the wrong reasons. Chrysler – which is now effectively owned by Fiat and therefore offers Romney a bit of xenophobic electoral mileage – has bluntly denied the allegation. It claims that the Jeep jobs in China are merely supplementary, a natural outcome of Chrysler’s steadily improving financial performance. We’ll see.
Of course, Romney is careful not to make the Jeep claim too explicit in the ad. The voiceover merely notes that some Jeeps are going to be built in China. But the innuendo harks back to a much more robust election speech in Ohio last week when the Republican candidate said: “Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China.”
What has all this got to do with Romney’s rival, Barack Obama? Well, Chrysler and General Motors went into assisted bankruptcy (Chapter 11) during his watch, ergo it must have been his fault. The unfortunate irony of all this is that Obama actually approved the Chrysler bailout, which by any measure has been successful for American jobs. Whereas Romney opposed it.
Then again, does anyone actually take any notice of what politicians actually do, as opposed to say they do?