Open and Honest
Mitt called an hour ago. I’m not much into answering the phone these days. Barack called earlier, while we were out. When I got home, I listened to the voicemail, in which someone came on to say he had President Obama on the line. Or something silly like that. A few minutes later, there was a call from an unknown number that I wouldn’t have answered except that I’ve been making every effort for four days to reach family in New York, so you never know, it could be someone important using another phone.
Nope. Just Mitt, to let me know that he will lead me openly and honestly. I’m not sure which word he lost me on. Lead? Open? Honest? I have to say, even if the presidential nominee is my hero, I don’t want to be patronized by being told how he’s going to lead me. But open? I can’t remember the last president who was open. Forget that. Honest? That was too much. The most dishonest presidential candidate in my lifetime and he dares use that word?
Let’s have a look, just for instance, at what he’s up to these days in Ohio, pushing the business about Obama and Chrysler shipping jobs to China. Forget what I think. Let’s turn to today’s editorial in the Toledo Blade. How much should I quote? Maybe this is enough:
In the final few days of the presidential contest, Mitt Romney evidently recognizes that his opposition to the federal rescue of General Motors and Chrysler is costing him voter support he needs in Ohio and Michigan. So the Republican nominee is conducting an exercise in deception about auto-industry issues that is remarkable even by the standards of his campaign.
At an appearance last week in Defiance, Mr. Romney announced that “Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China.” That assertion was based on an ambiguously worded news report.
Chrysler, which owns Jeep and in which the Italian automaker Fiat has a majority stake, quickly denied the report. A company spokesman said Mr. Romney’s rhetorical leap “would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.” But the Romney campaign launched an ad in Ohio that claimed that President Obama, who presided over the auto bailout, “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.”
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne removed all doubt about his company’s intentions this week in an email to employees: “Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,” he said. “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”
He acknowledged that Chrysler intends “to return Jeep production to China, the world’s largest auto market, in order to satisfy local market demand, which would not otherwise be accessible.” The company also wants to avoid heavy import duties. But that’s a long way from Mr. Romney’s insinuation that the automaker is shipping jobs from Toledo to China.
Mr. Marchionne noted that Chrysler is investing $500 million in its Toledo assembly complex and plans to add 1,100 jobs there by next year, largely to build a successor to the Jeep Liberty sport-utility vehicle. He vowed “that the iconic Wrangler nameplate, currently produced in our Toledo, Ohio, plant, will never see full production outside the United States.”
Regardless, a new radio ad for the Romney campaign that has gotten heavy play in Toledo asks whether the President bailed out the domestic auto industry for “Ohio — or China?” It asks: “What happened to the promises made to autoworkers in Toledo and throughout Ohio — the same hard-working men and women who were told that Obama’s auto bailout would help them?”