By Rachel Rose Hartman
Posted Dec. 13th,, 2012
Mitt Romney’s claim in a campaign ad that President Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” earned PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year,” the site announced on Wednesday.
“The Jeep ad was brazenly false,” Angie Drobnic Holan wrote in her analysis.
The Romney campaign ran the ad in the final weeks of the campaign, drawing sharp rebukes from the automakers and public condemnation from the Obama campaign.
Romney first claimed Jeep was moving to China in a late October campaign speech in Ohio, citing “reports,” which he later identified in his ad as a story by Bloomberg News.
But Chrysler immediately rejected the claim, saying the company was reviewing adding production in China, not moving production out of the United States. Chrysler also noted that the Bloomberg story was misinterpreted.
It appeared that the false interpretation was initially made by the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, who wrote about the Bloomberg story Oct. 25. Bedard’s claim was then circulated by the Drudge Report.
Democrats, including the Obama campaign, used Romney’s decision to stand by the false claim against him, attacking Romney’s honesty.
“After Romney’s false claim of Jeep outsourcing to China, Chrysler itself has refuted Romney’s lie,” an announcer read in an Obama campaign ad that painted Romney as “wrong on Ohio jobs.”
PolitiFact suggested Wednesday that the ad was partly responsible for Romney’s loss.
“People often say that politicians don’t pay a price for deception, but this time was different: A flood of negative press coverage rained down on the Romney campaign, and he failed to turn the tide in Ohio, the most important state in the presidential election,” Holan wrote.