Last Thursday, Mitt Romney told a group of Ohio autoworkers that Chrysler was planning to move Jeep production to China. Chrysler very quickly explained the real story: they’re thinking about opening new plants in China to sell Jeeps into the Chinese market. No American plants are going to be shuttered.
But the Romney campaign decided none of this mattered. They want to win Ohio, so they’re running ads that say this:
Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.
Technically, every word of this is true. Obama did force GM and Chrysler through a managed bankruptcy. Fiat did end up buying Chrysler. And Chrysler is thinking about building Jeeps in China. But remember my three-part test to judge how deceptive a statement is?
- What was the speaker trying to imply?
- What would it take to state things accurately?
- How much would accuracy damage the speaker’s point?
On this scale, Romney’s ad rates about 9 out of 10 on the deceptiveness scale. He’s obviously trying to imply that American jobs will be shipped overseas; stating things accurately would require wholesale revisions; and doing so would completely destroy Romney’s point. But he doesn’t care. He’s got an election to win, and if scaring Ohio autoworkers is what it takes, then that’s what it takes. It’s truly nauseating.