Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Monday said that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney's ad suggesting that Chrysler was moving Jeep production to China was "100 percent correct and accurate" -- even though fact checkers have determined the claim is false.
"I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China," the Republican presidential candidate told supporters in Defiance, Ohio last week.
In an ad released on Sunday, the campaign repeated the claim, saying that Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians, who are going to build Jeeps in China."
The candidate apparently picked up idea that Chrysler was going to move all production to China from conservative bloggers who twisted an otherwise-accurate story from Bloomberg News.
And even Gualberto Ranieri, Chrysler’s vice president of communications, has said that the claims are just not true.
"Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce," Ranieri wrote on Oct. 25. "It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats."
"A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments," he added.
After reviewing the ad on Sunday, BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins tweeted: "There's really no good explanation or excuse for it. Mitt Romney's Jeep ad is misleading. Full stop."
"Ads that mislead or stretch the truth are nothing new for presidential campaigns," Business Insider's Grace Wyler explained. "But this ad — and Romney's comments last week — has prompted harsh criticism from the media, likely because it strikes reporters as not only disingenuous, but irresponsible. For Romney to suggest that the livelihoods of specific voters — namely workers at the Jeep plant in Toledo — are in danger in order to win an election comes across to many as the type of fear-mongering that no one wants in a president. "
During an interview on Monday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell asked Chaffetz if the Romney campaign should stop running the ad.
"No!" Chaffetz replied. "It's 100 percent correct and accurate. The Romney campaign stands behind it."
For its part, President Barack Obama's campaign released an ad on Monday calling Romney's assertion an outright "lie."
"When the auto industry faced collapse, Mitt Romney turned his back," the Obama ad says. "Even the conservative Detroit News criticized Romney for his ‘wrong-headedness’ on the bailout."
"And now, after Romney’s false claim of Jeep outsourcing to China, Chrysler itself has refuted Romney’s lie."
Speaking to supporters in Youngstown, Ohio on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden said Romney's ad was "absolutely, patently false" and he had "never seen anything like that."
"Have they no shame?" the vice president wondered. "Romney will say anything, absolutely anything to win it seems."
(h/t: Political Carnival)