By Daniel Strauss - 10/29/12 09:22 PM EDT
Former President Clinton and Vice President Biden blasted Republican nominee Mitt Romney over a campaign ad that says Chrysler is moving Jeep production to China because of President Obama's policies.
Both Clinton and Biden touched on a range of subjects — including healthcare and the budget plan authored by Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — but they kept returning to hit Romney over the ad and the GOP candidate's overall policy on China.
The Obama campaign has complained about the Romney campaign's Jeep ad, which links the president to a report saying Chrysler plans to move its Jeep production from the U.S. to China.
Chrysler released a statement on Monday saying it had no plans to stop producing Jeeps in the U.S.
The statement said, "U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation."
Clinton recounted talking to Obama earlier Monday about the claim by the Romney campaign.
"I saw the reports of Gov. Romney's latest ads saying that the president had allowed Jeep to move to China. And so this morning, before [Obama] left Florida, and went back to Washington, he said, 'You know, of all the things that Gov. Romney has said, that probably hurts my feelings the most,' " Clinton said, referring to the president.
"He said, 'You know I never had any money when I was a kid and the first car I owned I was 30 years old, it was a Jeep. I would never move Jeep to China,' " Clinton said.
"Now it turns out that Jeep is reopening in China because they made so much money here they can afford to do it, and they are going with their plans here. They put out a statement today saying it's the biggest load of bull in the world that they would ever consider shutting down operations. They are roaring in America thanks to people like the people of Ohio."
The Romney campaign has denied there's anything false about the ad.
“It appears the Obama campaign is less concerned with engaging in a meaningful conversation about the president’s failed policies and more concerned with arguing against facts about their record they dislike,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said Monday in a statement. “The American people will see their desperate arguments for what they are.”
The Romney ad ran on the weekend in Ohio, where thousands are employed in the auto industry, including at Chrysler.
“Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China,” the ad's narrator says. “Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.”
Clinton introduced Biden at the Ohio event, referring to the vice president as Obama's "ambassador to the middle class."
Biden first criticized Romney for repeatedly promising to "get tough on China" if elected president. He said he's visited Ohio roughly two dozen times and the only thing he disliked about coming to the state is watching local Romney campaign ads.
"I have seen more Romney ads about he's going to get tough on China. To use President Clinton's phrase, in another context, that takes a lot of brass," Biden said.
"Romney get tough on China? The same man the Washington Post said pioneered outsourcing? The same man who criticized the president of the United States for taking action against China and saving thousands of American jobs in steel and the rubber industry?"
Biden then touched on the Romney Chrysler ad.
"So when you hear Gov. Romney say he'd protect government jobs by getting tough on China, I got a word for you: malarkey. Absolute malarkey. Look, his saying he'll get tough on China is only out done by his bizarre claim about the auto industry," Biden said.
The vice president went on to say that the Romney ad mentions Chrysler and its parent company, Fiat, plan to build a new Jeep factory in China. The ad suggests that the new factory means production of Jeeps in Ohio will stop.
"Within two weeks he's running an ad in this state saying that President Obama made the companies go bankrupt, gave the industry [to] the Italians, who are selling it to the Chinese," Biden continued.
"I have never seen anything like that. It's an absolutely patently false assertion. It's such an outrageous assertion that one of the [only] times in my memory Chrysler has felt obliged to go public saying Jeep has no intention of outsourcing production of their models out of America to China. Chrysler Corporation, which is highly unusual, said a careful and unbiased reading would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments."
Around the same time the joint appearance began the Obama campaign released a new ad attacking Romney on the ad.