By Daniel Strauss - 10/31/12 05:00 PM EDT
Vice President Biden on Wednesday labeled Mitt Romney campaign ads in Ohio that attack President Obama on the auto bailout as "desperate" and "flagrantly dishonest."
"In the last hours of this campaign — I just came from Ohio — in the last hours of this campaign, if you can believe it, they're running the most scurrilous ads in Ohio, one of the most flagrantly dishonest ads I can remember in my career," Biden said. "In the ad in Ohio, they asserted that President Obama forced Chrysler into bankruptcy."
Biden called the assertion an "outrageous lie."
Romney's campaign has recently doubled down on its disputed charges about Jeep and China.
After airing a television ad on the weekend in Ohio, the GOP nominee's campaign released a radio spot in Toledo on Tuesday suggesting the Obama administration's auto industry rescue effort helped workers in China more than the United States.
“Barack Obama says he saved the auto industry,” a narrator says in the Romney radio ad. “But for who? Ohio or China? Under President Obama, GM cut 15,000 American jobs, but they are planning to double the number of cars built in China, which means 15,000 more jobs for China. And now comes word that Chrysler is starting to build cars in, you guessed it, China.”
In response to Biden's criticisms, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Romney's vice presidential nominee, defended the ads, saying the president has decided "not to run on the facts of his record."
"American taxpayers are on track to lose $25 billion as a result of President Obama’s handling of the auto bailout, and GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas," Ryan said in a statement.
"These are facts that voters deserve to know as they listen to the claims President Obama and his campaign are making. President Obama has chosen not to run on the facts of his record, but he can’t run from them."
Biden noted that the chairman of Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, released a statement refuting the ads.
"I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China," Marchionne said in his statement.
"They don't want to get involved in presidential politics but they spoke up," Biden continued. "They called it quote, I'm going to quote, 'a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.' I wouldn't call these guys acrobats, I'd call them contortionists."
The vice president also cited General Motors, which also criticized the ad.
Biden quoted General Motors spokesman Greg Martin as saying, "No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country."
"Have you ever heard an American corporation do that?" Biden said to the Florida crowd.
"They're trying to scare the living devil out of a group of people who have been hurt so badly over the last — the previous four years before we came to office," Biden said.
Ohioans who saw the ad, Biden said, began calling their United Autoworkers representatives asking if it was true that the production jobs would leave.
"What a cynical, cynical thing to do," Biden said.
Romney’s campaign had earlier defended the Jeep ads, saying that a literal reading of them states only that Chrysler is planning to build cars in China.
“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 in a statement on Monday. “The American people will see their desperate arguments for what they are.”
— Keith Laing contributed.