COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Mitt Romney aide defended a campaign television ad focusing on the assertion that Chrysler is preparing to build Jeep trucks in China.
The ad has drawn widespread charges of being misleading, for providing the impression that the company would move U.S. manufacturing to China, when in fact, it’s keeping the domestic workforce expands even as it builds vehicles overseas.
Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians, who are going to build Jeeps in China,” the ad states, hitting the president for allowing the auto companies to go bankrupt, without mentioning that Obama also provided financial assistance to help them restructure, or that the plan is to build new Chinese plants for the Chinese market.
The campaign’s defense: The ad is literally true, whatever its implications.
“What’s in there that’s false? Are they building Jeeps in China or not?” an aide asked BuzzFeed, breaking the campaign’s silence on the ad. “I think a lot of Ohioans are wondering why we can’t make Jeeps here and ship them to China, just like they are wondering why we can’t make — insert product here — in this country and export them to China.”
Ads providing less-than-full context are nothing new in campaigns, but this one has drawn additional scrutiny due to Romney’s claim last week that Chrysler was moving all Jeep production to China — a charge leveled by conservative bloggers misconstruing a Bloomberg report,, and heatedly denied by the company.