Friday, October 26, 2012

Update on the Jeep Story [Updated]

    Mitt Romney made some news today by citing the story about Chrysler considering restarting production of Jeeps in China.  CBS reports:
On Thursday, Romney told a rally in Defiance, Ohio, site of a General Motors plant, "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. I will fight for every good job in America. I'm going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it's fair America will win."
     The problem was in the phrase "thinking of moving all production to China."  The way the Bloomberg was written gave rise to the misinterpretation with the following sentence:
Fiat SpA (F), majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC, plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in that country[.]
    Another sentence was also misleading and rather awkwardly written:
[Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia said]“We’re reviewing the opportunities within existing capacity” as well as “should we be localizing the entire Jeep portfolio or some of the Jeep portfolio.”
    However, further into the story, the following statement appears:
 Manley referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China. 
    My post on Wednesday (the first blog to note the story as far as I can tell*) included this quote which was unfortunately absent from some of the other sites which picked up the Jeep story later (one of which was linked to by the Drudge Report on Thursday.)  The Romney campaign apparently passed on the story to Mitt Romney without the clarification.  Left wing media and the Obama campaign jumped on the misstatement, and Chrysler even wrote a blog post to clarify the misinterpretations of the Bloomberg story.

    Besides the hit to Romney's credibility, the most unfortunate part of this episode is that it distracts from the point I was originally making by citing the story.  The Obama campaign has made much hay out of Romney being an "outsourcing pioneer." Then, in the same week the Obama campaign released its second term agenda which includes a photo (at right) of Obama speaking at a Jeep factory touting American jobs, a story comes out that Chrysler, one of the administration's success stories, in thinking about jobs in China.  Personally, I don't have a problem with that and neither do most conservatives.  But the Obama campaign hasn't touted creating jobs in China, and now that irony will be largely obscured.


*Update:  I found this reference to the Bloomberg story originally posted on 10/22 at a blog called FidoSysop's Blog and Forums.

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