Apparently undeterred by the backlash over his false claim that Chrysler is shipping U.S. jobs overseas, Mitt Romney broadened his attack to include General Motors Tuesday. And General Motors was not happy about it.
The dust-up stemmed from a new radio ad that the Romney campaign quietly launched in Ohio Tuesday, claiming that, under President Barack Obama, "GM cut 15,000 jobs."
Here's the script, courtesy of the Washington Post's Greg Sargent:
Barack Obama says he saved the auto industry. 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 plans to start making Jeeps in — you guessed it — China. What happened to the promises made to autoworkers in Toledo and throughout Ohio — the same hard-working men and women who were told that Obama's auto bailout would help them?
Like the Chrysler television ad, the radio spot is extremely misleading. General Motors' U.S. employment did drop by 14,000 from 2008 to 2011, most of the losses came at the height of the recession in 2009. And those jobs were not moved to China.
Unsurprisingly, GM's reaction was swift and harsh:
"We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days," GM spokesman Greg Martin told the Detroit Free Press. "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."
Chrysler has similarly debunked Romney's claims. And both ads have been widely panned, with virtually no response from the Romney campaign.
Which leaves us to wonder what Romney is thinking. Obviously, these ads are an attempt to weaken Obama on the issue of the auto bailout, which remains popular in Ohio, a crucial swing state. But assuming Romney is able to achieve this goal — and win the election — he will enter the White House on pretty bad terms with the nation's auto industry.