A major political fact-checking service picked failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's statements on Chrysler's Jeep production plans as its 2012 Lie of the Year.
The dubious distinction, awarded by PolitiFact, adds to the growing chorus of analysis suggesting that Romney misfired in late October when he repeated an inaccurate claim that Chrysler planned to move Jeep production jobs from the U.S. to China.
"Even though Jeep's parent company gave a quick and clear denial, Mitt Romney repeated it and his campaign turned it into a TV ad," PolitiFact wrote. "And they stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false."
Before Romney even circulated the false report by conservative bloggers at a campaign rally in Defiance, Ohio, Chrysler communications officials had already refuted the reports. The automaker is considering launching new Jeep manufacturing in China but has no plans to move U.S. jobs to China and, in fact, is expanding its U.S. and Michigan operations.
But the Romney campaign doubled down by releasing TV and radio advertisements with similar claims. The campaign eventually accused General Motors of leveraging its U.S. bailout to create jobs in China, too, prompting a sharp response from the automaker.
PolitiFact said Romney paid a steep price for the accusations.
"People often say that politicians don't pay a price for deception, but this time was different: A flood of negative press coverage rained down on the Romney campaign, and he failed to turn the tide in Ohio, the most important state in the presidential election," the organization wrote.
PolitiFact also said "it's not that President Obama and his campaign team were above falsehoods," saying "TV ads distorted Romney's positions on abortion and immigration to make them seem more extreme than they actually were."
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