NBC's Lauer: 'Swift and Unanimous' Agreement Romney Ohio Ad 'Campaign Politics at its Cynical Worst'

In an interview with senior Romney advisor Ed Gillespie on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer ripped into an ads run by the Governor's campaign in Ohio about the auto industry: "The reaction was swift and unanimous, Ed. They were painted as misleading by independent fact-checkers. Ohio newspapers said they were an exercise in deception, a masterpiece of misdirection, and Chrysler and GM called them inaccurate and campaign politics at its cynical worst." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Lauer jabbed: "How could this happen to the guy who is the son of a car-maker and the guy who is supposed to have the business resume?" Gillespie defended the ad regarding Chrysler expanding Jeep production in China: "...the ad is accurate. The head of Fiat came out and said that they were going to open production in China for Jeep. That's what the ad says, and that's accurate."

In response, Lauer acknowledged the China expansion but still insisted the ad was false: "They're opening production for Jeep in China because they're expanding markets, not because they're shipping jobs overseas, which seemed to be the message of the ad." Gillespie corrected him: "No, that's not the message. The message of the ad is they are opening production in China."

On Sunday's Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory used the same line of attack in an interview with Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: "The head of Chrysler said that that is deceptive, that they are opening production facilities to service the Chinese market while they're also expanding production in Ohio....don't think that's a deceptive ad?"

In addition to criticizing the ad, Gregory derisively remarked: "This from a business leader, Governor Romney, who apparently thinks its good business to outsource in order to make companies more competitive. Is this the hopeful specific agenda that Governor Romney has for the state of Ohio and the country?"


Here is a transcript of Lauer's November 6 exchange with Gillespie:

7:15AM ET

(...)

MATT LAUER: Let me ask you about Ohio. You talk about that state, obviously all eyes on Ohio. Back on October 25th, the Governor employed a rather dramatic strategy there, talking to supporters, he said that he had read that, quote, "Jeep is thinking of moving all production to China." He followed that with some ads that talked about Chrysler and GM's plans to expand production in China. The reaction was swift and unanimous, Ed. They were painted as misleading by independent fact-checkers. Ohio newspapers said they were an exercise in deception, a masterpiece of misdirection, and Chrysler and GM called them inaccurate and campaign politics at its cynical worst. How could this happen to the guy who is the son of a car-maker and the guy who is supposed to have the business resume?

ED GILLESPIE: Well, Matt, the fact is there's – the ad is accurate. The head of Fiat came out and said that they were going to open production in China for Jeep. That's what the ad says, and that's accurate.

LAUER: But that's a different – that's a different idea, Ed. They're-

GILLESPIE: Look, if you care about the auto industry, you need to vote for Mitt Romney and the Governor has a great record. Sorry?

LAUER: They're opening production for Jeep in China because they're expanding markets, not because they're shipping jobs overseas, which seemed to be the message of the ad.

GILLESPIE: No, that's not the message. The message of the ad is they are opening production in China. Right now the Jeeps that are sold in China are made in the United States. There was an original Bloomberg report that said that they were going to close the plant and shift jobs to China. That turned out not to be accurate, but they said they were going to open jobs in China – or open production in China. We're currently shipping to China from the U.S. exporting there. This ad is accurate.

And the fact is, if you care about the auto industry, you care about creating 12 million jobs in this economy, you care about creating demand for domestic auto production, we don't have that in our economy today, Matt, and Governor Romney would turn this economy around, have rising incomes for people who have seen their incomes drop by $4,300 over the course of the Obama presidency. That would do more for the American auto industry than anything, but the ad is accurate, and we stand by it. We know that the truth hurts sometimes, but it's the truth.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC