The Washington Post's chief fact checker Glen Kessler on Friday stood by his original ruling of "four Pinocchios" for Mitt Romney's much-maligned Jeep ad that ran toward the end of the 2012 campaign, despite protestations from a top Romney adviser.
The ad was widely panned for misleading voters into thinking that Jeep would begin outsourcing jobs to China as a result of the Obama administration's auto rescue, a point that Romney strategist Stuart Stevens claimed has since been vindicated. In a letter sent earlier this week, Stevens said that Kessler should "take another look" at the accuracy of the ad in light of Chrysler's announcement that the company will begin building Jeep models in China.
But Kessler was unpersuaded:
So let’s review:
Romney first said “all production” of Jeeps would be moved to China. Not true.
Then a Romney spokesman said Chrysler was adding jobs in China and not creating them in the United States. Not true either.
Then the ad said: “Obama sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.” This is a smarmy way of restating the previous incorrect statements with an air of plausible deniability.
There is no evidence that any American jobs will be lost as a result of the Chrysler deal in China. In fact, greater success in China might well strengthen the overall company.
With all due respect to Stevens, the claim that Romney turned out to be right is simply not accurate. We fail to see how the argument used to defend Romney against charges of outsourcing — which this column often argued was mostly bogus — can be turned on its head in this particular situation.
Meanwhile, the ad has other serious problems — such as mischaracterizing the PolitiFact column, ignoring the context of the Detroit News endorsement and miscasting Obama’s role in the sale to Fiat. We reaffirm our earlier ruling of Four Pinocchios.
According to Kessler, a "four Pinocchios" ruling is designated for "whoppers."