All-Star Panel: Reaction to fact-check of Paul Ryan speech

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PAUL RYAN, R - VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My point is President Obama did this all around the country. He came to our town, went to our plant, and said this will be open another 100 years if we get the government to support you. President Obama won the election. He put his policies in place. This plant is closed. A lot of my buddies from high school are out of work. So what this is a story of is all the empty promises by the Obama campaign.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Congressman Ryan talking to me last hour about some of the fact checks that have been going on. Democrats pressing -- saying some of the things the congressman said in his speech last night were not true, one of them about a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. We're back with the panel. What about this, the controversies that the plant may have closed in December of 2008 under George W. Bush? Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, the big problem with their claim that Paul Ryan lied is that it's not true. What happened was Paul Ryan in effect said -- he didn't blame President Obama for the closing of the company. He said that President Obama failed in his claim that he would save it. It's a fairly straightforward case and I don't understand why it's caused so much confusion. What happened was Steph Cutter from the Obama campaign tweeted in the middle of Paul Ryan remarks and said that plant closed under George W. Bush. That is not true. What she tweeted is not true. The plant did not close during George W. Bush. There were plans to close it or to put it on standby. But it didn't close. So what she actually said wasn't true. And what you had was a press corps that repeated this, even though it's not true. And it came right from the White House. You would have thought that they would have learned their lesson with the Charles -- Churchill bust moment.

BAIER: From the Obama campaign. Kasie?

KASIE HUNT, ASSOCIATED PRESS:   Remember why it is that they are talking about this plant. Romney has an issue here because he has very strongly opposed the auto bailout over the course of the past year or so. And that is an issue in states like Wisconsin, and Michigan, and Ohio which of course are all critical in the fall. And so they have to figure out a way to sort of, be able to tell Americans that the auto bailout was positive for the U.S. without actually reversing his position.

BAIER: Charles, the other point that was made was that Congressman Ryan has said the president did not lead on Simpson-Bowles, the deficit debt commission -- a commission report that Congressman Ryan voted against.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: But Ryan was very clear at the time precisely why he voted against it. He liked a lot of the tax reform, he's in favor of it, he's and proposed himself the same thing. He opposed it, he wouldn't sign on the dotted line at the end because he objected to the fact that Simpson-Bowles accepted in total ObamaCare with an extra $1.7 trillion in spending, and therefore, an extra $1.7 -- actually $1.8 trillion in taxation. He was against the whole idea. He said the main reason for our deficits is health care, and we need health care reform. So how can you have a commission that accepts that which is the driver of our debt? He said let's do it another way and he proposed a different way to control health care costs.

BAIER: This is going to get interesting as we have these continued fact checks of the fact checks, Mara?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, it's interesting -- I think that fact checking which is now a big cottage industry is important. But I don't know if it really matters because neither of these campaigns seem to mind at all if they get ten Pinocchios for some of the things. I do think that the Simpson-Bowles story is really interesting. Because Simpson-Bowles -- neither campaign is embracing it but they both want the halo of Simpson-Bowles even though they're not willing to come out and actually say we want this to be the starting place for negotiation.

KRAUTHAMMER: Yeah, but Obama's the guy who proposed it, organized it --

LIASSON: And then tried to negotiate with John Boehner based on it.

KRAUTHAMMER: But when the commission reported he completely abandoned it and he never revived it.

LIASSON: Paul Ryan voted against it.

BAIER: Down the row, one word, do we hear Simpson-Bowles in the general election a lot?

LIASSON: I don't know, I think Obama --

BAIER: That's not one word, Mara.

LIASSON: I hope so.



HUNT: Maybe.


BAIER: Nah? That is how we end it? That is it for the panel. Back to wrap things up here in a moment. 

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