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The tale of a falsehood, minute by minute

Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan December 12, 2012

A timeline of the 2012 Lie of the Year

Oct. 22, 11:10 a.m. - Bloomberg publishes a story that Chrysler plans to begin making Jeeps in China again. The move would be in addition to U.S. production.

Oct. 25, 1:19 p.m. - Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner blogs that Jeep "is considering giving up on the United States and shifting production to China." The Drudge Report links to the post.

Oct. 25, 4:24 p.m. - Gualberto Ranieri of Chrysler posts to the Chrysler blog, "Despite clear and accurate reporting (from Bloomberg), the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats."

Oct. 25, 7:50 p.m. - A Mitt Romney campaign event begins in Defiance, Ohio. Romney uses this anecdote: "I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China. I will fight for every good job in America, I’m going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it’s fair, America will win."

Oct. 26 - Newspapers in Ohio and Michigan cover Romney’s remarks, noting Jeep is not moving production to China.

Oct. 26, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. - MSNBC’s liberal prime time shows attack Romney’s remarks.

Oct. 27 - The Romney campaign releases a television ad: "Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job." A similar radio ad soon follows

Oct. 29 - Executives with Chrysler and General Motors refute the ad, as do the major fact-checkers. "The ad is cynical campaign politics at its worst," says GM spokesman Greg Martin. "We think creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back in this country should be a source of bipartisan pride."

Nov. 1 - Donald Trump and Chrysler executive Ralph Giles spar on Twitter about the Jeep ad. Trump tweets: "Obama is a terrible negotiator. He bails out Chrysler and now Chrysler wants to send all Jeep manufacturing to China--and will!" Giles tweets: "You are full of" (expletive deleted).  In a second tweet, Giles adds, "I apologize for my language, but lies are just that, lies."

Nov. 1 - In an editorial, the Toledo Blade (which endorsed Obama) says Romney is "con­duct­ing an ex­er­cise in de­cep­tion about auto-in­dus­try is­sues that is re­mark­able even by the stan­dards of his cam­paign."

Nov. 2 - Dueling op-eds in USA Today weigh in on the Jeep ad controversy. "Don't let Jeep sideshow hide Romney's growth plan," urges one. "Romney's auto mess shows he is not ready," says the other.

Nov. 4 - The Jeep ad is a topic on the Sunday news shows. On Meet the Press, host David Gregory plays the ad then says, "The head of Chrysler said that that is deceptive, that they are opening production facilities to service to Chinese market while they’re also expanding production in Ohio. This from a business leader, Governor Romney, who apparently thinks it’s 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?"

Nov. 6 - Obama beats Romney in Ohio, 50 percent to 47 percent, and wins re-election.

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The tale of a falsehood, minute by minute