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Paul Ryan: Obama didn't shut auto plant, but didn't fix it, either

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is defending parts of his convention speech that have come under scrutiny, including claims that President Obama was responsible for shuttering an auto plant in Ryan’s hometown.

“What they are trying to suggest is that I said Barack Obama was responsible for the plant shut down in Janesville. That is not what I was saying. Read the speech,” he told Matt Lauer on TODAY Tuesday. “What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for his broken promises. After our plant was shut down, he said would lead an effort to retool plants like the Janesville plant to get people back to work. … It’s still idle; people are still not working there. Lots of people I grew up with who lost their jobs there still don’t have their jobs there.”

During his acceptance speech last week at the Republican National Convention, Ryan made a reference to a campaign visit that then-presidential candidate Obama made to a GM plant in Janesville, Wis. However, the plant had already been shut down when Obama paid the visit.

Ryan also defended his speech’s reference to Obama failing to heed the recommendations of a bipartisan debt commission created by the White House. Ryan failed to note that he was a member of the commission and, as the head of the House budget committee, he ultimately voted against its final report.

On TODAY, Ryan said the report lacked suggestions for dealing with “runaway health care entitlement spending.”

Obama has yet to offer an alternative plan, while “what we did is take the things we liked and added new reform ideas,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the nation is facing unique challenges, which is why he decided to run for office with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“This is such a unique time in our country’s history that we really have a chance to get this country on the right track. We’re on the wrong track,” he said. “People are not better off than they were four years ago.”

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