The Campaign Spot

McAuliffe Sweats the Tough Questions on GreenTech

Ryan Nobles of NBC’s Richmond, Va., affiliate is definitely a reporter to keep an eye on in this governor’s race. First he and his colleagues did a fantastic, fair, tough report on GreenTech Automotive and the plant that it built in Mississippi, and now he has a ten-minute on-camera interview with Terry McAuliffe about his car company.

The interview begins with some top-shelf “word salad” in response to a direct question:

Nobles: If you had to pin down one reason why the company ended up moving to Mississippi instead of starting a manufacturing plant in Virginia, what would you pin as the primary reason for that happening?

McAuliffe: Uh, listen, we tried to put it in Virginia, we had several meetings here. It is what it is. It didn’t work out here. Businesses have to make a decision based upon their own business plans, what they want to do. Every business is unique. We tried, we looked at it, but businesses have got to make decisions what they think their own best interest [sic].

Notice that nothing in that answer says why the company settled in Mississippi. McAuliffe goes on to say, “I never blamed Virginia at all” for the decision to base their operations in Mississippi, but back in December, McAuliffe said, “We wanted to, it was their decision, VEDP, they decided they didn’t want to bid on it.”

Back in December, addressing Virginia reporters, McAuliffe appears to say “we have a thousand employees.” (About 40 seconds into this video; perhaps he means he would like to have a thousand employees.) Earlier this month, Marianne McInerney, a GreenTech vice president, told the Washington Post “the company employs about 10 employees in McLean and 78 in Mississippi.”

You’ll also hear McAuliffe say, “I want a governor who has tried many different things in the field of business.” Funny how that sort of expectation didn’t seem to come into play in the presidency, considering McAuliffe’s strong support for Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, none of whom “tried many different things in the field of business.”

Finally, McAuliffe says he owns a car that is currently parked at GreenTech headquarters. Apparently he once claimed he drove it from his home in McLean to GreenTech’s headquarters in Tyson’s Corner. Presuming McAuliffe takes Route 123, his MyCar’s top speed is in fact the speed limit, 35 miles per hour.

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