US President Barack Obama is challenging presumptive Republican Party nominee and former Massachusetts governor Mit Romney’s promises to crack down on China’s trading practices, with a new ad that claims Romney profited by allowing China to strip away US jobs.
Obama’s ad, released on Saturday, turns to a recent Washington Post report that several businesses backed by Romney’s former private equity firm, Bain Capital, moved US jobs to China and India to cut costs.
In a parting shot, a narrator says Romney is “not the solution. He’s the problem.”
The ad follows a two-day bus tour in Ohio and Pennsylvania by Obama where he announced plans to file a trade complaint against China at the WTO for unfairly imposing duties on US-produced automobiles. Ohio is home to several auto plants and tens of thousands of workers directly employed by the auto industry.
China remains a flashpoint in the presidential campaign.
Romney has accused Obama of failing to live up to promises to get tough on Beijing, saying he would label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office and fight the theft of intellectual property and job losses.
Obama’s administration says it has taken a broad effort to crack down on what it calls unfair Chinese trading practices, filing seven trade cases with the WTO against Beijing.
The 30-second spot opens with a clip of Romney during last year’s Republican primary debate.
He says “the Chinese are smiling all the way to the bank taking our jobs and taking a lot of our future and I am not willing to let that happen.”
A narrator says that Romney “made a fortune letting it happen.”
The Obama ad refers to the Post account about the role Romney’s former firm played with companies that were “pioneers” in helping outsource jobs. It points to one business that said it was a “one-stop shop for their outsource requirements.”
“Mitt Romney’s not the solution. He’s the problem,” the narrator says.
It was “no surprise President Obama would want to distract Americans from the devastating June jobs numbers, but the American people deserve better than dishonest ads,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
The accusations over China come against the backdrop of a sluggish economy. Last month’s jobs report, released on Friday, found that the economy added only 80,000 jobs during the month and unemployment stayed at 8.2 percent, fueling Romney’s charges that Obama has failed to guide the economy out of the recession.
The Obama spot is part of a US$25 million ad buy for this month and will run in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
The ad represents the latest attempt by Obama’s team to discredit Romney’s argument that his private sector experience makes him more qualified than the president to steer the economy during high unemployment.
Obama’s campaign has repeatedly cited the recent Washington Post story outlining how several businesses backed by Bain Capital transferred jobs to lower-wage countries such as China and India.
Romney’s campaign has questioned the accuracy of the report and asked the Post for a retraction. The newspaper stood by its report.
At campaign events, Obama has pointed to the outsourcing charges, saying he would end tax credits for companies that shipped jobs overseas, similar to a pledge he made during his 2008 campaign.
“You want somebody who will give tax breaks to companies that create jobs in manufacturing here in the United States, not ship them overseas,” Obama said last month in Miami Beach, Florida.
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