Producer: Obama for America. Script: "I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message." Narrator from an earlier Romney commercial: "Day One, President Romney stands up to China." A second narrator: "But would he? The Washington Post has just reveled that Romney's companies were pioneers of shipping U.S. jobs overseas. Investing in firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries, like China. Romney's never stood up to China. All he's ever done is send them our jobs."
The commercial is a variation on an old theme: That when he ran Bain Capital, a private investment firm, Romney and his company invested in companies that sent American jobs overseas. The Obama campaign referred to Romney in one commercial as a "corporate raider," and in another TV ad compared Bain Capital to a "vampire." On the same day this new commercial was released, Obama denounced Romney as "outsourcer in chief," while Vice President Joe Biden called him a "true believer" in outsourcing. Clearly, the Obama campaign does not believe subtlety will work with voters.
The commercial is based on a Washington Post article published last week. The Post reported that according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bain Capital "owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the U.S. to overseas call centers and factories making computer components."
In many ways, Romney asked for it by airing a TV commercial this month in which he promised that, on his first day in office, he would crack down on what he claims are unfair trade practices by China. So Obama's campaign used his own words against him.
The Romney campaign has insisted the Post story was "fundamentally flawed" because it did not make any distinction between outsourcing jobs to other companies in the U.S. and sending jobs abroad.
Shipping jobs to Mexico, India or China has become a staple of modern campaigns. Obama is employing the tactic to retain the votes of blue-collar workers in key states such as Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. It also suggests that Obama will be tough on foreign competitors, but we heard that during the 2008 campaign when he said he would withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement unless Canada and Mexico agreed to modifications. Once elected, Obama forgot that promise.
Despite recessions in 1991, 2001 and 2008 and constant talk of shipping jobs overseas, the U.S. economy has been a healthy producer of jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. had 108.5 million nonfarm jobs in May of 1992 compared to 133 million today. It is true that figure is down from the peak of 137 million jobs in May of 2008, but the economy has slowly been adding jobs from 2010 until today.
- Jack Torry, Washing-ton Bureau
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