Ron Paul aide: He does not support the China currency manipulation bill

By Megan Carpentier
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 23:54 EDT
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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) speaks to a crowd. Photo: AFP.
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While some candidates in tonight’s Bloomberg/The Washington Post Republican Presidential Debate at Dartmouth College had a chance to respond to questions about the China currency manipulation bill that passed the Senate tonight, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) did not.

But in an exclusive interview with Raw Story, senior aide Jesse Benton responded both to the question and former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) insistence that it’s important to “go to war” with China. Unsurprisingly, he said the Congressman strongly disagrees with both assertions.

“The last thing we need is to be egging on a trade war with China right now,” Benton asserted.

As to former Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) promise, if elected, to issue an executive order declaring that China manipulates its currency and bring a case against them at the WTO, Benton said that Paul would act differently. “Congressman Paul would have us withdraw from the WTO, so I am sure you can understand how he would be very, very negative about a president trying to go to the WTO to stoke tariffs.” He added, ”Tariffs would be turned around to be a tax on the American people.”

But the Congressman isn’t entirely deaf to concerns that China is manipulating its currency. “Yes, China does manipulate its currency, and that’s a bad thing,” Benton said. “But we should stop manipulating our own currency and fix our own regulatory problems so we can compete.” He added, “Then we’ll have a lot more moral high ground to criticize them and do it from a position of friendship rather than going to international trade bodies.”

But as to Santorum’s assertion that he wants a war with China, Benton didn’t have a rejoinder. “You’ll have to ask Rick about that,” he told Raw Story.

Megan Carpentier
Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
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