DURHAM, New Hampshire — President Barack Obama Monday mocked attempts by his rival Mitt Romney’s campaign to shrug off reports the Republican’s former firm helped ship US jobs to places like India and China.
Obama launched a two-day campaign swing in the battleground state of New Hampshire, which is effectively Romney’s home turf, as he owns a holiday home in the state and was governor of neighboring Massachusetts.
Romney came under fire after the Washington Post last week reported that his former firm Bain Capital was an early pioneer in helping US firms relocate manufacturing positions to low wage economies overseas.
The president pounced on remarks by Romney campaign operatives that offshoring — the sending of jobs overseas, and outsourcing — the contracting out of certain jobs to outside firms — are different.
The Romney campaign also argues that some jobs were created overseas in the first place, in efforts by American firms to expand in foreign markets.
“You cannot make this stuff up,” said Obama.
“If you are a worker whose job went overseas, you don’t need somebody trying to explain to you the difference between outsourcing and offshoring,” Obama said.
“You need someone who is going to wake up every single day and fight for American jobs,” Obama said, arguing that he would close tax loopholes so that firms would not benefit by sending American jobs abroad.
The Post report last week threatened to undercut into the Romney’s claim that his experience as a venture capitalist equips him uniquely to create jobs in America’s sagging economic recovery.
Citing documents filed with US regulators, the Post said Bain Capital, the firm Romney founded and headed for 15 years, invested in companies that led in establishing call centers and manufacturing facilities in other countries.
But Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom on Sunday defended Bain’s actions and called the Post report “shoddy” journalism.
He used the example of Coca-Cola which he said used outsourcing to build plants in China for example, so they can sell soft drinks in the Asian giant’s vast market.
“No American jobs were shipped overseas in any of the Washington Post examples that were cited by the Obama campaign,” he said on CBS.
But the Obama campaign appears to be betting that in the heat of the campaign trail, when broad brush attacks trump nuance, voters will struggle to distinguish between outsourcing and offshoring — and is trying to blur the line further.
Romney has repeatedly accused China of unfairly snapping up US jobs with its economic policies and charged Obama with being soft on Beijing over its alleged currency manipulation.
The Romney camp has also maintained that the customer support provided to US technology firms by the call centers overseas allowed them to sell products in those markets and create US jobs.