In Ohio, China Is a Potent Campaign Weapon

If the presidential election is boiling down to Ohio, the outcome will hinge partly on the candidates' tack toward China.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Ohio Senator Rob Portman take a tour of Worthington Industries in Cincinnati on Oct. 25, 2012

Worthington, Ohio

When Mitt Romney comes to Ohio, he likes to talk about a faraway threat that hangs over anxious crowds. “Look, we can compete with any nation in the world so long as we’re playing on a level playing field,” Romney said Thursday, standing amid propane tanks before more than 3,000 supporters at an industrial plant north of Columbus. “And I’m going to make sure China doesn’t cheat.”

Such rhetoric has been a staple of Romney’s campaign, not least for its impact in the Midwestern states he needs to capture the presidency. If the presidential election is boiling down to Ohio, the outcome will hinge partly on the candidates’ tack toward China. The rising superpower is a ubiquitous bogeyman in the Buckeye State, a byword for the economic unrest that swept across Ohio over the past decade as the Midwest’s manufacturing engines sputtered and factory jobs moved overseas.

Which is why the two men vying to run the 20th century’s top superpower are tangling over who can get tough with the potential hegemon of the 21st. The Romney campaign has long lambasted Obama as a feckless statesman, and one of the central threads of that argument is the notion that he’s been trampled by China. “Like a doormat,” Paul Ryan, Romney’s No. 2, recently charged, after the Obama campaign deferred a decision on whether to label China a currency manipulator, something Romney promises to do “on Day One.”

As TIME’s Michael Schuman notes, such a move wouldn’t accomplish much. Currency shenanigans have little to do with the U.S.’s trade deficit with China. Romney’s fix could worsen relations by prompting China to retaliate against the U.S. But this is campaign season, and his advisers believe the issue may help tamp down Obama’s margins in the state’s union-heavy Democratic strongholds. “Standing up to China is a major deal in Toledo and Cleveland,” says Scott Jennings, Romney’s state director.

In response, the Obama campaign has cried hypocrisy, arguing that Bain Capital was a “pioneer” in the practice of investing in companies that shipped American jobs overseas while lining their own pockets. “He’s been talking tough on China,” Obama told supporters at Bowling Green State University in Ohio recently. “It sounds better than talking about all the years he spent profiting from companies that sent jobs to China.”

Both sides’ attacks are misleading — and, like so much campaign rhetoric, drastically oversimplified. U.S. exports to China have boomed during the Obama Administration, and the President has done more than past Presidents to protect U.S. trade interests, including imposing tariffs on Chinese solar panels and tires. Obama touted the latter move at the candidates’ foreign policy debate this week, a gesture designed to appeal to Ohio voters. “Obama has really taken a tough position — maybe it’s a position few Americans understand — on China,” says Tim Burga, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO. “As a result of the tariffs on steel and tires, we’ve created jobs in Ohio.”

The attacks on Romney’s China record don’t hold up either. Romney wasn’t actively running Bain when it invested in companies that  outsourced jobs, as fact-checking analyses have shown. And while Romney likely profited from such investments, Bain was neither the first nor the only firm engaging in the practice.

The China baiting persists, however, because it taps into voter frustrations with China’s rocket-fueled rise at a time when the U.S. is mired in a sluggish economic recovery. Ohio lost 91,800 jobs from 2001 to 2008 because of swelling trade deficits, according to one report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. Protectionism has strong appeal among some factions of the Democratic base, despite widespread belief among economists that it shackles the U.S. economy. Sherrod Brown, the Democratic Senator from Ohio locked in a tough re-election fight, has promoted a bill aimed at cracking down on Chinese currency manipulation and slammed the U.S. Treasury Department for giving China “a free pass.” Meanwhile, the free-trade policies that dominate Republican ideology — and which Romney regularly extols on the stump — wither away when it comes to must-win battlegrounds like Ohio.

So it goes in the nation’s most important swing state. Twice Obama has used campaign swings to Ohio to announce new filings with the World Trade Organization complaining about Chinese trade practices. “It’s a symbolic issue. For Ohio workers especially, the outsourcing of jobs is a deep concern and has been for years,” says Paul Beck, a political scientist at Ohio State University. “So both campaigns are attacking China and blaming the other side for being too soft.”

That blame is being assigned on TV spots running across the state as well. In the Youngstown market, two Democratic-allied super PACs are running ads casting Romney as an “economic traitor” for the offshoring Bain has done. American Crossroads, the Karl Rove–founded Republican outfit, is up across Ohio with a new spot called “Bow,” which raps the President for kowtowing to China. It freezes on Obama — you guessed it — bowing his head slightly while he clasps hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao, a traditional gesture of respect akin to the American habit of shaking hands.

Even in Columbus, where a stable local economy propped up by government and education jobs has insulated citizens from the manufacturing losses racking other parts of Ohio, supporters at Romney’s rally said cracking down on China was an important task for the next U.S. President. “It really resonates, because we’re losing so many jobs to China,” says Jim Snyder, a businessman from Columbus. Whether Romney would follow through on his tough talk once in office is an open question, but it’s safe to bet he’ll keep relying on it to carry him there.

With reporting by Michael Crowley

189 comments
superlogi
superlogi

We're talking about cheap tires when the most important story of the year, The Benghazi Attack, is ignored.  You and the other Obama 4th Estate toadies will be remembered for it.  Mark my words.

AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

It was the Republican president, Nixon, who opened the doors to China. Obama unnecessarily provoked China by stationing American troops in Australia. Republicans, including Reagan and both the Bushes, had warm ties with China. Moreover there are many Chines Christians in Ohio' They will all prefer Romney because of Obama's hostile attitude towards Christians. Obama has been spending several millions of dollars to build and renovate mosques and minarets in Muslim countries The Islamists of recipient countries such as Zanzibar, Nigeria, Pakistsan. Have burnt several churches and killed thousands of innocent Christians. But Obama has remained anti-Christian throughout his presidencyApril 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech.• May 2009 – Obama declines to April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three.• October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions.• November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law.• host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House.• January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-elected as ordered by the Court.November 2011 – Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial.• November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech.Obama, being a demagogue, told lies and escaped. He said that he will not allow Iran to become nuclear. But it is already nuclear with the surreptitious assistance of Pakistan. In view of thse developments Chinese in Ohio will definitely opt for Romney.

ScottyC22
ScottyC22

When you have no position on any issue like Romeny, when you dance likea masquerade on national security issues, economic issues, education etc. Whenyou change your positions in front of millions of Americans to lie your wayinto the White House, when the only thing that is consistent about you isinconsistency, then Ohioans like me are going to be consistent in denying youthe White House. We need leaders who say what they mean and mean what they say.OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!

Shokai
Shokai

Yeah, when Mitt talks about "a level playing field", what he really means is that he wants to cut your wage to what a worker makes in Henan, China.  People go on about how we have to cut workers pay and treat them like chattle if we're to compete with Asia, but let me remind you of something: the German auto industry is soley based in Germany, its workers are well paid, and the industry is doing great.  Consider that before you take a sip of Romney's kool-aid.  If you wanna go on living like a tool, vote for Romney, and you'll get more of this: http://youtu.be/xJVhDImLbiM

NansonHwa
NansonHwa

Mr. Romney and the President continue to bash China for America's own problems which were created over thirty years ago due to globalization and a win win policy exercised by corporate America, The shift in strategy to ship manufacturing overseas to developing economies and to China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam was intended to maximize profits and minimize overhead costs including labor. American companies no longer had to pay for employer-employee taxes, medical and retirement benefits and deal with labor unions. The shift in outsourcing decimated the American middle class and the working poor. For Mr. Romney to accuse China for stealing American jobs is ludicrous. His position with the Bain Corporation contributed to the unemployment problem in America. The President's borrowing trillions of dollars from China to finance the war in the Middle East and to keep the American economy afloat didn't help matters.

michaeloo3388
michaeloo3388

Romney's record when he left mass was dismal..big time.

He left Mass with a 1 billion +deficit.

His approval rating was 34 %.   He left the state ranked 48 out of 50 in job creation negitive... If he was so good as he claims why is he trailing Obama by 15 pts ??.. If he was so good why did Ted Kennedy beat him in the mass senatorial race ?? 

If he could not manage one state ,he sure could not handle 50 states.. Be care ful how you vote,, Obama is a proven commodity ..

ridereye
ridereye

not to mention an illegal online cite in Communist China had been allowed to donate massive amounts of funds to the Obama campaign. Where both Hillary and John let the first time President Obama got illegal campaign funding online slide. The second time especially now that it is from Communist China's is ahhhhh??

ridereye
ridereye

Meghan McCain is sexy ha

ridereye
ridereye

In our country we have many political parties but always at least two major powers. So if one does something like destroy our science department for racism or sympathy to a mono fascist style. We can

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bu3rsha1ZtI

ridereye
ridereye

For those that do not know the German Socialist where the one's who wanted a fascist political system of a mono party like the Soviets did and Chinese Communist are.  Who later turned to be the Nazi party. 

ridereye
ridereye

as far I am concerned that Chu Locke and Federal Contracts person in that there racist organization has destroyed our science deparment and acted just like those German Socialist did during the 1920's and the KGB tried to during the 1950's. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSf3wD9ddZM

ridereye
ridereye

while communist china proved to the world via open world source news that they could stop rain with hand held anti cloud devices that send cloud dispursment spells toward the clouds to stop rain. Similar to the hot air ballon and tesla ray guns that the KGB where using for agricultural warfare during the 1950's. Excpet today we do not need hot air ballons in the air to deflect the beam to make it disperse wide enough to dispell clouds. And yes we can cloud seed and yet is is very likely Secretary Chu did not want to because of his racist organizational ties. 

ridereye
ridereye

while also while the Secretary Chu was not willing to cloud seed. The Communist Chinese where expanding massively around the world with their State Owned Enterprise farm and the US could not compete. As we had to worry about US agricultural implosion because of an old 1400 year old spell that a Science Director in a racist Chinese organization that leads our now 4th place science department would not do. So now farmers world wide have lost their individual lands and ability to compete to massive state owned Communist farms. That will under cut like COSCO shipping does and state we are a State Owned Enterprise we can subsidize until the free market is destroyed. 

ridereye
ridereye

oh ya and for those green thumbs. Silver nitrate is used to scrub carbon in areas of high possible suffocation in the world. It is a filter that attracks molecules to make it rain including carbon that is taken out of the air if the calculated level of carbon or plant food in the area over an area of possible filter by the local plant life as per calculated ability to eat carbon or filter it from the air is used. But Secretary Chu tried to say it was bad for the environment like the German Socialist sympatherize scientist of the 1920's.

ridereye
ridereye

while also Secretary Chu's policy of silver nitrating against foreign weather warfare. Was completely to not use any silver nitrate to stop the current drought that has been the biggest since the 1920's dust bowl. Which a German Socialist Science leader then said we should stop the ancient Western idea of silver nitrate smoke in the air or cloud seeding Which coincided. With the Stock market attack that the German Socialist did on the Western Stock Market according Kevin Friedman's secret weapons book. Which I analogized to the report that the Communist Chinese did to the 2008 stock market. Which is very similar in macro espionage desire to the Venona report that explains again that the KGB tried to do the same thing but we stopped them. The German Socialist and Communist Chinese both where allowed to do it by weak policies against foreign mono party systems and their local sympathizer. 

ridereye
ridereye

Not to mention the New Red Dawn Movie was forced not to be Communist China and had to spend millions redoing it to just the North Koreans. Instead of like the Soviets and the Cubans the Communist Chinese and the North Koreans. Because Democratic California party peopled forced them too. 

ridereye
ridereye

While also Diane Feinstein and Richard Plum her husband actually attacked the Naval Unions. So Communist China could take over the US only west coast deep water birtha class port for their COSCO. During the Bill President fiasco of the China gate where he was convicted for taken bribes form the Communist CHinese MSS to sell off specific military instalations to allow unrestricted warfare state owned enterprise bases to buy them over. Which as the Naval union's pension and other Unions pensions where tanked by Richard Plum The lead Elder intel Democrats husband. They had to spend more time trying to fix their future lives and current lives. Than they could concentrate on the take over of the US's only west coast birth class defense port by COSCO. Which todate has destroyed over 100 Western Shipping companies by staying in the read and not even meeting its overhead costs. Which is illegal yet because it is a State Owned enterprise it is ok to be recapitalized over and over again every quarter while it non competitively destroys its free market competition. http://books.google.com/books?id=oP7jwUl7FzkC&pg=PA142&dq=bill+clinton+deception&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NzKLUIWBL8KfiALgx4DABA&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=bill%20clinton%20deception&f=false

ridereye
ridereye

Not to mention the Democratic party has voted in the Communist Party of the USA into our economic seats in California. Where the Communist Party each year states that they admit to being militarized and are hear to destroy Democracy and the Free Market. Thus now the US's biggest state and economic value of the USA. Has now its ability to allow in and has allowed in Communist Party members that desire and admit to destroying our economy by weakening it to its knees to force it into an implosion so their mono party fascist party can take over for their own culture and genocide every other culture. That would be like voting Al Queada into our bombardment units. 

ridereye
ridereye

also since the Obama administration has been in office. Iceland our closest mineral reserve and military front lines base. has been allowed to be invaded by Communist Chinese espionage units. Which currently have over 400 espionage units on the island while the next biggest espionage base is 70 which is the USA. Yet the population of the island is less than 400,000. 

ridereye
ridereye

Not to mention there are these three Ameican Chinese that are all in Rascist organizations that did a great number to economically implode our science department. It is one thing to destroy the Combustable engines industry like Chu did which is analogizable to Ford's destruction of hoarse to create a new industry of engines. It is another thing to give away eighty percent of all our green tech stimulus. Which is analizable to an ammo boy unit throwing eighty percent of all of our ammo to the opposition then saying ok start the wary. Not to mention Secretary Chu had a little competition that gave away ten million us tax dollars. Which was given to Karl Marxs uncles business that has brain tech manipulation patents. Which there was no other competition in the high tech science competition for that prize. Along with that Secreaty Locke who was the commerc secretary for the first MSS agent analogizable espionage attack on an industry to KGB defectors as per the Venona files proven that Communist Russians wished to economically drain the nuclear and microwave industries as per the first cold war. Which is what Locke Chu and the federal contracts did. Oh no Locke knows that Communist China has the worlds biggest espionage schools and worst case of espionage theft and cyber theft. Where the CCP espionage schools outnumber the whole wests espionage schools and ranks. Yet he goes and makes it easier for Chinese Communist to come to the US with less restrictions of investigation on their visas. Also with regards to Communist China Chu and Locke both knew about the innovation laws spoken off before. Yet both of them denied military help to stop the bullying laws that where stealing our ip and forcing our science business into joint ventures with the Communist Party of China. Which now the US had a once proud first place science department. We are now as a state department in fourth place over the last four years. Also knowing that Communist china paid al quedad and directed them to attack 911 as per the Unrestricted Warfare manual that all three knew about. They still let our most precious military science the micro chips for our jets and guided missiles be built by Communist Chinese State owned enterprise. Not to mention that fact that today the Communist Chinese who still use Hitler style brian washing against Falun Gung like Hitler did to the Jews. The Obama administration allowed in the Dalin Wanda which is a Communist Chinese state run enterprise to own our biggest otopitcal industry AMC. Which today as per the movie with the blue aliens Avatar we use optogenics and hearingeneics in our movies to create sounds. This means that simple our biggest enemy has been allowed to own our biggest possible brain weapon bases in the US. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@superlogi You ghoulish troll the Benghazi attack was covered and scritinized and if there was anything the the Republicans could go after Romney and Ryan would have been screaming about it from the roof tops.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@AbrahamYeshuratnam The Republican party position is clear. They want a return to Bush policies as well want to dictate to women when and how they can have kids. How can any women vote for a party who would force them to have kids born from rape or incest? How could any veteran  vote for a party that just scuttled another bill that would allow them to have an easier time integrating into the workforce?

FloridaJoe55
FloridaJoe55

ScottyC22, you're most likely just another liberal ideologue that bends reality and  any thinking to fit your agenda.  But, just in case I'm wrong.....

You accuse Romney of changing positions and lying.  I try verify whatever I hear in this campaign if the other side calls it into question.  The biggest Romney position change I know of is going pro-life and he's explained that quite well and quite often.  So, please do me a favor and let me know specifically what you have found to be Romney's biggest position shift other than that; with sources for me to check.

Liberals have been throwing the terms "lying" and "liar" around pretty freely during this campaign.  Lying is intentionally trying to deceive another.  So, I consider it a mistake and not a lie when Obama said he'd been to all 57 states.  So, again, please let me know what you think Romney's biggest lie was along with at least one source.  You won't find one as significant as Obama lying to the American people to cover up the Benghazi castrophe.  Howver, if you're branding Romney a liar, I would hope you could find something at least as significant as Obama's handpicked DNC chairman Wasserman Schultz lying about the Israeli ambassador and the reporter, then getting caught on tape.

paulejb1
paulejb1

@ScottyC22 

Mitt Romney did not create a huge lie about a YouTube video causing the death of four gallant Americans. That, my friend, was your Barack Hussein Obama and his band of political hacks posing as a national security team

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb1 Isn't that why Mitt's sons company bought the company that controls the voting machines used in Ohio?

elmergates
elmergates

@mantisdragon91 @superlogi It continues to amaze me how some people make ridiculous statements without checking the facts. The Obama administration put forth a bill to INCREASE THE SECURITY OF ALL EMBASSY"S AROUND THE WORLD.. The Republican party VETOED it, saying it would cost to much money.and wasn't necessary.  The deaths of those 4 Americans lies at the feet of the REPUBLICAN party..That's why Romney is afraid to mention it

elmergates
elmergates

@FloridaJoe55It's been suggested that one should make sure their brain is engaged before putting their mouth in gear. I won't waste my time repeating myself, go read my address to Mantisdragon91. as ANNE COULTER WOULD PUT IT,,just another RETARD,,her word, not mine.. At least she has enough sense to NOT bring the subject up

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@FloridaJoe55  And yet he never lied to the American people about Benghazi. Proof of my statement can be seen in the fact that Collin Powell has just endorsed him yet again.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@paulejb1 Except that President Obama never said any such thing. Republican, thy name is liar.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb1 How many times can you repeat the same right wing lie? Even Romney and Ryan know enough to stay away from the topic of Benghazi and yet here you are posting this debunked garbage.

paulejb1
paulejb1

@shepherdwong @paulejb1 ,

Obama mentioned the video six times in his UN address, Wong. 

"Benghazi: Four Americans Died, Obama Lied, And The Press Complied"

"Our UN ambassador Susan Rice repeatedly attributed the attack to a spontaneous protest erupting in response to the “heinous” film. Obama mentioned the movie six times in his own speech to the UN. He did this despite credible proof there had not been any protest."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2012/10/18/benghazi-four-americans-died-obama-lied-and-the-press-complied/

You were saying, Wong?