The Romney-Ryan ticket came out swinging today at two separate campaign events, where the politicians blasted President Obama for delaying the release of a report that could label China a currency manipulator.
"I want to make sure that when people cheat, when they don't follow the rules in trade, we finally hold them accountable," Mitt Romney told a crowd of 3,000 who had gathered in Portsmouth, Ohio to hear him speak.
"You know the president, the president has an opportunity, had an opportunity, was required as of last Friday to officially designate whether China is a currency manipulator," Romney said, going on to explain that being a currency manipulator means that a country is "artificially" holding down the value of its currency so the products it sells are less expensive than those made in other countries, and so that American companies making the same products go out of business.
"And yet over the past several years, the President's failed to call China a currency manipulator," Romney said. "He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation. Do you know what they said? We're not going to make any determination until after the election."
Romney was referring to a decision by the U.S. Treasury Department on Friday to postpone the Oct. 15 report deadline to allow for the meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 leading economies on Nov. 4 and 5, but it also avoids publishing the report before the election Nov. 6.
"Let me tell you, on day one of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator. We've got to get those jobs back and get trade to be fair," Romney said, repeating a promise he repeats nearly daily on the stump. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan also slammed the Obama administration's handling of China today at an event at Youngstown University in Ohio.
"We've lost hundreds of thousands of jobs according to one study because of just this problem," Ryan said. "Two million jobs we've lost, according to the International Trade Commission, because of one country, China, taking our intellectual property rights, meaning taking our patents, taking our goods that we make and copying them and selling them - that's not correct, that's not right, that's cheating."
The study Ryan is citing, from the U.S. International Trade Commission, actually says 2 million jobs could have been created, according to the Washington Post, not that they were lost.
Ryan campaign spokesman Michael Steel explained from their point of view, "A lost job is a lost job." The GOP vice presidential nominee said his ticket will "do something about it" and "stop this kind of cheating from occurring."
Although, Romney has consistently portrayed the Obama administration as soft on China, George W. Bush planned to spend $17 billion on an initiative to try to limit China from stealing Pentagon technology, according to the same Washington Post article, and in May 2009 the Obama administration expanded on that program.
Two months later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates started a new U.S. Cyber Command to address threats to the Defense Department's computer networks.
The Obama campaign said it was incongruous for Ryan to criticize the president's record as being weak on China, when Romney criticized the administration for standing up to China, and with the record of Bain Capital, the private equity firm he ran.
"Congressman Ryan's tough rhetoric can't hide the fact that Mitt Romney will never crack down on China's cheating - just look at his record," a statement from Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said.
"When President Obama stood up to China on behalf of American tire workers, Romney called it 'decidedly bad for the nation.' In the private sector, he led investments in companies that shipped American jobs to China, and in a Chinese company known for the cheating he condemns today.
"Now, experts say his tax plan could create as many as 800,000 jobs overseas, while independent economists agree his plans could slow our recovery and cost us American jobs," Kanner said. "A PowerPoint can't hide the simple truth: all Romney and Ryan are offering is the same failed policies that led to the crisis and punished middle class families in the first place."