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Romney response to Bain story: Outsourcing vs. offshoring

at 02:07 PM ET, 06/22/2012

Mitt Romney is hoping that voters will see a difference between outsourcing and offshoring.

The Post’s Tom Hamburger reported Friday that Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney led from 1983 to 1999, has “invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.”

Romney’s campaign argues that the story is “fundamentally flawed” because it does not differentiate between jobs that were outsourced to companies within the United States and jobs that were created overseas in the first place.

“This is a fundamentally flawed story that does not differentiate between domestic outsourcing versus offshoring nor versus work done overseas to support U.S. exports,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “Mitt Romney spent 25 years in the real world economy so he understands why jobs come and they go. As President, he will implement policies that make it easier and more attractive for companies to create jobs here at home. President Obama’s attacks on profit and job creators make it less attractive to create jobs in the U.S.”

The campaign's point: not every example of outsourcing involved sending jobs overseas. Some contractors were located within the United States and some initially went offshore to serve markets where U.S. companies were exporting. Many of the companies highlighted in the article began by outsourcing domestically before expanding increasingly offshore.

But that’s a narrow and nuanced argument, one that will likely have little impact on the way this story is viewed in the political realm.

President Obama’s campaign has seized on the report, which offers a fresh line of attack against Bain Capital. Previous Obama ad campaigns attacked the firm for closing American plants.

In a conference call with reporters Friday, Obama strategist David Axelrod called Romney the “outsourcer in chief.” And in a speech today, Obama plans to call Romney “an outsourcing pioneer.”

 
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