During a week in which political news was dominated by an attack at the U.S. consulate in Libya, the candidates on the campaign trail sought to steer the focus back to the economic recovery.

In a speech in Fairfax, Republican nominee Mitt Romney reiterated his criticism of President Obama’s China policies, saying the administration’s decision not to label China a “currency manipulator” — which could allow the U.S. government to erect tariffs to protect American industries — is hurting American manufacturing. The message is echoed in a new television ad titled, “Failing American Workers.”

“They take technology from America,” Romney said at the Fairfax rally. “They steal our technology. They hack into our computers. They also steal our know-how. The president’s had the chance, year after year to label China a currency manipulator, and he hasn’t done so. We’re going to make sure that China understands that we mean business.”

The White House pushed back, saying Obama has initiated as many cases before the World Trade Organization challenging China trade policies in 3½ years as former president George W. Bush did in eight, the AP reported.

Romney also made an appeal to small businesses, vowing to push for lower costs and higher wages, and repeated his intention to repeal the federal health care law if elected, according to InsideNova.

“Small business has been frustrated these last four years,” he said. “I want higher wages, more take-home pay for the American people.”

Meanwhile, Obama traveled to Golden, Colo., where he reminded supporters that his administration has cut taxes for middle class families and small businesses, which encourages spending and hiring.

“That means, then, businesses have more customers,” he said. “That means businesses make more profits and businesses hire more workers, which means, then, the economy gets that much stronger. That’s how you grow an economy.”