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Obama cites Washington Post story on Bain outsourcing to criticize Romney

President Obama seized on a published news report on Friday to launch a new attack on Republican challenger Mitt Romney, accusing the former businessman of outsourcing jobs to foreign countries during his successful run as the head of a private equity firm.

Obama cited a Washington Post story published Friday that reported that Bain Capital, the firm co-founded by Romney, had invested in companies that specialized in sending jobs abroad to facilities in low-wage countries such as China and India. The president contrasted the story with his proposals — not yet approved by Congress — to give tax cuts to U.S. companies that bring jobs back from overseas.

“Today, it was reported in The Washington Post that the companies his firm owned were ‘pioneers’ in the outsourcing of American jobs to places like China and India — pioneers!” Obama told a crowd of 2,500 at Hillsborough Community College. “Tampa, we do not need an outsourcing pioneer in the Oval Office. We need a president who will fight for American jobs and fight for American manufacturing. That’s what my plan will do. That’s why I’m running for a second term as president of the United States.”

Earlier Friday, the Romney campaign sharply criticized the Post report. Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul called it a “fundamentally flawed story that does not differentiate between domestic outsourcing versus offshoring nor versus work done overseas to support U.S. exports.”

Saul continued: “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 Post article described investments made by Bain Capital in firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries.

The article, citing filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, detailed investments made by Bain in six companies that either provided overseas outsourcing help to American companies or moved or expanded their own operations outside the United States. Mostly, these involved overseas call centers and factories making computer components.

After Obama’s speech in Tampa, the Romney campaign issued another statement, saying Obama “continued to talk about anything but his record on the economy.”

Before the article was published, the Romney campaign declined requests for comment.

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.


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