The Obama campaign pounced this morning on a Washington Post article claiming Bain Capital invested in companies that helped ship American jobs overseas while Mitt Romney was at the helm of the firm, calling it a "significant moment" in this campaign.
"People really have a fundamental choice in this election," Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod told reporters on a conference call. "The question is, do they want an outsourcer-in-chief in the Oval Office or do they want a president who will fight for American jobs, American manufacturing and the American middle class."
The president's campaign argues the article is further proof that Romney's business record would not translate into economic growth if he were elected president.
"This is really significant because throughout this campaign Romney has suggested that the experience that he's had in business gives him special insights into the economy and that would translate into jobs and growth and benefits to the American worker," Axelrod said. "This article speaks more to the kind of experience he has, the kind of insights he may have drawn from that experience. And it goes to the fundamental question of whether that is the experience that we need in the Oval Office. Do we need the philosophy that embraces outsourcing and offshoring as a positive tool in our economy?"
In response, the Romney campaign is drawing a distinction between "outsourcing," which can include moving jobs from one domestic firm to another, and "offshoring" jobs to another country.
"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," Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement. "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 Obama campaign isn't buying that argument. "It's very important that we look at the governor's true record on this issue and not be snookered, so to speak, by cosmetics as to what Bain did or didn't do. We know what Bain did and it moved thousands and thousands of good-paying American jobs off shore," Obama surrogate Leo Hindery, managing partner of InterMedia Partner, said on the call.
"For those of us who looked at that story today, there's a bright line between offshoring American jobs, that's moving them outside of this country, and outsourcing them," Hindery later added. "Bain was a company that preponderantly off-shored jobs. And even in those where it outsourced domestically, it did so into lower-cost settings at the expense of workers and their union organizers. "