President Obama is going to have some company today in Iowa and it's not a welcome guest. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is also heading to Cedar Falls to push his message while the president is campaigning there.
Both Republicans and Democrats have been going back and forth bracketing opposing events, but it's never escalated to this level where the chairman of the GOP is following the president to the same towns he is stumping in. But, for those hoping for a parking lot tete-a-tete will be disappointed: Priebus' event is close by, but two hours earlier.
So what exactly is Priebus flying to Cedar Rapids for? The RNC is unveiling a new message push and website called ObamanomicsOutsourced.com: a detailed country by country account that they say shows the president shipped jobs overseas instead of keeping them here.
The new Republican messaging is happening just days after the issue of outsourcing became the focus of the campaign, but with the Democrats pointing to Romney as the outsourcer.
A Washington Post article from earlier this month reported that Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital, invested in companies that helped firms move jobs to other countries. The paper's reporting was almost immediately highlighted in Obama ads.
The Romney campaign cried foul, calling the ad misleading and noted that independent fact-checkers concluded Romney had no direct role in shipping jobs overseas. The Obama campaign stood by its ads, even writing a six-page letter to Factcheck.org challenging the check, which called the ads "thinly supported."
But, now the Republicans are turning the tables on their opponent.
"President Obama has promised over and over that he would focus on creating 'jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced' but his record speaks otherwise," Priebus said in a statement. "Through his 'stimulus' program billions of dollars from hard-working taxpayers were sent overseas The Outsourcer-In-Chief is going around the country touting his 'jobs record,' but the only positive record he has is creating jobs in faraway places like Finland and South Korea. He has resorted to vicious distortions of Gov. Romney's private sector business experience because he's trying to distract from his own record of sending American dollars to fund diesel engines in Thailand and build wind turbines in Italy."
Many of these claims, though, have already been debunked. An ad from the GOP SuperPAC Americans for Prosperity from April claims Obama sent $2.3 billion in tax credits overseas to fund green energy jobs in Mexico, Finland, and China. The independent fact check group Politifact gave the ad a "pants on fire" and "mostly false" ratings.
The RNC counters that Politifact has only ruled on specific ads and claims, while the greater message: some stimulus funds did go overseas and did support jobs overseas is true. They even point to a press release from March 2010 from Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Jon Tester of Montana announcing legislation to deny stimulus funds to any project that doesn't create the bulk of jobs in the United States.
They also point to another Washington Post article posted Monday evening that reported critics of Obama's from the political left allege Obama did not do enough to prevent jobs from going overseas.
The Obama campaign says it's not true and the president has been fighting to "level the playing field."
"President Obama has fought continuously to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, fostered incentives for companies to bring jobs back to America and doubled the rate of trade enforcement actions we've taken against China to ensure an even playing field for American workers," Obama spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement. "That's a record that stands in stark contrast to Mitt Romney, who pro?ted from investments in companies that were pioneers in shipping American jobs to India and China, vetoed legislation that would have prevented outsourcing and supports a tax policy that would encourage companies to ship American jobs overseas."