Trade law and the 2012 presidential candidates’ respective records on outsourcing jobs to China took center stage across America Monday. President Barack Obama was in Columbus to defend his stance on these matters.
During a campaign stop at Schiller Park in Columbus’ German Village neighborhood, Obama focused his remarks on his administration’s attempts to prevent the outsourcing of jobs to China. Obama also criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s history of outsourcing jobs.
The White House’s latest action against China is aimed at illegal subsidies that encourage companies to ship auto parts and manufacturing jobs overseas, Obama said.
He defended his own record of standing up to unfair Chinese trade practices saying that two months ago his administration moved to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices that harm American auto makers.
“Where folks are breaking the rules, we go after them. We’re not going to let it stand,” Obama said. “American workers build better products than anybody. ‘Made in America’ mean(s) something, and when the playing field is level, we always win. So that’s a choice you’ve got in this election.”
In criticizing Romney, Obama challenged his opponent to “walk the walk.”
“Now, this is a guy (Romney) whose experience has been owning companies that were called pioneers of outsourcing jobs to countries like China,” Obama said. “Made money investing in companies shipping jobs to China. Ohio, you can’t stand up to China if all you’ve done is send them our jobs. You can talk a good game seven weeks before the election, but you can’t just talk the talk.”
In a Monday statement prior to Obama’s stop in Columbus, Romney said Obama has spent 43 months failing to confront China’s unfair trade practices.
“Campaign-season trade cases may sound good on the stump, but it’s too little too late for American businesses and middle-class families,” Romney said in the statement. “President Obama’s credibility on this issue has long since vanished. I will not wait until the last months of my presidency to stand up to China, or do so only when votes are at stake.”
During Obama’s stop in Columbus, which 4,500 people attended, according to an Obama campaign release, he also laid out his economic plan for the country and compared it to the plan his Republican opposition has for America.
“This is a choice for two different visions for how we move the country forward … Our vision is to restore the basic bargain that built this country … That bargain can be stated very simply: It says, if you work hard, you can make it,” Obama said. “We don’t believe that the answer to our challenges is just to tell folks you’re on your own … We don’t believe this economy grows from the top down. We think it grows from the middle out, from the bottom up.”
Obama also threw out a reference to an Ohio State University Marching Band tradition in explaining how Romney’s plan for America wouldn’t work.
“You cannot make (Romney’s plan) work,” he said. “You cannot cross the ‘T’s’ and dot the ‘I’s’ with this plan and Columbus is a town where you’ve got to dot the ‘I.'”
Tia Maugher, 19, of Columbus, was a volunteer at Obama’s Schiller Park rally and said she has her own opinions about the issues Obama discussed, adding that her community will be ready to support the sitting U.S. president 50 days from Monday.
“It seems like a lot of Democratic people I know are excited and ready for Nov. 6,” Maugher said.