New Obama Ads Attack Romney on Outsourcing, Taxes

by Katrina Trinko

The Obama campaign released two more attack ads this morning, one of which focuses on Mitt Romney’s record on outsourcing jobs:

Now, on the Bain charges, the Obama campaign includes three companies in their document backing up the claims in the commercial that Romney “shipped jobs to China and Mexico”: Holson Burnes, Modus, and SMTC. Both Modus and SMTC did lay off U.S. employees and hire employees in other countries, but they did so in 2000 and 2001 respectively. In 1999, Romney had stopped being involved in the day-to-day decisions at Bain, because of his decision to head the Olympics. In the case of Holson Burnes, the campaign claims that there was a slight uptick in what percentage of production was done domestically during Bain’s tenure. The campaign also highlighted a January New York Times article that talked to local residents about Holson Burnes closing a 150-employee plant during the 90s and found that there seemed to be little memory of the incident: “Here in Gaffney . . . few remember the Holson Burnes photo album plant, let alone the devastation its closing is alleged to have caused back in 1992,” wrote the Times.

Some context on the charge that Romney outsourced jobs as Massachusetts governor:

 It is true that Romney vetoed legislation in 2004 that would have prohibited Massachusetts government officials from giving contracts to companies that would outsource some or all of the work to foreign employees. However, the type of work that was being outsourced is not a big part of the Massachusetts economy.

“The legislation I vetoed was not designed to do anything for Massachusetts employers,” Romney told the Boston Globe in defense of his veto. “It might help ‘call center’ states, but it didn’t necessarily protect a single job here.”

“But,” he added, “it had the potential of costing our citizens a lot more money.”

It wasn’t just Romney who viewed the legislation as a bad way to tackle outsourcing. “Another section that would discourage the state from doing business with companies that outsource work to foreign countries should be vetoed,” the Globe, not known for its conservative beliefs, argued. “The state contracting process is a poor tool to address globalization.”

The second attack ad blasted Romney for raising fees and taxes:

In response, the Romney campaign noted that Romney had slashed taxes 19 times during his tenure as governor. They also highlighted a 2007 New York Times story that reported, “When Mitt Romney became governor of Massachusetts in 2003, the state had a budget gap of almost $3 billion. . . . In Mr. Romney’s four-year tenure, the deficit was eliminated without raising the sales tax or the income tax.”

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