The Campaign Spot

Our Offshoring President

Offshoring jobs is wrong, right? That’s the whole theme of the Obama campaign’s attacks against Mitt Romney.

And Obama is in the clear on this, because he doesn’t run a company that uses foreign companies to provide services that American workers could provide…

Er, wait. What if we applied the same standard to the federal government?

In the print edition of the Washington Post yesterday (but not at WashingtonPost.com).

The Russian government more than doubled its U.S. contracts last year by providing helicopters for Afghanistan and rides to the International Space Station.

Companies run by the Russian government received $792 million in direct federal awards in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared with $342 million the year before. They were among 30 prime vendors based outside the United States ranked in a Bloomberg Government study of the largest 200 federal vendors in fiscal 2011. Those contractors — including Rome-based Finmeccanica SpA and Russian arms trader Rosoboronexport — attracted almost $29 billion in direct awards, about 8.6 percent of the top 200 total of $338 billion, according to the study.

. . . The United States retired its shuttle fleet last year and now relies on countries including Russia to ferry astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. The Space Agency’s awards rose 21 percent from $341 million in 2010 to $414 million the next year.

. . . Other foreign companies on the top 200 list included holding company Finmeccanica, whose units received $1.3 billion in direct awards last year for products including military aircraft components; oil vendor BP, with $1.4 billion; and Amsterdam-based military food supplier Supreme Foodservice, with $2 billion.

So President Obama, head of an administration that paid foreign companies almost $29 billion for services like food, gas, and space travel last year, is attacking Romney for “offshoring,” when FactCheck.org declared, “we found no evidence to support the claim that Romney — while he was still running Bain Capital — shipped American jobs overseas.”

So, just to clarify on the amount of business contracts each candidate has sent to foreign and overseas companies:

President Obama: Almost $29 billion.

Mitt Romney: $0.

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