Opinion Brief

Obama's 'outsourcer-in-chief' attack: Will it hurt Mitt Romney?

The Obama campaign attacks Romney's Bain Capital record again, this time charging that Obama's Republican rival sent American jobs to low-wage China

In new TV ads, the Obama campaign is trying another approach to slamming Mitt Romney over his Bain Capital record, saying that the GOP candidate's companies were "pioneers at shipping U.S. jobs overseas." The ads, inspired by a recent Washington Post report on how Romney's former private equity firm moved jobs overseas, ask voters in Virginia, Ohio, and Iowa whether they really want "an outsourcer-in-chief in the White House." (Watch one of the ads below.) President Obama's earlier attempts to brand Romney as a job destroyer who used lay-offs to get rich in venture capital failed to move the public opinion needle much — some critics even said that the push backfired. Will the "outsourcer-in-chief" label stick?

The outsourcer label could really hurt Romney: "Without a doubt, the outsourcer-in-chief message is a powerful one," says Jed Lewison at Daily Kos. Romney's "entire campaign" is based on his claim that his Bain Capital experience makes him better qualified than Obama to fix the economy, but the record "shows the exact opposite to be true." Americans want a president who will create jobs here, not one who sends them to low-wage countries like China and India.
"Obama campaign tags Romney as 'outsourcer-in-chief' in new ads"

This new mantra will backfire on Obama: Trying to make people see Romney as an outsourcer isn't "just futile," says John Hinderaker at Power Line, it's also a charge that is bound to boomerang on Obama. The president is the one who's a "serial outsourcer" — his campaign has farmed out tens of thousands of dollars in marketing work to foreign call centers. If these new ads accomplish anything, they'll confirm that "the Obama campaign is rapidly turning itself into a laughingstock."
"Barack Obama, outsourcer"

Romney's response isn't helping his case: Romney's campaign tried to counter the Obama attack by drawing a legitimate but slippery "distinction between 'offshoring' and 'outsourcing,'" says Dave Jamieson at The Huffington Post. Calling attention to the fact that Bain did a lot of outsourcing, as opposed to strictly sending jobs offshore, doesn't make Romney a hero in the jobs department, either. Outsourcing often "leads to lower wages, fewer benefits, and less job security," which is hardly a selling point with the American people.
"Romney campaign boxes itself in on outsourcing, offshoring debate"

Take a look:

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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