GOP veep candidate Paul Ryan decries President Obama’s China policies
LIMA, Ohio -- Kicking off a three-day bus tour that the Romney campaign hopes will jump-start its campaign in a critical swing state, Paul Ryan tore into the Obama administration’s China policies, as Republicans signalled they would step up attacks in a state that has lost manufacturing jobs to overseas factories.
“We need to get countries to play fair with us,” Ryan told an enthusiastic crowd of several thousand supporters at a civic center in a city in the northwest part of the state, known for producing military tanks and, more recently, as the setting for the TV show “Glee.”
Ryan accused the Obama administration of failing to stop Chinese currency manipulation and intellectual property theft, and vowed a tougher approach if Mitt Romney is elected.
Recent polls, including one published Sunday by a consortium of Ohio newspapers, have shown the former Massachusetts governor slightly behind Obama in the Buckeye State, which is seen as virtually a must-win for Romney in November. The Lima appearance is the first of a tour, which Romney will join on Tuesday and is scheduled to include appearances in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Cleveland.
The campaign has been bringing up China more lately in speeches and ads, and on Monday morning, campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie sent a memo to reporters saying the campaign would turn its focus this week to trade and protecting American manufacturers from “cheaters like China.”
That emphasis was evident in a speech by RNC chairman Reince Priebus, who warmed up the crowd attacking Obama for allowing the national debt to rise; an increasing share of the debt is owed to Chinese borrowers.
“A country controlled by China can’t compete with China,” he said.
In Ryan’s speech, focused on the national debt, and a question-and-answer session afterward with the audience, the Wisconsin congressman wasted no opportunity to inject China into his remarks. In a discussion of the Keystone pipeline, he warned that the oil it would have carried “will just go to China” instead; when a questioner asked about the United Nations, Ryan said the Obama administration deferred too much to the Security Council, giving “Russia and China a veto” over American interests; in a slide-show presentation about the national debt, a pie chart showing the share of American debt owned by foreign countries was colored in the Chinese flag.
Attacking China and calling for tougher trade policies carries some risk for the Republicans. Free-market groups like the Club for Growth, a powerful force within the GOP, have castigated anti-China rhetoric. And raising China may invite further scrutiny of Romney’s business record at Bain Capital, when the company invested in Chinese factories. The Obama campaign is already airing ads in Ohio accusing Romney’s company of sending jobs overseas.
When one woman mentioned her employer had closed, and asked if it would be possible to penalize companies that transferred jobs to China, Ryan sidestepped the question.Alan Wirzbicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.