Following up on an earlier item, the Washington Post reported today on Mitt Romney’s company investing in “pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components.” To understate matters, President Obama and his campaign team have taken quite an interest in the story.
About an hour ago, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, put out this video, seizing on the controversy.
For its part, the Romney campaign is characterizing the Post piece as “fundamentally flawed” because it overlooks the distinction between “outsourcing” jobs and “offshoring” jobs.
In fairness to the Romney camp, they have a point. As Pat Garofalo and Igor Volsky explained, “The official definition of outsourcing is pushing activities outside of the company that could have been performed in-house. A company can outsource, while keeping the activity domestic. Offshoring is the practice of sending jobs overseas.”
Of course, since Romney himself has blurred the line between the two, and Romney the Candidate has bashed the very practices Bain the Vulture Capitalist supported at Bain Capital, the pushback is not without its flaws.
For Democrats, meanwhile, this is seen as an important opportunity, at least in part because it’s the kind of issue that will hurt Romney with the same vulnerable, working-class voters he’ll need to win overwhelmingly to get elected. Interest in the revelation is even going all the way to the top.
President Obama will directly address Romney’s outsourcing at an event in Florida – raising the visibility of the issue – and David Axelrod was eager to identify Romney today as the candidate running to be the “Outsourcer in Chief” during a teleconference with reporters this morning.
What’s more, Capitol Hill Democrats will “very likely” use the news to refocus attention on Obama’s plan to end tax incentives that allow companies to deduct the costs of moving jobs abroad. Don’t be too surprised if the president’s proposal comes up for a vote in the not-too-distant future, leaving Republicans in an awkward election-year position and leaving Romney with another piece of legislation he doesn’t want to talk about.