YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO -- Speaking in a heavily Democratic area of Ohio Saturday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan attacked how President Barack Obama’s administration is dealing with China.
“The administration had their eighth chance to label China a currency manipulator – it's due in two days – they say they are going to push this deadline off until after the election. That’s eight opportunities to say, ‘you know what, play fair with us, trade with us fairly,’” Ryan told the crowd at Youngstown State University, implying the decision to delay release was political.
On Friday, the U.S. Treasury announced it would delay putting out a regular report on foreign exchange – including whether to name China a currency manipulator – until after the Nov. 6 election.
Ryan told the crowd in the heavily manufacturing Buckeye State that a Mitt Romney administration would not tolerate China stealing American jobs and property rights -- a topic the VP nominee frequently talks about on the campaign trail.
“We are going to stop this kind of cheating from occurring, if people are manipulating our currency, we are going to say that ‘they are manipulating our currency.’ If they are stealing our products, we are going to say ‘stop stealing our products or else you have consequences.’ That’s a big deal. That takes our jobs,” he said.
According to the independent fact-checking website, that 2 million jobs lost number “is unrelated to currency manipulation. It is an International Trade Commission estimate of jobs that could be created if China enforced U.S. intellectual property rights.”
Asked about the accuracy of the claim, Ryan’s spokesman, Michael Steel, said “a lost job is a lost job.”
Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner wrote in a statement: “Congressman Ryan’s tough rhetoric can’t hide the fact that Mitt Romney will never crack down on China’s cheating – just look at his record. When President Obama stood up to China on behalf of American tire workers, Romney called it ‘decidedly bad for the nation.’”
Campaigning later Saturday afternoon in conservative southeastern Ohio, Romney, too, hammered President Obama for what he said was a failure to get tough on China, implying the administration was making a political consideration in holding off on labeling China as a currency manipulator.
"Over the past several years, the president’s failed to call China a currency manipulator. He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation," Romney said at a rally in Portsmouth, Ohio. "Do you know what they said? We’re not going to make any determination until after the election. Let me tell you on day one of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator, we gotta get those jobs back and get trade to be fair."
During his 17th public event in the battleground state of Ohio, Ryan continued hammering home the GOP message on China: “You don’t want to put your country in the position where you have to borrow all this money from another country to pay for your government. This compromises our sovereignty, it compromises our independence, its harming our economy and we need to put a stop to this. It's making – it's a huge problem we need to deal with.”
Following the town hall, Ryan and his family stopped by a local soup kitchen and helped wash dishes.
"We just wanted to come by and say thanks for doing what you're doing. This is what makes society go," Ryan said to volunteers at St. Vincent DePaul Society, run by a Catholic charity.