STERLING, Va. — Mitt Romney vigorously defended his job-creation bona fides in a speech in suburban Virginia Wednesday, timed to coincide with a 10-page document distributed by his campaign beating back charges that Bain Capital was a “pioneer” in outsourcing while Romney was at the helm.
Romney held a campaign rally at EIT, LLC, a small electronics design and manufacturing firm nestled in an industrial park near Dulles Airport.
The company, run by state Rep. Joe May, has also received praise for making 99 percent of its products inside the country, and because newly expanded operations allow it to bring jobs back to the U.S. from Hungary and China. But EIT still touts its ablilty to offer customers the chance to take their projects overseas.
“High-volume manufacturing requirements are supported through an alliance with a large global EMS provider that also includes low cost region (LCR) manufacturing sites,” reads EIT’s “about us” page. LCR is a term generally associated with offshore locations in Asia and Latin America.
On the company’s “Manufacturing” page:
Will you outgrow EIT? Through our alliance with Zollner Electronics, EIT has the ability to support high volume requirements from our USA based Virginia locations. EIT has access to Zollner’s 2.6+ million square feet of manufacturing resources in their fifteen campus locations worldwide with some facilities located low cost regions (LCR).
On its Global Solutions page, the company offers customers access to a partner’s manufacturing facilities in “in low cost regions in Romania, Hungary, Tunisia and China.”
For the speech in Wednesday, Romney stood in front of a huge banner reading “Putting Jobs First” and focused on what he called President Obama’s failures to create jobs for middle-class Americans.
“He’s been trying to convince us over the last several days that he’s really turned things around. He said, for instance, that ‘the private sector is doing fine,’” Romney said to boos from the crowd. “But then 23 million American voices spoke up. People that are out of work, or are looking for work, they said, ‘How about us?’”
“When the country’s in crisis, you have a moral responsibility to focus on helping people come out of that crisis,” he said. Romney praised EIT, calling it a “highly successful high-tech business,” that he said was suffering because of the health care law and other Obama policies related to the environment and labor relations.
“The president’s policies have not helped people go back to work,” Romney said, “and if I’m president, my job will be to get good jobs for middle-class people.”
Romney has been dogged by reports that Bain was a leader in outsourcing (directing jobs to domestic firms that pay less) and offshoring (directing jobs overseas) for days. On Wednesday, the Romney campaign met with editors from the Washington Post to demand a retraction of a recent report detailing such activities. The Obama campaign seized on that report, and President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have used it in recent campaign speeches to mock Romney.
The paper stood by its story despite Romney’s protestations, and the Romney campaign released a 10-page document Wednesday rebutting the story.
The Sterling event wasn’t the first time Romney’s campaign schedule ran him headlong into an awkward moment. Back in Iowa, he railed against China at a company that specialized in manufacturing in China and he’s been criticized more than once for campaigning at places that benefited from the federal stimulus package.