The Romney campaign is doubling down on their response to a Washington Post story about Bain Capital’s work with companies who outsourced jobs during Romney’s tenure. The problem, campaign argues, is that the reporter doesn’t understand what outsourcing is.
On Friday, a Washington Post story based on SEC filings showed that during Mitt Romney’s tenure, Bain Capital invested in companies that “specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.”
After initial pushback against the article on Friday, two Romney advisers said Sunday that the article was “shoddy” journalism that failed to distinguish between ‘outsourcing’ and ‘offshoring.’
“I think what happened in this story, near as we can tell, is that the reporter confused the notion of outsourcing,” Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning. “Now a lot of American companies outsource, they outsource domestically.”
Top adviser Eric Fehrnstrom had a similar explanation, arguing that outsourcing is a broad term that often refers to work done inside the United States. “There’s a very simple difference between outsourcing and offshoring,” Fehrnstrom said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “[Outsourcing] is done by companies every day. They take functions and they allow vendors to do it rather than handling it in-house. Offshoring is the shipment of American jobs overseas.”
But Fehrnstrom also added to the denial that firms were not offshoring but ‘expanding’ overseas. “What you have are companies that are expanding into new markets,” Fehrnstrom said.
Fehrnstrom used Coca-Cola as an example of how this is not shipping jobs overseas, but expanding into new markets. “When companies like Coca-Cola for example build a bottling plant in China so they can sell more soft drinks to the Chinese, we should be applauding that because that type of entrance into new markets is what makes our companies stronger,” he said.
Both Gillespie and Fehrnstrom denied that any of the companies referenced in the Post story engaged in sending American jobs overseas. “There are no examples of jobs being taken from the United States and shipped overseas,” Fehrnstrom said.
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is taking full advantage of the opportunity to attack Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, with Romney changing from a “corporate raider” in a previous ad to an “outsourcing pioneer” in a new video.
“I think that for people in Ohio and Virginia, in North Carolina, who have been watching as outsourcing has destroyed their local economies and their local communities,” Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said on “Face the Nation” Sunday, “that’s really startling when this person who wants to be the president of the United States actually created the practice of outsourcing American jobs overseas to places like China and India.”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.