LEBANON, Ohio — Mitt Romney on Saturday seized upon the Obama administration delaying action on Chinese trade practices till after the election, arguing that the move was proof that President Obama has failed to protect the nation’s trade.
“We’re going to make sure that when people cheat -- and China’s been cheating — we’re not going to let it go on,” Romney told about 10,700 supporters gathered on a picturesque small-town street.
He highlighted that on Friday, the Treasury Department delayed releasing a report on international trade and exchange rates in which they would have had to say whether China ought to be labeled a currency manipulator. The semi-annual report will be released after an international meeting of government finance leaders and bankers next month.
Romney said the administration was “passing the buck.”
“I’m not going to just pass on that. On Day One, I will label China a currency manipulator,” he said. “We’re going to get serious about making sure people don’t cheat when it comes to trade.”
Currency manipulation artificially depresses the price of goods made in China, harming American workers. Declaring the nation a currency manipulator would trigger fresh negotiations and possibly U.S. sanctions, but might also set off a trade war.
The Obama campaign accused Romney of hypocrisy given his past dealings with China.
“Mitt Romney’s talking tough, but his record and his policies show he’s anything but when it comes to China,” said spokesman Danny Kanner. “As a corporate buyout specialist, he invested in companies that were pioneers in outsourcing to low-wage countries like China. And now, while President Obama would close tax loopholes that reward companies for shipping American jobs overseas, Mitt Romney’s tax plan could create 800,000 jobs outside of America. That’s not a candidate who would be tough on China as president -- that’s a candidate who thinks sounding tough will win him votes.”
After the rally, Romney toured the Golden Lamb, a historic Ohio hotel owned by Sen. Rob Portman’s family that has been visited by a dozen presidents and is rumored to be haunted.
Portman and his wife Jane Portman took Romney on a tour of the John Quincy Adams Room.
“Wow, isn’t this something,” Romney said.
Jane Portman replied, “This is great. We can’t wait to have a Mitt Romney Room in here.”
Romney, who earlier had joked to the crowd that Portman was buying all of them dinner, used the tour to tease him about the hotel, the oldest continuously operating lodging in Ohio.
“He calls it the Golden Lamb, but I think when you look at the prices you’ll determine it’s the Golden Fleece,” Romney said. “Actually, it’s a modest price point — I mean this like $130 a night? — for history!”
Portman replied, “This is about $140, I think, $150.”