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Of the many odd decisions the Romney has made, and there is a long list of odd decisions, the attack on President Obama over China is a head scratcher.
Romney is trying to find a way to make up ground in swing states – especially in the critical state of Ohio where his comments about 47 percent of Americans as well as his opposition to the auto bailout that was a jobs boon to the state have hurt him badly.
But Romney has so many vulnerabilities on China it is hard to understand why he would pick this issue.
First, there is the outsourcing.
While at Bain, Romney not only outsourced jobs to China from companies Bain acquired but Romney also purchased a business that served as an employer for other companies outsourced jobs.
On top of the job problem, Romney has an investment problem. And it does not end with the manufacturing plants that took jobs from American workers.
With the release of Mitt Romney’s partial 2011 return we learned more about his lucrative investments in China.
Most troubling is his investment in the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). Owned by the communist government, CNOOC has long tried to gain a strategic foothold in North America’s oil industry, but Washington has repeatedly thwarted their attempts.
CNOOC raises serious security issues and in 2006 invested in Iran – which incidentally means that Romney profited from Iran’s oil production. The company now is trying to buy its way into the Gulf of Mexico – an attempt that would no doubt be looked at more favorably by Mitt Romney.
Romney was also an early investor through Bain in Youku, the Chinese version of YouTube. Youku has been a pioneer in Chinese piracy of American entertainment and of violating international copyright laws.
As President, Romney and his administration certainly cannot argue that they would be tougher on China than Obama. After all, investments in Iranian oil and violations of copyright laws were rewarded by Romney.
And Romney’s biggest funders share his business view of China. His largest funder, Sheldon Adelson owns a casino in Macaw and is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and is alleged to have been involved in human trafficking of prostitutes in Asia by a former business associate.
This week Adelson admitted that his legal woes are motivating his tens of millions of dollars in donations.
Clearly he believes that the Romney Administration will take a different view of overseas corruption in China.
Worst of all is an over looked section of the tape from the secret fundraiser Romney held in Florida.
He said: “When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there. It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married.
“And they work in these huge factories, they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room.
“Three bunk beds on top of each other. You’ve seen, you’ve seen them? (Audience: Oh…yeah, yes) And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I can’t believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in…
So Mitt Romney walked through this factory, with 20,000 young women working many hours for a “pittance”, sleeping in rooms where they were stacked like cords of wood and his conclusion was: gosh, we’ll take it!
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.