Mitt Romney is out with a new television ad attacking President Barack Obama for failing to crack down on China for unfair trade practices and accusing him of overseeing a major decline in America's manufacturing might.
The spot, titled "Failing America's Workers," fits with the theme Romney emphasized earlier on in the campaign, before he went off on various tangents and started tackling non-economic topics. Obama, it goes, has dramatically mismanaged the economy.
Like the claims made in most campaign ads, there are gray areas to the charges. For starters, Romney is saddling Obama with the decline of the manufacturing sector that was part of a broad economic shift, which was decades in the making and accelerated by the recession that occurred under President George W. Bush. And, as Obama noted in his speech at the Democratic National Convention, from January 2010 through July 2012, the U.S. has reversed that trend, creating more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs.
As for the politics of it all, Romney seems a bit late to the game. The president's campaign and allied super PACs spent all summer accusing Romney of outsourcing jobs to places like China during his tenure at Bain Capital. They also ran ads accusing him for losing 40,000 manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts while governor of that state.
Romney may be seeking to recast those impressions. But at this juncture, it would be tough to completely reverse them.