07/16/2012 03:57 pm ET Updated Jul 16, 2012

Mitt Romney Outsourcing Attacks Will Work In Ohio, Says Ted Strickland

WASHINGTON -- As Democrats ramp up their attacks on Mitt Romney for enabling outsourcing, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) said Monday that the issue will play well in Ohio, a crucial swing state where manufacturing jobs have been disappearing for decades.

"I think this issue is going to be very important in Ohio over the next three months," Strickland said. "The fact is, there's a very clear distinction between where Gov. Romney would take us and what the president is willing to do, and I think Ohioans will understand that. What Gov. Romney is proposing will exacerbate the problem hugely."

Strickland was speaking on a call with reporters arranged by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the political arm of the liberal think tank. The group released a paper Monday arguing that Romney's tax policy proposals would help send more American jobs overseas.

The report is part of a broader attempt by Democrats to draw a line between Romney's past at Bain Capital and his policy prescriptions for the future.

"At a time where working and middle-class families are feeling tremendous economic uncertainty ... the last thing we would want to prioritize is sending more American jobs overseas," Tom Periello, the former Democratic congressman and head of CAP Action, said on the call.

Outsourcing became a major campaign issue last month, when the Washington Post ran a story alleging that some of the investments at Romney's old private equity firm, Bain Capital, specialized in cutting costs through offshoring jobs. With a presidential race ostensibly all about the economy, Democrats have pounced on Romney as a wealthy investor who abetted the loss of American jobs to Asia.

In the brief issued Monday, CAP tax expert Seth Hanlon wrote that Romney's tax proposals would give American companies incentives to relocate jobs overseas to save money. Arguing that the U.S. tax system already rewards companies for outsourcing, Hanlon writes that "Romney’s economic platform would exacerbate these harmful features of the international tax system."

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Obama campaign has tried to play up the outsourcing issue, hoping to distinguish the president from Romney through some of Obama's so-called "insourcing" proposals. The president has called for eliminating tax writeoffs for companies that relocate jobs to other countries, as well as for granting tax breaks to companies that bring jobs back to the U.S.