BOSTON -- Sen. Rob Portman, a trusted adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said on Monday he thought it was a good decision by the Romney campaign to run a TV ad that drew intense criticism from Ohio press outlets.
"I thought it was an important ad to run," Portman, an Ohio Republican, said on CNN.
The ad in question came out over a week ago and aired in Ohio. It states that Chrysler is going to build Jeeps in China. This is accurate, according to announcements by Chrysler, citing the need to serve the expanding market there.
The move will not cost U.S. workers jobs because Chrysler is expanding production in Ohio as well, but the ad left some Jeep workers in the state under the impression that their jobs might be at risk. President Barack Obama and his campaign have slammed Romney for the ad. They were joined by much of the Ohio press.
The Huffington Post has already reported that Portman pushed the Romney campaign to hit back at Obama's attacks on Romney's position on the auto bailout, but it was not clear whether Portman had approved of the TV ad. In his CNN interview, Portman left no doubt where he stood.
"For the last six months the Democrats have been running an ad in Ohio that is just not accurate, saying it was Mitt Romney that wanted to take the companies through bankruptcy, it was Mitt Romney that wasn't providing any federal help for these workers and for the auto industry," Portman said.
"Frankly, the campaign was not responding to those inaccurate attack ads by the Obama administration," Portman said. "We needed to respond to the inaccuracies and I think that was important."
"And in terms of what Fiat's going to do in China, you should talk to them directly," he said of the company that now owns Chrysler. "We do export all of the Jeeps now from the United States, so look, I think it's great they're making invesmtents in Ohio, and they have, I hope they continue to, but it's also true that If they start production in China … we'll have fewer exports."
Portman admitted that "it doesn't mean that we'll have fewer jobs here, because hopefully our market will improve here as well, particularly under Mitt Romney if we get an expanding economy."