CANTON, OH -- In his first remarks touching foreign policy since becoming Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan had tough words for China in this manufacturing-heavy battleground state.
"They steal our intellectual property rights. They block access to their markets. They manipulate their currency."
He continued, "President Obama promised he would stop these practices. He said he’d go to the mat with China. Instead, they’re treating him like a doormat. We’re not going to let that happen. Mitt Romney and I are going to crackdown on China cheating. We’re going to make sure that trade works for Americans."
Yet there's one hitch to Ryan's tough words on China, especially as it relates to currency manipulation: The congressman, in 2010, voted against legislation to crack down on China's currency manipulation.
Indeed, Ryan was one of 74 Republicans who voted against this legislation that easily passed the House that year; the legislation never made it out of the Senate.
Scott Paul, the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said it was the "height of hypocrisy" for Ryan to attack Obama on this issue.
The Romney campaign responds that the president already has sufficient authority to act on China's currency manipulation, and a Romney-Ryan administration would do exactly that.
“Like Gov. Romney, Congressman Ryan believes America must take aggressive action to confront nations like China that cheat on trade," says spokesman Brendan Buck. "He believes this can be done most effectively when the president has the freedom to take appropriate action, and that we need a president like Gov. Romney who is committed to doing just that instead one like President Obama who has shown he won’t.”
Ryan, stumping for the second day in the Buckeye State, also spoke about jobs in his roughly 20-minute remarks inside the Welsh University auditorium.
”The Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class is a plan designed to get growth and opportunity turned back on in America. It¹s a plan to create 12 million jobs in the next four years,” he said. “That, in Ohio, means 452,000 jobs if we get this economy growing like it should.”
The seven-term Wisconsin congressman, speaking beneath a scoreboard reading Romney and Ryan as the team names, told the crowd he and his running mate want to “earn victory” and “deserve victory” this November.
“In short, we want to honor you by giving you the choice. So that we can earn victory, so that we will deserve victory, so that we will have the moral authority, the obligation, the contract, the covenant, and the mandate to do what needs to be done to get this country back on track.”
Ryan heads to Virginia -- yet another battleground state for the VP nominee this week -- tonight for a fundraiser with LA Gov. Bobby Jindal and will also hold two public events there Friday.