The Ridge report

In politics, a damning report is in the eye of the beholder. The Washington Post published an account this week about a report former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge released that warns the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing jobs has put the nation's security at risk and made the United States more vulnerable not only to terrorist attack but to natural disasters as well.

The campaign of Mitt Romney — who is under attack by President Obama for sending his money overseas and outsourcing jobs through his work in private equity — saw fit to use the Ridge report in a press release later that same day that quoted Ridge in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" expressing his "supreme and extreme disappointment" in the security leaks coming from the administration. Ridge said that “the security leaks, in my judgment, are a major national security problem."

Meanwhile, the Post piece on Ridge's report highlights that a lack of investment in infrastructure and the shipping of jobs overseas is endangering national security — sounding almost like an Obama campaign ad. Ridge and the other authors call for using "Buy American" provisions in federal spending as well as enforcing trade laws to support American manufacturers.

The report warns that responding to any catastrophe will be more challenging because necessary supplies would have to be shipped here from abroad. In an interview, Ridge told the Post that "we are a country at risk because we've ignored the gradual erosion of our manufacturing base ... We've ignored the need to rebuild the nation's infrastructure."

Democrats will argue the report agrees with their conclusion that outsourcing is detrimental to the country, and for Republicans, the Ridge report will bolster their argument about the danger of leaks. That's bipartisanship.

WHILE ABROAD, SHOULD MITT ROMNEY PROVIDE MORE DETAILS ABOUT HIS FOREIGN POLICY PLANS? Ask A.B. returns Tuesday, July 31. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to Thank you.

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