"I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep — now owned by the Italians — is thinking of moving all production to China," Romney said. "I will fight for every good job in America. I'm going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it's fair, America will win."
The Obama campaign quickly called foul, pointing out that the plant in China would be a new facility aimed at building Jeeps for Chinese customers, and that Chrysler was also adding jobs in the United States for domestic production. Chrysler also issued a statement indicating it had no plans to move American production overseas.
But this weekend, the Romney campaign released a new ad that, while avoiding making the same claim, doubles down on the sentiment of Romney's statement.
In the ad, a narrator says President Obama “took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.”
Blackburn said Monday that even if Jeep was not planning to move jobs overseas, American autoworkers still had reason for concern.
"I will say this. For workers in the auto industry, across the board, whether it is GM, whether it's Nissan, whether it's American Motors, individuals are very concerned about the impact of regulation that the EPA and OSHA and other federal agencies are heaping on our manufacturers," Blackburn said. "I hear this every day from my constituents, who are incredibly concerned about this."
Blackburn added that she did not see Romney's statements "as a contradiction at all," again emphasizing the role of environmental restrictions in slowing auto manufacturing.