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Obama ad says Bain investment exploited 'sweatshop conditions' in China

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The new ad — which will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada — highlights Global Tech, a Chinese company invested in by Bain Capital during Romney's tenure there.

"These appliances could have been made here in America," a narrator says as images of Chinese workers assembling laundry machines pan across the screen. "But a company called Global Tech maximized profits by paying its workers next to nothing under sweatshop conditions in China."

The ad goes on to say that Bain, under Romney's leadership saw the company "as a good investment, even knowing that the firm promoted its practice of exploiting low-wage labor to its investors."

"Mitt Romney, tough on China? Since when?" the ad concludes.

In a statement issued later Monday, the Romney campain accused Obama of "trying to distract from his failure to stand up to China."

“Four years ago, then candidate Barack Obama promised to take China to the mat, but refused to label China a currency manipulator because he didn’t want them to be embarrassed," said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "President Obama’s failure to stand up to China has cost our country jobs and is one more reason that we can’t have four more years like the last four years. Mitt Romney will stand up to China, label them a currency manipulator, protect our intellectual property, and ensure that more jobs stay in America.”

Both Romney and Obama have lobbed attacks on China while seeking to appeal to voters in crucial swing states with manufacturing economies, such as Ohio. Both candidates discussed Chinese trade during campaign stops in the state last week.

"People in Ohio can sell products anywhere, and can compete with anyone in the world. I understand when we trade and when other nations trade on a fair basis, we will create jobs. I understand when people cheat that kills jobs. China has cheated. I will not allow that to continue," Romney said.

In a conference call earlier last week, Romney aide Ed Gillespie said the campaign saw continued attacks on China as a key part in attracting Ohio manufacturing workers. Romney has run a series of ads in the Buckeye State hammering the president as soft on China.

"I think it's clear that the message on China has resonated not only with the voters, but you can tell with the response from the Obama campaign," Gillespie said. "They went up with an ad in response to it on China and on top of that, the administration filed a case."

The Obama administration has been using the power of the presidency to target the country. Last month, the president announced a trade case against China, accusing the country of illegally subsidizing auto parts. And on Friday, the Obama administration announced it would block a bid by a Chinese-owned company to acquire four wind farm companies in the United States.

Obama has also aggressively pushed back in campaign advertisements.

"When Mitt Romney tries to talk tough on China, it’s just embarrassing," the Obama campaign said in a statement accompanying the release of the ad. "The American people know that trusting Romney to hold China accountable is like asking a fox to guard the henhouse."

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