ABC News' Maya Srikrishnan reports:
Democrats hit hard by Republicans for bailouts, stimulus, and “job killing” policies like “cap and trade,” are trying to prove that their opponents are just as bad for the economy. The accusation? Their opponents, say Democrats, support policies that outsource American jobs. These “outsourcing” ads have become a popular ad theme for Democratic candidates this election.
It could be a shrewd strategy. 69 percent of Americans believe free trade agreements, like NAFTA, cost Americans jobs and 53 percent believe they have hurt the U.S. economy, according to an NBC/WSJ poll released last week.
As November 2 nd creeps closer, more and more Democratic are using these ads to take advantage of this anti-free-trade feeling. In just the past week, at least five Senate and 11 House candidates have come out with ads accusing GOP candidates of supporting tax breaks for multi-national corporations and free trade agreements --like NAFTA, which was signed by former Republican president George H. W. Bush and the China Trade Agreement, which was signed by former Democratic president Bill Clinton-- that they say have been sending jobs abroad.
The DSCC released an outsourcing ad Monday against Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey.
“In Congress, Toomey voted to give China special trade status,” the ad says. “Toomey's vote for China helped cost us 2.4 million jobs. Maybe he ought to run for Senate in China.”
The Toomey campaign responded to the ad, saying the DSCC was distorting Toomey’s position because they were concerned about his lead in recent polls. A Marist/McClatchy poll released Monday showed Toomey ahead of his Democratic opponent Joe Sestak, 51 percent to 42 percent.
“Instead of distorting Pat Toomey’s excellent record of creating jobs, the Desperate Senatorial Campaign Committee might want to take a look at Joe Sestak’s record of destroying jobs,“ said Toomey campaign spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik.
DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said highlighting this particular issue has previously proven to work for their campaign efforts.
“It’s definitely resonating with voters,” Rudominer said. “Frankly, Republicans don’t really have much they can say to defend their position.“
Rudominer said the DCCC used this ad strategy heavily in the special elections for Pennsylvania’s 12 th district seat of the late John Murtha in May. The Democratic candidate, Mark Critz, won the election by 8 points.
Rudominer cited several House districts where these ads have been used and the Democratic candidates were up in recent polls: Larry Kissell in North Carolina’s 8 th district , Michael Arcuri in New York’s 24 th district and Scott Murphy in New York’s 20 th district.
NRCC spokesman Jon Thompson called these outsourcing attacks “false” and said that the Democrat’s stimulus bill paid out over one billion taxpayer dollars to foreign companies that created jobs overseas.
“Rather than attempt to shift blame for their own shortcomings, it’s time for Democrats to explain how they plan to put Americans back to work,” Thompson said.
The NRCC released an ad Monday against Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton in Missouri’s 4 th district, which used the “outsourcing” strategy, blaming Skelton for spending tax dollars to send jobs overseas, in addition to accusing him of other economic shortcomings. However, in the past month the number of Democrats using the outsourcing strategy greatly outnumbers those of Republicans.
Democratic incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer, in a tight race to keep her seat in California, has also been using outsourcing ads against her opponent Carly Fiorina for the past month. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday shows Boxer pulling slightly ahead of her opponent, 49 percent to 45 percent.
Fiorina responded to Boxer’s outsourcing attacks Wednesday at a town hall-style event at a tool manufacturing company, t he Associated Press reports.
"It is the height of hypocrisy for Barbara Boxer to attack me or Aranda or any other struggling business for outsourcing jobs when she has taken tens of thousands in campaign contributions from companies who do the very same thing," Fiorina said."Either she doesn't understand what is going on in the economy or she doesn't really care and this is just political-year electioneering and slogans.”