Romney camp scolds Obama campaign for citing Chinese news agency

Yesterday I noted that the Chinese press had yet to respond to Mitt Romney’s accusation on the campaign trail and in a new ad that Beijing is cheating by manipulating its currency. Today Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, picked up the gauntlet in a stinging English-language editorial:   [I]t is rather ironic that a considerable portion ...

By , a former deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy.
624170_chinaad.jpg
624170_chinaad.jpg

Yesterday I noted that the Chinese press had yet to respond to Mitt Romney's accusation on the campaign trail and in a new ad that Beijing is cheating by manipulating its currency. Today Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, picked up the gauntlet in a stinging English-language editorial:  

Yesterday I noted that the Chinese press had yet to respond to Mitt Romney’s accusation on the campaign trail and in a new ad that Beijing is cheating by manipulating its currency. Today Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, picked up the gauntlet in a stinging English-language editorial:  

[I]t is rather ironic that a considerable portion of this China-battering politician’s wealth was actually obtained by doing business with Chinese companies before he entered politics.

Such blaming-China-on-everything remarks are as false as they are foolish, for it has never been a myth that pushing up the value of China’s currency would be of little use to boost the chronically slack job market of the world’s sole superpower, not to mention to magically turn the poor US economic performance around….

If these mud-slinging tactics were to become US government policies, a trade war would be very likely to break out between the world’s top two economies, which would be catastrophic enough to both sides and the already groaning global economy.

For generations, China-bashing has been a cancer in US electoral politics, seriously plaguing the relations between the two countries.

Chinese news outlets have issued searing rebukes of Romney’s rhetoric several times before in this election. What’s more interesting is the sparring that ensued between Obama and Romney campaign staffers once Xinhua published the editorial.

In tweeting a Reuters article on the op-ed this morning, Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, wrote, "Must read: China’s Xinhua slams Romney for making his money off Chinese companies before running for pres." That prompted a swift response on Twitter from Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. "Team Obama promoting ‘news’ from Chinese propaganda agency," he wrote.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has since joined the debate, tweeting that it’s "offensive that the Obama campaign would use the Chinese propaganda paper Xinhua to promote their campaign" and that the "Obama campaign’s actions show they won’t stand up to cheaters/protect US jobs."

"What’s offensive," Cutter shot back, "is that Mitt thinks voters will believe he’ll be tough on China -he’s personally profiting of China as we speak."

How long before we see a new ad attacking Obama for outsourcing his PR to China? 

Uri Friedman is a former deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @UriLF

More from Foreign Policy

Children are hooked up to IV drips on the stairs at a children's hospital in Beijing.
Children are hooked up to IV drips on the stairs at a children's hospital in Beijing.

Chinese Hospitals Are Housing Another Deadly Outbreak

Authorities are covering up the spread of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia.

Henry Kissinger during an interview in Washington in August 1980.
Henry Kissinger during an interview in Washington in August 1980.

Henry Kissinger, Colossus on the World Stage

The late statesman was a master of realpolitik—whom some regarded as a war criminal.

A Ukrainian soldier in helmet and fatigues holds a cell phone and looks up at the night sky as an explosion lights up the horizon behind him.
A Ukrainian soldier in helmet and fatigues holds a cell phone and looks up at the night sky as an explosion lights up the horizon behind him.

The West’s False Choice in Ukraine

The crossroads is not between war and compromise, but between victory and defeat.

Illustrated portraits of Reps. MIke Gallagher, right, and Raja Krishnamoorthi
Illustrated portraits of Reps. MIke Gallagher, right, and Raja Krishnamoorthi

The Masterminds

Washington wants to get tough on China, and the leaders of the House China Committee are in the driver’s seat.