President Barack Obama's re-election campaign seized on a new report Friday that claims Mitt Romney's former private equity firm was heavily involved in sending jobs overseas.
The campaign's senior strategist David Axelrod blasted out an email with the Washington Post story, saying it exposed "breathtaking hypocrisy" by a candidate who frequently calls for the need to return American jobs to the United States.
The Washington Post story says that Bain Capital, a firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and left in 1999, had invested in multiple companies that "specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India."
"(Bain) owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission," the report said.
Based on the newspaper's investigation of Bain's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the private equity firm held shares in companies like Stream International Inc.--a firm that "became active in the growing field of overseas call centers"-and Modus Media, a company that opened up manufacturing locations on four continents.
In a conference call with reporters Friday, Axelrod knocked Romney as an "outsourcer in chief" and asked whether the presumptive GOP nominee's business experience is the kind of philosophy needed in the White House. He especially questioned Romney's ability to "stand up to China" on trade.
"It's particularly egregious when you try to repackage yourself as someone who's going to be tough on countries that you sent jobs to," Axelrod said on the call. He later described the report as a "significant moment in this campaign."
Romney's campaign, however, called the report a "fundamentally flawed story," arguing it fails to point out the difference between "domestic outsourcing versus offshoring."
Outsourcing, the campaign argues, is a common practice and can occur domestically without sending jobs overseas. Offshoring, on the other hand, involves shifting work out of house and overseas.
"Mitt Romney spent 25 years in the real world economy so he understands why jobs come and they go," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul in statement. "As President, he will implement policies that make it easier and more attractive for companies to create jobs here at home."
Romney's corporate career at Bain has come under heavy scrutiny this cycle, first by his Republican opponents during the primary, and now by Democrats, who have aggressively used Bain as a way to frame Romney as an out of touch businessman whose claims as a job creator are baseless.
A spokesman for Bain Capital also responded to the report Friday, simply pointing to its successful ventures since its founding.
"Bain Capital's business model has always been to build great companies and improve their operations," the company said in a statement. "We have helped the 350 companies in which we have invested, which include over 100 start-up businesses, produce $80 billion of revenue growth in the United States while growing their revenues well over twice as fast as both the S&P and the U.S. economy over the last 28 years."