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RNC Chooses Unlikely Messenger: Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey's 2010 comments about stimulus spending are being used in a new line of attacks against President Obama as an outsourcer.

In an effort to strengthen the GOP characterization of President Obama as the U.S.’s “Outsourcer-in-Chief,” the RNC has turned to none other than the Democrats – including Sen. Bob Casey.

In email sent out today – one of several released throughout the week – the GOP takes a new line of attack to turn the tables on the President, with Republicans pegging Obama (and not Romney) as the true outsourcer.

The email accuses the President, using words from members of his own party, of being a cause behind the continuing trend of outsourcing American jobs to low-wage countries like China.

Sen. Casey, along with a handful of other Dems, went on record in March 2010 to criticize the implementation of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, portions of which sent money and jobs overseas.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that month, Casey – along with fellow Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jon Tester (D-MT) – asked that a portion of the clean-energy grant program in the stimulus be suspended until it could be fixed to ensure that funds only went to projects that created jobs at home.

While the Recovery Act included a protectionist ‘Buy American’ provision that applied to public building and public works projects – and that the iron, steel and other manufactured goods had to be produced in America – the provision did not impose the same requirement on private projects that sought stimulus grant money.

At a press conference, also held in March 2010, Casey, with his fellow senators, said the bill could have done a better job making sure that stimulus money was going to American endeavors.

“I think they’d be wise to try to make sure they’re doing a better job getting dollars in the hands of U.S. manufacturers, creating U.S. jobs, as opposed to saying well, ‘Some of the money is going to go overseas; that’s just the way it is,’” he said. “I think that kind of tendency to resist is not in the best interest of our jobs, creating jobs here.”

Casey also admitted to Greta Van Susteren on her Fox News show On The Record that money had already been paid out to foreign companies.

“We’ve got lots and lots of companies that are benefiting, but unfortunately too many of them are overseas, in China and other places around the world. We want to make a correction to the (stimulus) bill so that we are creating American jobs with American tax dollars. And unfortunately, a lot of the money that has gone out already has gone to subsidize foreign firms.”

One of the projects Casey and others highlighted is a $1.5 billion west Texas wind farm; the project was taken on jointly by China’s Shenyang Power Group, Texas company Cielo Wind Power and the U.S. Renewable Energy Group. The project sought to build a 36,000-acre wind farm, the electricity from which could power between 135,000 and 180,000 homes every year.

Once the Chinese government gave the project the green light, they planned to begin shipping foreign-made turbines to theTexas site, with 30 percent of its cost (or $450 million) being offset with stimulus money. Casey criticized the project for not relying on U.S.-manufactured goods.

But the Department of Energy responded to the criticism, as reported by Politico, saying that the turbines were built domestically, and that “regardless of where some of the parts are manufactured” the project would spur American job creation.

Politico also cited a study done by the Investigative Reporting Workshop, which found that – of the $2 billion given in clean-energy grants since September 2009 – 79 percent of the money has gone to foreign wind companies.

The economy has long been considered the No. 1 issue of this cycle, with both Romney and Obama trying to convince the middle class that their opponent poses a risk to the country’s economic security and job growth.

The RNC has reawakened discussion of the stimulus spending using Casey’s words to blame the President for not putting American jobs first. This new Obama-as-outsourcer campaign blitz, called “The Big Fail,” examines the President’s “failed record,” part of a concerted effort this week by several in the GOP.

These RNC attacks are part of the counteroffensive to a slew of Democratic ads that drew first blood a few weeks ago, going after Romney for his time at Bain Capital and as Massachusetts’ Governor, during which time Dems allege he outsourced jobs to China and India.

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