WASHINGTON – The Bush administration lacks economic leadership at a time when states like Ohio are hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs, Rep. Tim Ryan (search) said Saturday in the Democrats' weekly radio address.
Ryan, who represents a highly unionized, blue-collar district in northeastern Ohio, cited a recent criticism of President Bush's economic policy: The assertion by a top White House economist that "outsourcing" American jobs overseas was good for the U.S. economy in the long run.
"The constituents in my district whose jobs were just outsourced do not agree. They and the more than one million other workers nationwide who lost their jobs to overseas labor during the past three years find this statement outrageous," Ryan said.
N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers (search), has apologized for his remark and said he was misunderstood.
Jobs are a sensitive political issue for Bush. The economy has lost 2.2 million payroll jobs since he took office, the worst job-creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover, Democrats stress.
Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry (search) and John Edwards (search) are focusing on the economy and Ohio's loss of jobs in their campaign to win the state's March 2 primary. The state is expected to be a tough battleground state for Bush in November with jobs being the No. 1 issue.
In the radio address, Ryan said the job losses are making it hard for Americans to believe that the government is still on their side.
"In difficult times, the American people turn to the president for leadership. But instead, we get salesmanship," he said.
Ryan also blamed Bush and GOP leaders in the House for $4 billion in sanctions — the biggest amount ever — that the European Union will start imposing on U.S. manufacturers Monday because of Washington's failure to end export tax breaks ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization.
"We did not have to get to this point. Democrats have been working in a bipartisan way for more than a year to fix this problem and avoid these sanctions," Ryan said.
A bill that would fix the problem has more than 150 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors, Ryan said. It is pending in a House committee.