OTR Interviews

Who's the real 'Outsourcer-in-Chief'?

Obama's Democrats and Romney's Republicans spar over who has sent the most US resources overseas

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 10, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Will the real "Outsourcer-in-Chief" please stand up? Is it Governor Mitt Romney? Or is it President Barack Obama? Now, it depends on you who ask. First the Obama campaign jabbed Governor Romney, alleging that he sent jobs overseas while running Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts. And now Republicans turning the tables on the Obama campaign, the RNC launching an aggressive effort to cast President Obama as the real outsourcer-in-chief, and today Governor Romney making that argument himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is interesting that when it comes to outsourcing, that this president has been outsourcing a good deal of -- of -- of American jobs himself by putting money into energy companies, solar and wind energy companies that end up making their products outside the United States. If there's an outsourcer- in-chief, it's the president of the United States, not the guy who's running to replace him!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: So who is doing a better job of making that outsourcing argument? And is it legitimate? Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume joins us.

Nice to see you, Brit.

BRIT HUME, FOX SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Greta. Nice to be here.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, it's a battle of who's the -- who's the bigger outsourcer. And is it fair, first of all?

HUME: Well, I suppose it is, but I don't think either one of them is much of an outsourcer. But I -- and I think the most telling thing about this whole flap over outsourcing is that the Obama campaign got this idea out of a story in The Washington Post that was pretty thinly sourced to begin with, a pretty weak story, and they just went with it, which tells you something, I think, about the Obama campaign.

I mean, we think of this enormous apparatus they have, the skillful people that are running it, and they grab a story out of a newspaper and use it as an attack. You sense that they are grabbing whatever they can against Romney and sort of throwing it up against the wall to see if it'll stick.

This I don't think has stuck very well. The Obama attack has been debunked by fact checker, and even The Washington Post, which kind of originated the whole thing -- even their fact checker has done it, and Politifact has given it a bad review.

And now, of course, you have the Republicans weighing in with their claims against Obama, largely growing out of some stimulus money that flowed overseas for some of these energy investments. But I don't think either man is much of an outsourcer.

VAN SUSTEREN: But -- but the -- but the -- but in fairness to the Obama campaign is that the attacks on the Obama -- President Obama for being an outsourcer, the RNC is pointing to money that's going to different foreign companies...

HUME: That's true.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... but it's actually being -- the work is being done here in the United States.

HUME: No, that's not true.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it's being -- it's being a little bit loose with the facts.

HUME: Well, that's not true, Greta. I mean, the Fisker automotive company, they're building automobiles in Finland.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it says here, it says the RNC pointed to money that went to Fisker Automotive, which is producing a luxury electric sports car in Finland. Factcheck.org, though, says that while the firm got $169 million federal loan guarantee, the loan money itself was spent in the U.S.

HUME: Maybe so, but money's fungible, Greta. I mean, if you -- money -- if the money is spent here, that mean its frees up money to be spent there. I mean, that's the problem.

That's the same -- that's why this argument, it seems to me, is ultimately kind of silly, that neither -- I don't think either man has a policy of outsourcing, believes that outsourcing jobs to foreign countries is something that they ought to be involved in. And to some extent, in some instances, outsourcing makes sense and is actually good for the economy. So I just think the issue probably isn't going to last much longer.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I wonder what the independents think as they sort of sit -- sit back listen to all -- everybody on TV and the candidates themselves and their campaigns talking about outsourcing or not. And it's the independents who are really going to determine who the next president is, is I wonder if they think that's -- you know, I sort of wonder if they think -- they sort of roll their eyes at all this name calling.

HUME: Well, I think they do. And I think at this stage, people are not fully focused on the campaign. There's a certain category of people who are intent on both sides, and they pay attention to all these nuances and they think about who gets the upper hand on this issue or that.

I think people's focus on this campaign has not really begun to happen and will start happening around the time of the conventions and beyond, and particularly during the month of October, when people will be able to be intensely focused.

So it's early yet. Now, it is possible -- and I think this is what team Obama is betting on -- that if you can really seriously define your opponent in the early stages of a race in an indelible way, that you can gain an advantage that you may never lose. I'm not sure it's happening here, but I think that's what they're trying to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's sort of hard to get in the minds of other people and try to figure out how they'll vote. But it seems to me that the Obama administration, or the campaign may be trying to frame Governor Romney a certain way. But underlying all of this, at least is the bad jobs reports. I mean, now, June was bad. We don't know what July is going to be or August and leading up to November. But it seems to me is that, you know, no matter how much framing they do of their opponent, is that, you know, the jobs report is going to be -- is going to be king.

HUME: I couldn't possibly agree with you more. That's the biggest political story of the hour and will continue to be as we get closer to the election.

I might note this, however, that while people's attention to the candidates and the campaigns may not be very intense, this right now, this -- this season of the year has been in the past the time when sentiment when the condition of the economy begins to harden.

For example, back in 1992, when George H.W. Bush was running for reelection, the economy had actually emerged from the relative -- by today's standards, relatively mild recession. But the aftereffects were still being felt. And by this time of year, people -- the economy was beginning to grow, but it was too late. And by election day, it was -- it was -- we were in a full recovery mode. But it was way too late to save George H.W. Bush.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know how there can be much of a recovery mode for the president between now and November by sort of simple indicators. For instance, we have now -- borrowing money is now down. There's really very -- the interest rate is about as low as you can get.

HUME: Exactly.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you can't sort of loosen up money anymore than it is. I mean, there are certain indicators where -- I don't know where the margins, where the president's going to see any breathing room. You've got problems in Europe that aren't getting better, that have an enormous influence on our economy that are beyond his influence.

Nonetheless, you know, he's the president and he sticks (ph) with it. I don't know -- I don't know how he -- how -- I don't see any indicator in the economy that's going to help him enormously.

HUME: I don't think we'll have a strong rebound between now and election day. The only point I was trying to make was that even if we did, sentiment may have begun -- begun to turn in such a way that it's too late.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there one ethnic group or demographic which is sort of key to the independent vote right now?

HUME: Well, no. I don't -- you know, I don't know how they -- I couldn't possibly slice up the independent vote and tell you, you know, what its ethnic composition is. But you can slice up the electorate. And if you do and you think about the Hispanic vote and the African-American vote, and so forth, you can make a pretty good case that Barack Obama has an outstanding chance to win.

If you do it another way, which is to say, OK, let's assume that each candidate gets his base, then whoever wins the majority -- a distinct majority of the independents will win the election, which is what you were saying earlier. And that's the way I've always tried to look at it because I think it's the simplest way to do it!

VAN SUSTEREN: And I think the independents sort of sit back and laugh at us when we're arguing about whether it's a tax or a penalty last week...

HUME: Or an outsource.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... or outsource or who's...

HUME: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... the outsourcer. I always sort of think they just sit back and roll their eyes a little bit at all of us. Anyway, Brit, nice to see you.

HUME: You bet. Thank you, Greta.