President Obama touted his administration's record in taking on China on trade issues — and specifically touted the impact on two key industrial swing states that he needs in order to win re-election.
"But with respect to China, China's both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community, if it's following the rules. So my attitude coming into office was that we are going to insist that China plays by the same rules as everybody else. I know Americans have seen jobs being shipped overseas, businesses and workers not getting a level playing field when it came to trade. And that's the reason why I set up a trade task force to go after cheaters when it came to international trade. That's the reason why we have brought more cases against China for violating trade rules than the previous administration had done in two terms. And we've won just about every case that we've filed that has been decided.
"In fact, just recently, steelworkers in Ohio and throughout the Midwest, and Pennsylvania, are in a position now to sell steel to China because we won that case. We had a tire case in which they were flooding us with cheap domestic tires — or cheap Chinese tires — and we put a stop to it and as a consequence saved jobs throughout America.
"I have to say that Gov. Romney criticized me for being too tough in that tire case — said this wouldn't be good for American workers and that it would be protectionist. But I tell you, those workers don't feel that way. They feel as if they had finally an administration who is going to take this issue seriously."