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China Becomes Boogeyman in Campaign Ads

At least four candidates seeking elected office this year are using China in attack ads against their opponents.

The most striking such ad comes from Spike Maynard, the Sarah Palin-backed Republican hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall in West Virginia. Maynard's ad, at left, uses stereotypical Chinese music and images of the "made in China" label on clothes and toys.

"Rahall's vote helped foreign companies create Chinese jobs making windmills," a narrator says. "With skyrocketing unemployment, only a politician who's been in Washington for 34 years would vote to help foreign companies making Chinese windmills."

Democrat Lee Fisher, who is running for the Senate in Ohio, ran an attack ad against Republican Rob Portman that opens, "Congressman Rob Portman knows how to grow the economy - in China." The ad goes on to suggest that Portman supported tax breaks for companies that export jobs and blames Portman for the fact that "our deficit with China exploded" during the Bush administration, when Portman was trade representative and budget director.

The spot closes with a shot of Portman shaking hands with what appears to be a Chinese leader and a full-screen image of the Chinese flag and the words, "Rob Portman. Not for Ohio."

Outsourcing jobs to China as well as India and Mexico has been a major issue in races across the Midwest, with Democrats in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio running against free trade agreements and outsourcing. (Here's an example focused on free trade.)

One such spot, from Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, is at left. In it, Republican gubernatorial challenger John Kasich is criticized for sitting on the board of a medical and long-term care product company that the ad says outsourced jobs to China and Mexico.

"I believe they sent those jobs oversees so they could make more profit," Nilda Ramos, whose husband was laid off by the company, says in the spot. "I don't think John Kasich values hardworking people."

Shipping jobs to China has also become an issue on some areas you might not expect, like upstate New York, where Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy attacked Republican opponent Chris Gibson for supporting "jobs for China."

"More tax burden on the middle class, and more debt to China," a narrator says in the spot, which you can see here. "Chris Gibson: Jobs for China, not upstate New York." There is nothing in the spot that would explicitly support the notion that Gibson backs jobs for China, though it does tie Gibson supporting tax cuts for high earners and special interests to greater debt to China.

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Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.
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