Obama, Romney aides spar over outsourcing and off-shoring jobs

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom face off over Twitter messaging, the economy, and outsourcing.

Updated Monday 4:45 p.m. ET

(CBS News) After The Washington Post released a story that said Mitt Romney's Bain Capital had a monetary stake in companies that outsourced jobs overseas, Romney's senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom defended Bain's actions.

"The jobs that were cited by the Washington Post - and which the Obama administration is now attacking - were created to support exports overseas," he said. "When companies like Coca-Cola, for example, build a bottling plant in China, so they can sell more soft drinks to the Chinese, we should be applauding that, because that type of entrance into new markets is what makes our companies stronger, more profitable and more successful."

Fehrnstrom added: "No American jobs were shipped overseas in any of the Washington Post examples that were cited by the Obama campaign. In fact this was a shoddy piece of journalism. I hope that the Post will correct the record. If they're interested in protecting their reputation, then they will do so."

President Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said, "I think that it would be interesting to explain the difference between outsourcing and off-shoring to the people in Ohio, because I don't think they see a difference. Because it's not actually creating a job in Ohio, and in many ways it's taking jobs away from them. And are you really saying that in none of the dozens of Bain deals that Mitt Romney was involved in, not one American job got sent overseas?"

Fehrnstrom said there is a "very simple difference" between oursourcing and off-shoring: "Outsourcing is what the Obama campaign does when they hire an outside telemarketing vendor to provide telemarketing service. This is done by companies every day. They take functions and they allow vendors to do it instead of handling it in-house. Off-shoring is the shipment of American jobs overseas," he said.

Romney's adviser also said the United States should be "encouraging" companies overseas investments and expansions.

"This is just another assault on free enterprise by President Obama. It's one of the reasons why this economy is not moving at the pace it should be and it's why millions of Americans have been left behind," Fehrnstrom said.

Cutter charged that Romney's proposals propel the creation of overseas jobs and does nothing to create American jobs. "His corporate tax plan actually protects the loopholes that have been sending jobs overseas for decades, and actually creates new incentives for jobs overseas by not taxing any foreign income of U.S. companies. So that is not a prescription of how we can grow the American economy and create American jobs," she said.

Fehrnstrom countered by claiming President Obama has had three-and-a-half years to jump-start the economy but he hasn't been able to do so.

"You need time-lapse photography to detect any movement at all in this economy. And I think that's what people are going to be voting on. How they feel about how they're doing, how their neighbors are doing, how their companies are doing. And we think that bodes well for Mitt Romney because he has a bold plan to get this economy moving again," Fehrnstrom said, pointing to a 59-point plan the former governor released last year.

Watch the full interview here.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Ferhnstrom said the United States should be "encouraging" offshoring.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.