LEBANON, Ohio - Mitt Romney criticized President Obama's refusal to designate China "currency manipulator" during campaign visits today to Portsmouth, Ohio, and 100 miles away here in this southwest Ohio village where a string of Republicans have campaigned for president.
"He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation. He said [he wasn't] going to make any determination until after the election," Mr. Romney said. "On day one of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator."
Mr. Romney has made Chinese trade "cheating" a centerpiece of his campaign. He said by artificially holding down the value of its currency China makes the products of Chinese manufacturers artificially cheaper, which puts other manufacturers around the world, including Americans, at a disadvantage.
Mr. Romney, who was greeted by large crowds at five previous rallies in Ohio last week, spoke to several thousand supporters on an open lawn of Shawnee State University in the early afternoon. He then appeared at a rally in the cordoned-off downtown of Lebanon, at the Golden Lamb Inn and Restaurant, which is partially owned by Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who has been accompanying Mr. Romney at most of his Ohio campaign appearances and who coached Mr. Romney in the debate.
Mr. Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, made a tailgating stop at Bowling Green State University for its game with his alma mater, Miami University of Ohio. In the morning he was in Youngstown.
The campaign visits are set to continue next week. Mr. Ryan is to campaign Monday in Cincinnati, while First Lady Michelle Obama will speak in Delaware and Cleveland. President Obama will campaign Wednesday in Athens, Ohio. Former President Bill Clinton and rock star Bruce Springsteen will appear together Thursday in Parma, Ohio.
The Obama administration officials said Friday it would delay the release of a currency report due Oct. 15 that could have labeled China a country that purposely devalues its money to gain a competitive advantage in its trade practices.
"It's time for us to stand up to China for their cheating. It's gotta stop," Mr. Romney said.
The Obama campaign said President Obama has taken a tough line against China, citing unfair trade practice claims against Chinese tire manufacturers and against duties China has placed on American-made vehicles imported to China.
2008 presidential candidate John McCain and then running mate Sarah Palin made a stop at the Golden Lamb Inn and Restaurant, as did former President George W. Bush in 2004. The restaurant says a dozen presidents have eaten there.