On Sunday I wrote about the furor that erupted when it was discovered the outfits that will be worn by U.S. Olympic athletes at the opening and closing ceremonies for the London Olympics were actually made in China, and I noted reaction to the revelation was bipartisan in nature.
Conspicuously without comment on the flap is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, perhaps with a very bad reason.
For the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who has repeatedly promised on the trail to “get tough” on China, opposing the manufacturing seemed a likely stance, except that while at the helm of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Romney outsourced the production of torchbearer uniforms to Burma.
For Romney, the 2002 Olympics anecdote represents another instance of outsourcing under his stewardship, as President Barack Obama’s reelection team continues to assail him for shipping jobs overseas while at private equity firm Bain Capital. It also exposes an embarrassing oversight in allowing the uniforms to be manufactured in Burma, which until just last year was controlled by a brutal military regime.
Keep in mind that more than 10,000 runners wore the uniforms in question while carrying the Olympic torch to the Winter Games, so the decision to outsource production of those uniforms to a country controlled by a brutal dictatorship is no small thing.