(CNN) - The White House on Thursday criticized a swipe that presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney took at President Barack Obama in a new television advertisement.
Aboard Air Force One Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, "Despite his tough talk now, Gov. Romney wasn't always for enforcing trade laws against China."
"In his book, Gov. Romney attacked the president for standing up for American workers and businesses by enforcing trade law against China, even calling it 'bad for the nation and our workers,'" Carney told reporters traveling with the Obama.
Throughout this presidential campaign, Romney has taken a tough line against China.
"On day one of my administration, I would designate China as a currency manipulator," he said at an October campaign event in Washington State. He went on to accuse the country of "cheating."
Such a designation would allow the U.S. to more directly confront China over actions that have cheapened their exports, undercut the prices of American goods and produce economic growth rates several times that of the U.S.
Carney said Thursday that the Obama administration has "consistently raise[d] with and presse[d] the Chinese on the issue of the valuation of their currency."
"The fact that Gov. Romney is criticizing the president from one side despite having occupied the other side of the issue I suppose is not very surprising," Carney continued.
Romney's criticism of the Obama administration has recently extended to their handling of a Chinese human rights activist, who escaped his house arrest, sought U.S. protection, left a U.S. embassy and then said he again wanted U.S. shelter.
Earlier this month, Romney called the situation "troubling."
"If these reports are true this is a dark day for freedom and it is a day of shame for the Obama administration," he said while campaigning in Virginia.
Romney has also said the US should borrow less from the Chinese, who have purchased significant amounts of American debt.
"I happen to think it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to borrow money from the Chinese to go give to another country for humanitarian aid. We ought to get the Chinese to take care of the people," Romney said at a CNN debate in Nevada last fall.