(CNN) – A report first published more than a week ago detailing Bain Capital's record of sending jobs overseas continued to roil on the campaign trail Monday, as President Barack Obama's team contested a fact-check that called into question their attacks on rival Mitt Romney, who headed Bain for more than a decade.
The original article, published in the Washington Post on June 22, said that Bain Capital, a firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and left in 1999, had invested in multiple companies that "specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India."
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The report sparked an onslaught of attacks from Democrats, who have been criticizing Romney for weeks on his role as a private equity executive. David Axelrod, the president's campaign senior adviser, knocked Romney as an "outsourcer in chief," and Obama himself told a crowd in Florida the country didn't need an "outsourcing pioneer in the Oval Office."
For their part, Romney's campaign pushed back hard on the Washington Post article, saying it failed to draw a distinction between "domestic outsourcing" and "offshoring."
Outsourcing, the campaign argued, is a common practice and can occur domestically without sending jobs overseas. Offshoring, on the other hand, involves shifting work out of house and overseas.
The distinction didn't stop Obama's campaign from releasing a series of campaign ads attacking Romney for his role at Bain, using the "outsourcer in chief" line and citing examples of companies acquired by Bain that send jobs overseas.
Those ads were the subject of scrutiny from FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan group affiliated with the Annenberg Public Policy Center. FactCheck said in a 4,000-word report the Obama ads carried some claims that were untrue, and other assertions that only had thin supporting evidence.
FactCheck responded to the Obama campaign's argument Monday, saying it was "weak and non-existent."
"The Obama complaint claims we erred in saying Mitt Romney gave up active management of Bain Capital in early 1999 to run the 2002 Winter Olympics, insisting we were then wrong in saying Romney was not responsible for shipping U.S. jobs overseas.
"In fact, if the Obama campaign were correct, Romney would be guilty of a federal felony by certifying on federal financial disclosure forms that he left active management of Bain Capital in February 1999.
"And after reviewing evidence cited by the Obama campaign, we reaffirm our conclusion that Romney left the helm of Bain Capital when he took leave of absence in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics–as he has said repeatedly–and never returned to active management. The Obama campaign's recent ads thus mislead when they point to investments made by Bain, as well as management decisions made by companies in which Bain invested, after that time."
FactCheck's report acknowledged that Bain was involved in "some companies that helped other companies outsource work and that some of that work went overseas," but questioned whether those companies could be linked to Romney.
FactCheck's report concluded: "We found no evidence to support the claim that Romney – while he was still running Bain Capital – shipped American jobs overseas."
They point out "two examples cited by the Obama campaign occurred after Romney left Bain."
That argument – that Romney left Bain before the outsourcing took place – was the subject of a six-page letter Monday, addressed to FactCheck's director and deputy director, from Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter.
Cutter wrote that FactCheck's assessment of the timing "is not a fact at all, not by any fair reading of the record, and yet it appears to be central to your position."
She cited an interview Romney gave in 1999, when he said he would still offer "input on investment and key personnel decisions" at Bain, and similar interviews with his wife and lawyer expressing similar outlooks for his involvement with the company.
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