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Outsourcing puts Romney on the defensive

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The Washington Post ran a rather brutal story the other day on Mitt Romney's controversial private-sector background, highlighting Bain Capital's work as a "pioneer" in in "relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India." The Romney camp pushed back, stressing the distinction between "outsourcing" jobs and "offshoring" jobs, but that really didn't help.

While Team Romney is generally content to let controversies die from a lack of oxygen -- remember when everyone was looking for Romney's still elusive tax returns? -- this Post article was the kind of revelation that's likely to do real, lasting damage to the Republican campaign.

So, the campaign has decided to lean on the Post in a big way.

On Wednesday, six days after the story was published, Romney's campaign is seeking a full retraction from the PostPolitico's Dylan Byers reports. The campaign is meeting with Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli and other staffers, armed with "defenses for each firm mentioned in the Post's article -- including Chippac, Corporate Software, GT Bicycle, Modus Media, SMTC Corp., and Stream International -- on a case by case basis," Byers writes. The campaign will say the Post misinterpreted Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and did not take into account how foreign hires helped American businesses and exports, Byers notes.

It's easy to figure out why the Romney campaign doesn't want the story to just fade away like so many others, and instead be totally discredited. Polls released Wednesday suggest that the attacks on Romney's business career have been effective.

Unfortunately for the campaign, their efforts aren't working -- Byers reports this afternoon that the paper "will not retract" its piece. Washington Post spokesperson Kris Coratti said, "We are very confident in our reporting."

Team Romney desperately wanted to be able to say, every time the Obama camp mentioned outsourcing, "That's from a discredited article that's been retracted." As of today, however, that story stands -- and remains a major problem for the Republican campaign.