Claim: A new advertisement endorsed by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney that is airing on KLAS-TV Channel 8 states: "Fewer Americans are working today than when President Obama took office. It doesn't have to be this way if Obama would stand up to China. China is stealing American ideas and technology. Everything from computers to fighter jets. Seven times Obama could have taken action. Seven times he said ‘no.' His policies cost us 2 million jobs."
Verdict: Partly true and partly misleading. In January 2009, the month President Barack Obama took office, nonfarm employment nationally stood at 133.56 million. As of August, the latest month for which data is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the preliminary estimate was that nonfarm employment was 133.3 million. That's a decline of roughly one-quarter million workers. In a report released in April on U.S. policy toward space technology exports the Defense Department wrote: "China's continuing efforts to acquire U.S. military and dual-use technologies are enabling China's science and technology base to diminish the U.S. technological edge in areas critical to the development of weapons and communications systems." The United States International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial federal agency that advises the president and Congress on trade issues, also reported in May 2011 that if the protection of intellectual property rights belonging to U.S. companies "improved substantially" in China, employment in this country could increase by the equivalent of 2.1 million full-time workers. It has also been alleged by proponents of tougher trade policy that China has manipulated its own currency to gain an unfair trade advantage over the U.S.
But the ad doesn't back up its "seven times" allegations with any sources and doesn't explain when, where or under what context Democrat Obama said ‘no.' The ad provides no evidence that Obama policies have cost the U.S. 2 million jobs. The trade commission report didn't blame the Obama administration for any infringement by China of American-owned intellectual property rights. Obama was mentioned only twice in passing in the 308-page report. Allegations that China has violated intellectual property rights belonging to U.S. companies were leveled long before Obama took office. In January 2003, when Republican President George W. Bush was in office, the Commerce Department issued "Protecting Your Intellectual Property Rights in China: A Practical Guide for U.S. Companies." As for the trade commission's findings that 2.1 million jobs could be created in the U.S., that came with this caveat: "However, it is unclear when China might implement the improvement in IPR (intellectual property rights) protection envisioned in the analysis, and equally unclear whether the United States will face as much excess labor supply then as it does today."