CHARLESTON, South Carolina—Republican front-runner Mitt Romney plans to use attacks on labor unions to stay on top in this deeply conservative, anti-union state.
Romney will appear here with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. John McCain to make the case for his candidacy in the state that has picked every eventual Republican nominee since 1980.
Romney’s campaign kicked off its intense local focus on labor with its latest ad in the state, which criticizes the National Labor Relations Board (and by extension, President Barack Obama) for trying to block the opening of a Boeing aircraft assembly plant here. Boeing had sought to move union jobs from Washington State to low-cost South Carolina. The company and the union settled the dispute before the Board could make a final ruling.
According to a campaign aide who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record, making a campaign issue of the NLRB allows Romney to conveniently contrast his economic plan — his signature campaign issue — with President Barack Obama’s record.
Conveniently it also keeps the focus off the social issues that his rivals are stronger on.
“This really was a gift to us from the White House,” the aide said.
Romney will also criticize Obama for making a controversial recess appointment of three people to the National Labor Relations Board — which is like apple pie for Republicans in this right to work state.