Joel D. Joseph, chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation, said the group awarded points if the candidates opposed NAFTA and other free-trade agreements, like those recently enacted concerning Panama, Colombia and South Korea. Points were also given to those who supported bailing out General Motors and Chrysler. In addition, the foundation evaluated how the candidates would respond to China's trade policies.
"None of the candidates are really very pro-American on trade. They talk like they are, but this survey judged the candidates by their actions as well," Joseph said in a statement. "For example, we based points on what cars the candidates have owned and if their campaigns purchased imported T-shirts and other products."
Out of a potential 100 points, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, led the pack with 75 points, but lost points for supporting new free-trade agreements and for being soft on trade with China.
Pro-free trade candidate Ron Paul came in second place with 60 points. The Republican Texas congressman, although a supporter of free-trade, has opposed trade agreements such as NAFTA because he said they are really managed trade, not free trade.
Republicans Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum tied with 50 points each -- a mediocre rating on trade, Joseph said. Santorum would have beat Romney had he purchased American-made T-shirts for his campaign, although he has noted that his sweater-vests are made in the U.S.A.
In last place is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich with 20 points. Gingrich favored NAFTA and other trade agreements, opposed bailing out the U.S. auto industry, but earned 20 points by driving American-made vehicles.
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