Mitt Romney -first place by a whisker – has taken a leaf out of Obama’s 2008 playbook with a promise to get tough on China’s trade policy. Day one of a Romney administration would threaten countervailing duties against Chinese imports if Beijing didn’t move quickly to float the yuan.
Social conservative Rick Santorum -second place thanks to strong support from evangelical Christians – focuses on social issues. He says that China should be challenged on religious liberty and the U.S. should be doing more to support human rights activists.
It might be libertarian idealist Ron Paul – third place in Iowa – who wins the most friends in Beijing. His promise to boost the dollar’s strength and reduce America’s foreign-policy entanglements could give China a freer hand on the exchange rate, and to flex its foreign-policy muscles in the Asia Pacific.
Moderate Jon Huntsman showed poorly in Iowa – where he didn’t campaign – but is expected to do better in New Hampshire on Jan. 10. As the former U.S. ambassador to China, he is the candidate with the most sophisticated views, arguing that the reality of Beijing’s own politics makes confrontation on the exchange rate unhelpful.
Michele Bachmann, the candidate who said China is the real daddy of the USA, has blinded US satellites with their lasers, that America should be more like China, and that US taxpayers are funding the Chinese military, has bowed out of the GOP race after finishing a disappointing 5%.