Manufacturing took center stage -- literally -- Wednesday at a Mitt Romney rally in Cleveland, as the GOP presidential candidate promised local manufacturers that he would cut business taxes, repeal Obamacare and crack down on China's alleged currency manipulation if he wins the election.

Flanked by local business leaders such as Timken Co. (IW 500/197) Chairman Tim Timken Jr., Romney moderated a raucous town-hall-style discussion about manufacturing that took place, appropriately, on the factory floor of American Spring Wire Co., a maker of valve and spring wire found in vehicles, agricultural equipment and appliances.

In his opening remarks, Romney noted that the company has been hurt by the loss of customers to overseas competition, and he seized the opportunity to reiterate his promise to get tough on China.  

"[China has] artificially held down the value of their currency," Romney said. "And by doing that, the prices of their products are artificially low. And when their prices are low and then they compete with our manufacturers, our guys go out of business and people lose jobs.

"And that's why one thing I will do from Day 1 is label China a currency manipulator. They must not steal jobs in an unfair way."