Trade Controversy: Obama vs. Clinton on NAFTA

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The Associated Press has gotten hold of a memo widely distributed within the Canadian government that made it seem that Obama campaign economic adviser and University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee was walking back some of Barack Obama’s highly strident comments about NAFTA and suggesting that Obama’s views were just rhetoric and should not be considered ‘policy.’
Goolsbee denies that the memo reflects his comments accurately.
From the report:

Barack Obama’s senior economic policy adviser said Sunday that Canadian government officials wrote an inaccurate portrayal of his private discussion on the campaign’s trade policy in a memo obtained by The Associated Press.
The memo is the first documentation to emerge publicly out of the meeting between the adviser, Austan Goolsbee, and officials with the Canadian consulate in Chicago, but Goolsbee said it misinterprets what he told them. The memo was written by Joseph DeMora, who works for the consulate and attended the meeting.
Goolsbee disputed a section that read: “Noting anxiety among many U.S. domestic audiences about the U.S. economic outlook, Goolsbee candidly acknowledged the protectionist sentiment that has emerged, particularly in the Midwest, during the primary campaign. He cautioned that this messaging should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.”
“This thing about ‘it’s more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans,’ that’s this guy’s language,” Goolsbee said of DeMora. “He’s not quoting me.”
“I certainly did not use that phrase in any way,” Goolsbee said.

On January 23rd, I moderated a forum featuring economic advisors to the Clinton, Obama, McCain, and Edwards campaigns. Austan Goolsbee did participate and responded to a question below on trade.


At approximately 76’10” on the video below (which you should be able to fast forward or click ahead to), a question on trade is posed.
Clinton advisor Gary Gensler responds first, followed by Austan Goolsbee. This material may help broaden the understanding of the views of the candidates on trade policy in general.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

56 comments on “Trade Controversy: Obama vs. Clinton on NAFTA

  1. rich says:

    Josh Marshall at TPM is citing Canadian newspapers reporting that it was a Clinton advisor who’d said to take Clinton’s anti-NAFTA rhetoric “with a grain of salt”—not Obama’s guy.
    So–that must mean Hillary Clinton is naive, not ready for prime time, and undisciplined.
    The Canadian paper looks legit. TPM’s piece is below–& they had a second article up earlier this week. Make of it what you will.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/181749.php
    TPM piece begins>>
    Tangled Friggin’ Web (Marshall’s actual headline)
    Seems the NAFTAgate leak started with — surprise, surprise — the Chief of Staff to Canada’s conservative PM Stephen Harper. Only the first hint wasn’t about stuff the Canadians had heard from the Obama camp. It was about reassurances the Canadians got from the Clinton campaign. According to a reporter who heard the original conversation, Brodie said “someone from (Hillary) Clinton’s campaign is telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt. . . That someone called us and told us not to worry.”
    Only somehow this evolved into a story about the Obama campaign giving such reassurances.
    The Globe and Mail has the latest details.
    So was Hillary bashing Obama for what her own campaign had done? Did they both do it? Was it all a set up? I think the overarching story here is that friendly governments should not interfere in our elections.
    –Josh Marshall
    Somehow, the reporter who heard Clinton’s staffer instruct Canadians to take her NAFTA rhetoric “with a grain of salt,” put that question to Obama at the news conference, and apparently the assembled reporters applied it to his campaign–rather than Clinton’s.
    That’s pretty damning. Even if it’s not clear just who (Clinton’s campaign or the (supposedly anti-Hillary) media) is responsible.
    Goolsbee denied it. We now have the Canadian guy, and Canadian reporters who were present, confirming Clinton’s staffer uttered those words.
    It’s certainly possible that Obama would put this in perspective for Canadian officials–and understandable.
    Yet, somehow, the issue has dropped from the public debate now that Hillary Clinton has been named as speaking to the Canadians to directly contradict her campaign rhetoric. Color me unsurprised.

    Reply

  2. Larry says:

    Guys
    I have been listening for some time now to Hillary go on about, how she is the best person for the job of president. So, I did some work to find about the Clintons and how they have conducted their lives. As soon as I enter their names into the computer, I was surprise to see that the Clinton’s are not well liked! I don’t want to jump to any wrong assumptions about anyone but this is of great concern to me and other. Please read this information and tell me what you think! I only write this because of the name calling in the contest between Hillary and Obama. I thought this would be some information the members would like to read for themselves. I am not saying that they did anything improper but it needs to be addressed in some meaning for way. Keep up the work for the members!!!!!! Ps. I thank you will find the youtube video very interesting.
    Thank you,
    Bill & Hillary Clinton: Their Secret Life – #01 of 12 – From: TMWKK – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0-HkVcMOSw
    Contact: Robert@1984ArkansasMotherOfTheYear.com or Robert Morrow @ 512-306-1510 (Austin, TX)
    ________________________________________
    I urge my Democratic friends to vote for John Edwards, Barack Obama or Bill Richardson, and NOT Hillary. The bottom line: Hillary is irresponsible with power. Hillary uses a secret police, private detectives and criminal intimidation tactics to harass intimidate and terrify Bill’s sex victims and girlfriends. Hillary and Bill are criminals; they cheat on their income taxes, cheat on their campaign financing, and they use violence and criminal intimidation tactics to achieve political power. A good example would be the Clintons’ savage and near fatal beating of Gary Johnson (6-26-92) because he had videotapes of Bill often entering Gennifer Flowers’ condominium.
    Furthermore, Hillary, a misogynist “feminist,” has been covering for and protecting a red-faced, lip-biting rapist and serial sexual predator for 36 years. Hillary knew about and helped cover up Bill’s rape of Juanita Broaddrick in 1978. Hillary is often vulgar, rude and abusive with staff members, state troopers, and Secret Service agents as many former Clinton staff and former friends report. Hillary makes a sport of ridiculing and demeaning Bill, when she is not throwing things at him or physically attacking him. Then she goes on TV and says vote for him, he is such a great guy.
    Hillary and Bill are dangerous, deranged psychopaths who should have been locked up in prison a long time ago. I think an appropriate sentence for Hillary and Bill would be to be locked up in a jail cell 23 out of 24 hours a day – for at least 5 years – WITH EACH OTHER. Of course, the penalties for beating up people (Gary Johnson), raping (Juanita Broaddrick), assaulting women, criminal intimidation tactics (Kathleen Willey) and possibly murdering Jerry Parks (9-26-93) would be much stronger.
    The story of black woman Charlotte Perry: another woman abused by the Clintons
    Bill illegally gave no-skills Gennifer a state job
    in 1990 over qualified black woman candidate Charlotte Perry
    http://www.salon.com/news/1998/09/11newsa.html
    BY MURRAY WAAS
    WASHINGTON — Late on the same evening that President Clinton testified before Kenneth Starr’s grand jury from the Map Room of the White House that he had had an “inappropriate” relationship with Monica Lewinsky, he defiantly went on national television to ask the American people “to turn away from the spectacle of the past seven months.”
    The entire affair should now become a private matter between him, his family and God, he argued: “Even presidents have private lives … It’s time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life.”
    A longtime Arkansas state employee named Charlotte Perry might be excused for believing otherwise. An African-American woman with three young children at home, Perry is the type of person who comes to mind when, as he is wont to do, the president talks about those who work hard and play by the rules. It was such folks whom Clinton said he wanted to serve when he asked us to elect him as president in the first place.
    In February 1990, Charlotte Perry hoped that her hard work, integrity and many years of service to the state government were finally going to pay off. She applied for a better paying job as an administrative assistant at a state agency called the Arkansas Board of Review. The position paid slightly more than $17,500 a year.
    But Perry didn’t receive the promotion she clearly deserved. Instead, it went to another woman with less experience and fewer qualifications — Gennifer Flowers, whom everyone around Little Rock knew to be the governor’s girlfriend. An investigation of the matter by a state agency later determined that the hiring procedure that led to Flowers being hired over Perry was “improper” and the result of favoritism.
    Flowers, seeking work, had approached Clinton about finding her a position with the state. There were, after all, surely perks to be had for being the governor’s mistress, Flowers reasoned. Clinton turned over the dirty work of finding the appropriate position for Flowers to an assistant named Judy Gaddy. Gaddy tried hard to find something for Flowers, even landing her an interview with the Arkansas Historical Preservation Program as a multimedia specialist. But Flowers was found to be unqualified for that job.
    On Feb. 23, 1990, even more desperate for work than before, Flowers wrote Clinton: “Bill, I’ve tried to explain my situation to you and how badly I need a job … Unfortunately it looks like I have to pursue the lawsuit to hopefully get some money to live on, until I get employment.”
    The lawsuit Flowers was referring to had been filed by a former Arkansas state employee named Larry Nichols. He alleged that Clinton had had sexual relationships with five women, including Flowers. Nichols had sued the governor after Clinton had fired him for stealing state funds. When a local radio station named Flowers based on papers filed in the lawsuit, Flowers told Clinton she would have to sue the radio station for slander so that she would have some money to live on.
    In fact, Flowers was only bringing up Nichols’ charges as a means to try to intimidate Clinton to find her a job. No one in Little Rock believed much of anything Nichols had to say, because he was known as the local loony. The four other women he named in the lawsuit simply laughed off his charges. And except for the one radio station, no reputable news organization in the state of Arkansas gave credence to Nichols’ charges. Nevertheless, Flowers’ ploy to intimidate Clinton had the intended effect.
    In March 1990, the job that Gennifer Flowers and Charlotte Perry were to compete for became available. At first glance, things did not look good for Flowers. She ranked ninth out of 11 applicants.
    But then Flowers caught a break. On April 26, 1990, Don K. Barnes, the chairman of the Arkansas Board, abruptly changed the qualifications for the job. He did so at the direction of his boss, William Gaddy, the husband of Judy Gaddy, the governor’s assistant to whom Clinton had earlier assigned the task of finding a job for Flowers.
    The new requirements for the job now included experience with computers and public relations. As it happened, Flowers had listed those precise qualifications on her resume a month earlier when she applied for the Arkansas Board of Review job.
    In two telephone interviews last year, William Gaddy told me that he could not recall any role in changing the job requirements to help Flowers: “I just don’t know what to think about that … I’m not sure why my name has come up in this.” William Gaddy also denied to me that he had ever spoken with his own wife, Judy, about the potential job for Flowers: “She does her thing and I do mine,” he said. “We never talked with each other about Gennifer.”
    After failing to get the promotion, Perry filed a complaint with the state Grievance Review Committee, the Arkansas equivalent of a merit protections selection board, saying that she was unfairly denied the job awarded to Flowers.
    Barnes testified to the committee that he changed the job description at the direction of William Gaddy. He said that he had supported Flowers because she had told him about her experience with computers during a job interview.
    In her own sworn testimony, Flowers, however, could not recall any type of computer that she knew how to use. And asked how she had learned of the state job, Flowers swore: “It was advertised in the newspaper and I had heard about it through the personnel department.”
    Barnes, the state official who hired Flowers, told Newsday in 1992 that he believed Flowers had committed “perjury” by not disclosing the Gaddys’ assistance in finding her the state job.
    Newsday also discovered that Flowers had told a few lies on her job application. She had stated that she had been “director of public relations” for the Dallas-based Club Corporation of America, even though in an earlier application for a state job, she had said that she was only the “membership director” for that group. Flowers further represented on her resume that she had an associate degree from the University of Arkansas. But that college had no record of her ever attending. And Flowers had also lied about her experience working on computers.
    In early 1992, as disclosures about their affair were on the verge of going public, Flowers called Clinton and secretly recorded the conversations. Flowers told her former boyfriend she was concerned that someone might find out about his assistance in her obtaining the state job.
    “The only thing that concerns me, where I’m, where I’m concerned at this point, is the state job,” Flowers told Clinton.
    “Yeah, I never thought about that,” Clinton responded, in that earnest manner we are all so familiar with. “If they ever ask if you’ve talked to me about it, you can say no.”
    When Flowers told Clinton that she had lied about how she learned about the job, he responded: “Good for you!”
    Clinton’s deceptions did not end there. As Salon recently disclosed, during that telephone conversation between Clinton and Flowers, Hillary Rodham Clinton was standing only a few feet away from her husband.
    According to a version of the story that Hillary Clinton has told two close friends, the first lady-to-be was standing right next to her husband as he talked to Flowers on a phone extension in the kitchen of the Arkansas governor’s mansion. The first lady had told the friends that her presence was evidence that her husband could not have possibly been deceiving her when he claimed that he had no relationship with Flowers.
    It was vintage Clinton: He was simultaneously encouraging Flowers to conceal the relationship while saying nothing too incriminating in case she was taping the conversation, and he was putting on a show for his own wife as well.
    On Jan. 23, 1992, Flowers held a press conference to publicize a story in the Star tabloid, alleging that she had had a 12-year relationship with Clinton. Having been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the confession, she no longer had any use for her state job. She never even bothered to call work to tell her bosses that she wasn’t coming in anymore. They had to figure that out on their own when she simply stopped showing up.
    Apparently believing her husband’s explanations that Flowers’ charges were the result of Republican dirty tricks, Hillary Clinton personally directed a campaign to raise similar allegations against then President Bush. There had been rumors circulating around Washington for years that Bush had had an extramarital affair with an aide named Jennifer Fitzgerald. The only problem was that there was little evidence to support the charges, which were most likely false.
    According to three sources, the first lady personally, and through her surrogates, began to encourage a number of journalists to look into the allegations. Eventually, New Republic writer Sidney Blumenthal, now Clinton’s aggressive spin doctor, convinced a Spy magazine writer to include the Fitzgerald allegations in an article just prior to the 1992 presidential election, even though the piece contained no compelling evidence to support the rumors.
    Blumenthal then publicly questioned the ethics of Spy for publishing the story, even though he had put the magazine up to publishing it in the first place. Hillary Clinton and Blumenthal then spearheaded a further effort to have the sex allegations against Bush circulated in the mainstream press.
    “That was probably the genesis of the so-called scorched-earth strategy … You investigate our sex-lives, we investigate yours,” recalls one veteran of the 1992 Clinton-for-president campaign. (A spokesperson for the first lady declined to comment for this story.)
    New Yorker columnist Kurt Andersen, who was then editor of Spy, said he didn’t know about Blumenthal’s involvement, but offered: “Sidney’s first political crush was Gary Hart, whose career was ruined by a sex scandal … a tragic and compulsive motif in Sidney’s career.”
    The Flowers allegations were only a momentary distraction for Clinton, who would quickly move on to the presidency and recidivism.
    As for Charlotte Perry, the Arkansas state Grievance Review Committee ruled in her favor. It concluded that there had been favoritism and “irregular practices” in the hiring of Flowers and recommended that Perry be awarded Flowers’ job, and also that she be compensated for back pay.
    Still, justice was never done. The review committee’s findings were not binding. They were overruled by Barnes, the very same official who was found by the committee to have engaged in favoritism on Flowers’ behalf in the first place.
    Unlike Flowers and Lewinsky, Perry is the other woman we should care about. Flowers and Lewinsky were never the victims they have portrayed themselves to be. Flowers received a state job and a half million dollars for her story, using Clinton perhaps as much, or more than, he used her. As for Monica, now that she has confided to Starr’s grand jury her tales of White House trysts in all their glorious detail, fortune will surely follow fame.
    In contrast to all of them, Charlotte Perry is a true victim of the president’s sexual misconduct. As we consider her story, it illustrates why, despite the president’s desire to the contrary, his private affairs are sometimes public matters.
    SALON | Sept. 11, 1998
    Murray Waas has published numerous investigative reports in Salon.

    Reply

  3. ... says:

    i see bush was pushing to get his columbia – sa free trade agreement introduced to congress, as apparently the puppet gov’t in columbia needs all of bushs help it can get.. meanwhile columbia president is like the stand in bush in south america at present…((see news out of this area for the past few days.)) guess which country in south america gets the most usa military funding??? they tell you it is to deal with the narcotics biz, but biz is constantly up, as is military spending.. go figure… wonder if any big guys are paying for it?? rof! anyone else think the chimps friends profit off this stuff???

    Reply

  4. PISSEDOFFAMERICAN says:

    Wanna get totally pissed off?
    Well, how many of you have heard of the “Mexico Totalization Act”???
    Well, apparently, it exists, and this piece of shit George Bush has signed it. But hey gee golly, Congress hasn’t got a God damned clue what the entire “Act” entails, because this garbage Bush won’t tell them, and what they DO know has been pryed out of him by Congress resorting to the FOIA.
    How do you folks feel about illegal aliens gettin’ Social Security?

    Reply

  5. AJM says:

    Obama has been lying for a long time:
    1. Didn’t learn the language in Indonesia as well as he claims.
    2. About his own role in recruiting Donnie McGlurkin
    3. About the depth of his relationship with Tony Rezko == otherwise known as a certain individual
    4. Passing a bill to make sure that Nuclear leaks were promptly supported.
    Anybody care to add others? I’ve just stumbled across these but believe there are more.

    Reply

  6. Ajaz says:

    Cee
    I agree that Edwards has missed his chance of endorsing and so has Richardson. The latter seems to be leaning towards Obama though.
    Al Gore probably did not endorse so as not to appear to be taking sides. I have a feeling that if Obama can seal the deal tonight all the big guns of Democratic party will throw their support behind him.

    Reply

  7. Ajaz says:

    Harper denies meddling in US presidential primaries
    OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper denies the top official in his office leaked a document that has hurt Barack Obama’s campaign for the U.S. presidential nomination.
    He says the government is trying to find the person responsible for leaking a memo that has embarrassed Obama on the eve of the critical Ohio primary.
    But Harper denies U.S. reports that his chief of staff Ian Brodie was the person who transmitted details of a private meeting between Obama’s economic adviser and a Canadian diplomat.
    He’s issued the denial on the day of the Ohio primary, where the Democratic candidate’s poll numbers have sputtered amid suggestions he’s engaging in double-speak on NAFTA.
    The New Democrats raised the issue in the House of Commons again, a day after an exchange between NDP Leader Jack Layton and Harper was posted prominently on Obama’s website and received tens of thousands of viewers.
    Someone told Canadian and American news outlets that Obama advisers had tipped off Canadian diplomats that their promise to reopen NAFTA was just empty talk aimed at winning votes in Ohio.
    After Obama and the Canadian government denied the allegation, someone leaked a diplomatic memo describing such a conversation between an Obama aide and a Canadian official.
    Hillary Clinton – Obama’s current rival – calls the affair ‘NAFTAgate’ and is hoping to use doubts about her opponent’s sincerity to win the crucial primary.
    Republicans would certainly use the affair against Obama in a presidential election to win votes later this year in Ohio, a bellweather state where the free-trade deal is unpopular.
    The Liberals say it’s clear who the Tories are trying to help.
    “They will use the instruments of government, whatever they can glean from the public service, to do their dirty work,” Liberal foreign-affairs critic Bob Rae wrote in a blog.
    “The answer is they will do what is necessary to help Republicans. They’re a nasty, unprincipled bunch, who are incompetent to boot.”
    While helping its Republican buddies, Rae said, the Tory government is hurting Canadian interests.
    Rae said people around the world follow U.S. politics, and people might now think twice before confiding in Canadian diplomats, knowing their conversation could be leaked for partisan gain.
    He also wondered what kind of relationship the Tories could now have with an Obama government, if he’s elected president.
    While it’s not the first time Canadian politicians have waded into a U.S. election, there is no example in recent memory where the impact has been as great as in Ohio.
    In 2000, Canada’s ambassador Raymond Chretien was pilloried at home for noting that Al Gore knew Canada better than George W. Bush: “We know Vice-President Gore. He knows us. He’s a friend of Canada,” he said in remarks that led to allegations of unseemly favouritism.
    That remark did not have any discernible impact in the U.S. comparable to the current kerfuffle over Obama’s NAFTA stand.
    Obama and Clinton have both said they want to reopen the free-trade deal to ensure better environmental and labour standards.
    It’s a popular stand in Ohio, but Obama’s sincerity is being called into question after a memo last month from the Canadian consulate in Chicago was leaked to U.S. media.
    The memo of the meeting with Obama’s economic adviser Austan Goolsbee includes a long, three-page, single-spaced section on NAFTA written by consular employee Joseph DeMora.
    It says Goolsbee privately told Canadian Consul General Georges Rioux that Obama’s attack on free trade is “more reflective of political manoeuvring than policy.”
    “Goolsbee candidly acknowledged the protectionist sentiment that has emerged, particularly in the Midwest, during the primary campaign,” it said.
    “He cautioned that this messaging should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.”
    Goolsbee disputed the characterization, saying those weren’t his words.
    “That’s this guy’s language,” Goolsbee said. “He’s not quoting me. I certainly did not use that phrase in any way.”

    Reply

  8. Tahoe Editor says:

    so much for “Hope”®
    point is, they’re all pols — only one has a much thinner resume
    Q: “Why have you ruled that out, running nationally?”
    A: “You know, I am a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now, there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I’m not one of those people.”
    — Barack Obama, Nov. 8, 2004

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    According to TPM:
    “The Clinton campaign is currently holding a Rezko conference call. We’ll let you know what gets said.”
    Rezko being the shady RE guy Obama had ties to. Evidently Hillary is really doing a scorched earth thing on Obama.
    So let’s talk dirt on Clinton. Think about Marc Rich, No 1 on the FBI most wanted list for tax evasion and his other schemes, you know the Rich guy that Bubba pardoned. Or more recently how about the lovely long time family friends of Bill and Hill whose son Chelsa is dating. A young Goldman Sachs banker named Marc Mezvinsky. His father is former Iowa congressman Edward Mezvinsky.
    In 2002, Ed Mezvinsky pleaded guilty to swindling investors out of $10 million and is currently in prison, with an expected release date later this year. Chelsea’s boyfriend is doing better, reportedly buying a $3.8 million apartment not far from hers, near Gramercy Park.
    It seems a lot of politicans have more criminal friends than non criminal , but Bill and Hill and McWar seem to have a lot more criminal assocations than Obama……
    I was hoping that the residents of Orwellington, DC had come to their senses after the past 7 years of pushing the US to the brink…but I see they haven’t any senses to come to. Therefore I say we should scorch their earth. They want dirt, let’s bury all of Washington under their own dirt.

    Reply

  10. Cee says:

    Ajaz,
    Too late for Edwards to endorse anyone. Same with Richardson.
    More on the Clinton kitchen sink strategy
    While McCain is ingratiating himself with his right-wing Canadian friends, who returned the favor by accusing Obama advisor Austan Goolsbee of making a side deal with them over Nafta, Hillary Clinton is declaring that like her, “Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.”
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/03/04/at_openleft_chris_bowers_notes/

    Reply

  11. Ajaz Haque says:

    Where is Senator Edwards by the way?
    Shouldn’t he endorse one of these two candidates before he becomes irrelevant or is he waiting for a better opportunity?

    Reply

  12. Mr.Murder says:

    Gary Gensler
    “Energy policy is critical not only for the economy, but also for energy security. Right now we are running close to 900 billion trade deficits a year. How can we expect to bring that down when if we don’t get energy security and have more dependence on natural resources here, and that means more green jobs and promoting alternatives to uses of oil.”
    Great point to make, until he mentions dependence on resources here. It’s like “getting off foreign oil” which is industry parlance for import caps, to keep the price higher than it should be. These cause us to shun engagement and advance isolation of developing oil producers(Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and Iraq). It all seems to profit certain OPEC alliances we’ve maintained since the days of Lend Lease.
    So that’s a double edged sword.
    “[Hillary Clinton’s] program of about 110 billion dollars… [is] around the issues of housing, energy and jobs, to help promote and be specific to those three areas.”
    Nice targeting. Three major concerns, they should be even more specific. Hillary should have emphasized their record on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as an effective back channel way of alleviating upward pricing pressures during the boom years.
    There’s other examples to undergo, but the ability to remind people how we can invite greater participation is the biggest economic tool at our disposal. Strange that free market types shun that detail repeatedly. It’s almost like they want and expect higher nominative fuel prices.
    Disclaimer: I’m an Edwards supporter who voted for Sen.Clinton after he withdrew the race. He was atop our ballot here.

    Reply

  13. Mr.Murder says:

    Kevin Hassett
    “Why is it that the stimulus plans can be caricatured as borrowing from the Chinese that we can drop out of helicopters? How is that going to fix the long run problems of our nation? Well I would argue that it isn’t the right thing to do. And that’s what Senator McCain firmly believes.”
    Because dumping off a palette full of money in Baghdad isn’t doing the same thing. He didn’t say how we’d raise revenue(taxes) either.
    “[John McCain’s] view on stimulus is tied into his view that we have to start taking steps in the direction of fixing our long run problems. We should try to restore the competitiveness of U.S. corporations.”
    No wonder he’s purposefully obtuse. His idea of fixing what business and Bush hath wrought is to give more money away to business.

    Reply

  14. Mr.Murder says:

    Edwards’ man made some pretty solid remarks and added emphasis on key elements that hints deeper understanding of market motivations.
    Leo Hindery
    “We have a circumstance now where we have a massive credit crisis. It is so unfair to put this on the backs or on the names of women and men of lesser means and call it a subprime crisis. We have a pervasive nation wide, increasingly global credit crisis.”
    He sees the big picture, it’s bigger than one country. outsourced job totals , record productivity, stretched across transformative scale economies challenged by energy and currency demands.
    “It’s not seventy five percent of Americans who have found themselves living in stagnant conditions economically. The number is closer ninety percent. The wealth in this country has accredited to the top ten to the top two percent in unprecedented fashion.”
    He’s right again. No room for optimism when the basis of purchase power is compressed radically.
    “This economy needs a kick in the pants, and it needs it right now. It needs in a way that will excite the consumer crisis of confidence and of credit that exists in this country today.”
    Confidence is addressed twice. This is a traditional market term, less rooted in fear tactics, more grounded in shared value symbols. This is evidence of an understanding that purchase power is rooted in equity and access to capital. It’s nothing the vested interest want to hear. They’re buying back items cheaper on the dollar, despite the accompanied depreciation, but this too is a downward spiral and will soon crunch the numbers as they implode.
    No wonder they ran his people out. The emphasis on acquisition is all that fuels those atop the pyramid. It’s beyond making dollars and cents, or even dollars and sense, or Euros and sense. If it were about those things Warren Buffet would still be comfortable in his recent assertions of where we’re headed.
    You know the Dust Bowl days had an awfully warm trend of weather approaching, bordering on scale climate change. It’s sad to see the manufacturing base eroded to a point such an item could trigger again right across a transitional economic phase.
    You’d have to be dumb enough to not find oil in Texas, to fall into such a fiscal trap again….

    Reply

  15. Mr.Murder says:

    Steve, your economic panel had some interesting ideas, but all of them anchor on varied venture capital and multinational talking points.
    ‘Austan Goolsbee
    “If we make the investments we need to in our educational system, in energy policy, in technology… we can maintain our place as the richest most productive country in the world.” ‘
    We’re a debtor nation now, and production measure of raw good pales in comparison to finished ones.
    People trying to pitch on those items immediately raise my suspicion of intent. Certainly enough the first sentence is exactly that point, institutions or learning, research, and energy are “open to investment” instead of being solidified as pillars independently of outside ownership.
    That’s code for privatizing schools and learning, and subsidizing energy while surrendering public utility.
    He continues:
    “[The subprime crisis] is rooted in the problem of middle class economic anxiety and the lack of savings.”
    Rooted in anxiety? I thought you said playing the fear card was a no-no, Steve. Clearly the idea is to do so anyways, and ‘anxiety’ causes dollars to not cover the costs of living! Let’s all hold one another’s wallets and think good thoughts, nope,
    All of which regurgitates the republican solution to everything:
    “To address these issues, in the short run we need middle class tax relief.”
    If reducing taxes promotes sustained growth, eliminate them entirely so the growth will be maximized. Only it doesn’t work that way, and selling snake oil is no cure for being poisoned by wage inequity.

    Reply

  16. Carroll says:

    Actually Hagel is the man who should be running for president..but maybe one of the reasons he didn’t is because is this:
    Iraq comes home: the war of ideas, by Philip Weiss
    March 03, 2008
    Senator Hagel: ‘The Jewish Lobby Intimidates a Lot of People Up Here’
    Aaron David Miller was a negotiator for Bill Clinton at Camp David. Now he’s coming out with a book on the peace process called The Much Too Promised Land. The website suggests that the book will contain an open discussion of the “pro-Israeli lobby and those who are lobbied.”
    And on the website is an excerpt of an interview with Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, among others.
    Says Hagel: “The political reality is that… the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”
    Hagel then related a meeting he had in New York with a group of supporters of Israel who are pushing the U.S. to attack Iran. When Hagel said it hadn’t worked out that well in Iraq, a couple of members of the group said he wasn’t supportive enough of Israel.
    Hagel spoke firmly: “Let me clear something up here if there’s any doubt in your mind. I’m a U.S. Senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a U.S. Senator. I support Israel… But my first interest is, I take an oath to the constitution of the United States. Not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.” Gee.
    More to come from Miller’s website. Will anyone do journalism about this?
    Oh, and let’s be clear about something. Talk of the lobby is breaking out all over now, praise Allah. But Aaron Miller and Random House have the running room to publish frank descriptions of “the Jewish lobby”–and to bring up the the issue of dual loyalty–for one g-dd-mn reason. Because Steve Walt and John Mearsheimer exhibited incredible intellectual and professional courage and published their paper and book on the Israel lobby. They have been smeared again and again in the last two years. Kill the messenger…”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Let’s look at Hagel’s statement again:
    “”Let me clear something up here if there’s any doubt in your mind. I’m a U.S. Senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a U.S. Senator. I support Israel… But my first interest is, I take an oath to the constitution of the United States. Not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.”
    Those were the days..when our representives actually were Americans and loyal to this country.
    The domestic issues politicans differ over are issues we can squabble over among oursleves, but when our congress has no fidelity to the country they hold elected office in and most of them in office now don’t, and pledge alleigence to a foreign country, then our country is doomed…and all other issues become moot.
    But those days will come again if we have to..BWTTGASO. And we may have to.

    Reply

  17. Tahoe Editor says:

    I’m sorry, Cee. I thought this was an open forum for all viewpoints. My bad!

    Reply

  18. Cee says:

    Tahoe,
    Save it. Your candidate is done. If not tomorrow, in the general.
    Carroll,
    Thanks for the correction.
    I couldn’t remember exactly what she said and I didn’t want to misquote about her.
    You ask interesting questions. I agree with you as well.
    That was one of the first reasons I decided that I couldn’t support her.
    I was just reading about the situation in Ecuador. This is just wrong but I’ll bet that Hill supports it.
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/03/02/chavez.colombia/index.html

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    She will be no better than the one we’re getting ready to get rid of.
    Have you forgotten that she actually fell for that story about why Syria was bombed by Israel?
    She hasn’t shown any better judgement than when she gave Bush the authorization to wage war on defenseless Iraq.
    A Strike in the Dark
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/02/11/080211fa_fact_hersh/?printable=true
    Posted by Cee at March 3, 2008 10:13 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    Actually she outright lied about the Syria deal.
    She said at the first debate..and I quote….”I have seen the evidence that Syria had nuclear material at that installation”. My mouth dropped when she said that.
    Now how would Hillary have seen that “evidence”?
    When no one else did….when the WH said they were showing it to no one and only three or so people had access to the so called photos? When everyone in the nuclear community was trying to get ahold of the so called evidence and neither the US nor Israel would produce or share it.
    Are we to believe Cheney and Abrams shared them with Hillary..or did the Israelis fax her a copy or did AIPAC deliver it by messenger?
    The minute she said that I knew she was lying. That did it for me. She’s a liar. I use to think she was smart but she tells such ridiculous lies like this one I am begining to think her intelligence is over estimated.

    Reply

  20. TahoeEditor says:

    Stanley Fish | Why McCain Would Vote For Obama
    http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/why-mccain-would-vote-for-obama/index.html
    Lanny Davis | Recent Polling Data Shows Serious Concerns About Senator Obama’s “Electability” Over Senator McCain vs. Senator Clinton’s
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lanny-davis/recent-polling-data-shows_b_89093.html
    David Ignatius | Obama: A Thin Record For a Bridge Builder
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/29/AR2008022902784.html

    Reply

  21. Cee says:

    Ajaz,
    They don’t care about what is true. They want Clinton as the nominee. Truth be damned.
    To whomever:
    Don’t you dare call me dishonest. She said it because she doesn’t care if Chavez was freely elected because he doesn’t bow to the US.
    Hillary Clinton is a hawk. Warm and fuzzy you doesn’t want to acknowledge it or doesn’t know any better.
    http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4811
    She will be no better than the one we’re getting ready to get rid of.
    Have you forgotten that she actually fell for that story about why Syria was bombed by Israel?
    She hasn’t shown any better judgement than when she gave Bush the authorization to wage war on defenseless Iraq.
    A Strike in the Dark
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/02/11/080211fa_fact_hersh/?printable=true

    Reply

  22. Tahoe Editor says:

    Stanley Fish | Why McCain Would Vote For Obama
    http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/why-mccain-would-vote-for-obama/index.html
    Lanny Davis | Recent Polling Data Shows Serious Concerns About Senator Obama’s “Electability” Over Senator McCain vs. Senator Clinton’s
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lanny-davis/recent-polling-data-shows_b_89093.html
    David Ignatius | Obama: A Thin Record For a Bridge Builder
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/29/AR2008022902784.html

    Reply

  23. ... says:

    the devil is indeed in the details… speaking generally and making a general statement, but then having it cut and paste as above is dishonest. i am sure she is well aware venezuala is a freely elected gov’t…suggesting she isn’t is really naive.. but i guess that is all the warm and fuzzy obama fans have to clutch at…

    Reply

  24. Tahoe Editor says:

    Stanley Fish | Why McCain Would Vote For Obama
    http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/why-mccain-would-vote-for-obama/index.html
    Lanny Davis | Recent Polling Data Shows Serious Concerns About Senator Obama’s “Electability” Over Senator McCain vs. Senator Clinton’s
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lanny-davis/recent-polling-data-shows_b_89093.html
    David Ignatius | Obama: A Thin Record For a Bridge Builder
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/29/AR2008022902784.html

    Reply

  25. Tahoe Editor says:

    Stanley Fish | Why McCain Would Vote For Obama
    http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/why-mccain-would-vote-for-obama/index.html
    Lanny Davis | Recent Polling Data Shows Serious Concerns About Senator Obama’s “Electability” Over Senator McCain vs. Senator Clinton’s
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lanny-davis/recent-polling-data-shows_b_89093.html
    David Ignatius | Obama: A Thin Record For a Bridge Builder
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/29/AR2008022902784.html

    Reply

  26. Ajaz Haque says:

    Hurray Cee
    Didn’t anyone read my comment earlier that Canadian Ambassador denied anyone talking to Obama campaign. I guess Republicans and Hillary supporters are clutching at straws.

    Reply

  27. Cee says:

    Nobcentral,
    Is there another war that Hillary won’t support?
    Mark Penn might try out this new sound bite for Hillary Clinton: “Ready to lie from Day 1.”
    A, as noted in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal: this week she claimed that Venezuela is a dictatorship.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/hillary-ready-to-lie-fr_b_88839.html

    Reply

  28. Cee says:

    Tahoe,
    Since we’re quoting partisan republicans, Limbaugh wants Clinton to hold on too and is encouraging Republicans to support her in Texas.

    Reply

  29. Tahoe Editor says:

    Joe Scarborough:
    This is exactly why Hillary Clinton should hold on as long as she can during this election. I think Hillary Clinton wins Ohio, barely loses Texas; I think she needs to hold on, because the longer this campaign goes on, the more Barack Obama is going to look like, well, what he is: a real politician. If you have him coming out strongly against NAFTA when there may have been some conflict with what he said earlier, and then you have his chief economic adviser whispering to the Canadians, “Don’t worry, he may be saying this in Ohio, but he doesn’t mean it, we’re not gonna turn back on NAFTA” — which everybody knows that’s the case anyway, then that looks bad for him. He looks more like a politician. You can say the same thing about how he’s going to finance his campaign. So again, the longer Hillary can stay in this race, the more opportunities she has to paint him as a run-of-the-mill politician, somebody that sort of hedges just like every other politician.
    When you consider how much Barack Obama is outspending Hillary Clinton now, 4 to 1, if Hillary Clinton wins Ohio and Texas, this race is reset.

    Reply

  30. Mr.Murder says:

    It’s not the contact, it’s the lying.
    Thought nobody from the campaign said anything?

    Reply

  31. Ajaz Haque says:

    Steve
    I bet you are enjoying the dialogue from the sidelines.
    Apothekan
    Thank you you for your comments. Hope you read my blog.

    Reply

  32. RonK, Seattle says:

    It’s definitely not about policy nuance — but I think I have decoded most of Obama08’s cumulative denial.
    “I was not authorized by the campaign, the meeting was ‘banal and trivial’, those aren’t direct quotes, how could they possible think I meant NAFTA, it was only 3 minutes out of 40, the meeting flatly did not occur exactly when and where somebody first said it did, it’s not what it looks like (darling), everybody knows where we stand anyway, and besides … I was wearing a different hat!”

    Reply

  33. ... says:

    Obama and Rezko: Questions Remain on the tpm site today… i suppose no one is supposed to raise these kinds of questions? it is just a cheap shot from the hillary crowd right? i think the obama cheerleaders need to get real.. obama may be a great man and he may be the next president of the usa, but letting others do some research on him to try to get to know him better seems narrow minded… actually it is similar to the same crowd that are saying hillary has to back out if she doesn’t win texas or ohio.. seems like the obama crowd would like to rub hillarys nose in the dirt, but apparently it is only hillary that uses these types of tactics.. i don’t think the obama crowd is being all the honest.

    Reply

  34. ... says:

    as a canuck i gotta say i am not impressed with the obama crowd… they regularly like to trash hillary, but are indigent when any suggestion of less then honourable motives are reflected in obamas actions… as an outsider, i don’t have an attachment to who wins this in the same way americans do.. i do find the obama crowd a good group of cheerleaders and slaggers though… it seems like the obama crowd are quite content to dish it out regularly on hillary, but can’t stomach it in reverse.. seems hypocritical to me.. looking forward to some cheerleaders response..

    Reply

  35. Mr.Murder says:

    lead*
    -note to self, use spellcheck

    Reply

  36. Mr.Murder says:

    Well then, if Canada can impact American elections by relaying details of Consulate contacts, perhaps Obama should be smart enough not to have a senior economist for his team make such gestures?
    Maybe inexperience would elad to such mistakes.

    Reply

  37. Bill R. says:

    Well, what is the story here, about NAFTA policy or about the Canadian govt.’s leaking a memo to the press designed to affect the outcome of a presidential primary?

    Reply

  38. Mr.Murder says:

    Larry Johnson added:
    “… Goolsbee’s conversation with the Counsel General (CONGEN in State Department speak) is a senior Canadian Embassy official. A Consulate is a place where folks go for a visa or to work on immigration problems. The Consulate is subordinate to the Embassy in Washington. Best to think of it as a branch of the Embassy. Clearly the CTV report confused Embassy with Consulate. Bottomline is the same–a senior Obama adviser told a representative of the Government of Canada (in this case, the CONGEN) to ignore Obama’s rhetoric.”
    http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/03/03/obama-nailed-on-nafta-gate/
    Yet the initial disclaimer from camp Obama was that they never called the embassy. Such a forthright example of being obtuse! We didn’t call the embassy, just someone that is subordinate to them, only we didn’t say the exact words, but we did in spirit agree with the rhetoric.
    This has been another daily report of ‘What Obama really meant when he said that’ on the spin cycle network. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming of anti Clinton misogyny.
    This was not a case of latching onto a straw. It may be a straw man, one Obama erected in his own efforts to soothe venture globalists their concerns of market access to America while ginning up a nationalist revival in the same breath. Latching onto a straw man is wrong, then why assure your political neighbors otherwise? He’s confirmed that is his vehicle through this contact of outsiders, it hearkens back to intent and motivations not being so clear as what his campaign proclaims to be.

    Reply

  39. anatol says:

    Contrary to what Obama’s amen corner is claiming, this episode is not about merits of NAFTA for Canada or US, nor about the Canadian PM. Its hugely important because it offers a vivid and documented proof of the fact that Obama is a
    cynical, ruthless and effective politician, skilled at organizing and channeling popular support and winning elections – but not much else.
    Look, it’s been Obama, who first brought up NAFTA in order to beat Clinton with this issue – and we have documented proof now that this has been just another lie to get more votes, and that the guy has no policy solutions to back up his talk.
    Same with Iraq – he gave a good speech in 2002, when it’s served his political interest. Then he backpedaled from his stance in 2004, and upon his election he did nothing to help win the war we can win – the one in Afghanistan. As the chair of the Senate committee in charge of Nato he has direct oversight power to help with Afghanistan policy –
    but he dropped the ball. But boy has he got mileage from his 2002 speech! (Of course Clinton’s vote hasn’t been a vote for immediate
    war, but a vote to back up the demand for inspections with credible force, like Ambassador Wilson eloquently stated in his recent article,
    but who cares – she’s a war-monger anyway).
    Same with Iran – IMHO Clinton correctly voted to designate Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization because, among many
    other things, they’ve been repeatedly caught supplying weapons and fighters to Hisballah in Lebanon. Clinton sponsored a bill with Sen. Webb which explicitly states that nothing in the resolution authorizes Bush to go to war with Iran without an explicit authorization from Congress. Has Obama joined in cosponsoring that bill? I haven’t heard about that.
    So, support Obama at your (our!) peril – if he ekes out the nomination, he stands very little chance of beating McCain – Republicans aren’t going to play dead. And if he does get into the
    White House – do we know what’s he going to do there? (Sure, we all should read the papers on his website and feel reassured).

    Reply

  40. Ajaz says:

    Cee
    I guess in the heat of the campaign and especially in desperation, candidates will even latch on to straws. For Hillary this is a do or die moment, so she will do anything and everything to revive her campaign.

    Reply

  41. Mr.Murder says:

    “Obviously the Obama advisors don’t understand a thing about foreign relations. They assume that any comment with a member of a diplomatic representative of a foreign government is somehow not noteworthy. To reiterate, a consulate (i.e., a place that issues visas and handles immigration issues for a government, in this case Canada) is a part of the Canadian Embassy. The Consul General is not the Ambassador. However, he or she would be considered number three in the Embassy pecking order (he or she is subordinate to the Ambassador and the Deputy Chief of Mission).
    In meetings like the one with Obama’s economic advisor, Goolsbee, the ConGen (shorthand for Consul General) would be accompanied by at least one note taker. The junior diplomat who wrote up the results of the meeting had to submit his report to the ConGen, who signed off on the report or cable (A cable is diplomatic speak for an official message sent back to the home government).
    And why did the Canadians meet with Goolsbee? Because of his relationship with Obama. The Canadians, doing what good diplomats do, wanted to get an idea of what Obama’s stance on Nafta is because they are recognizing he could be President. This is what diplomats do.”
    So, Obama has a spkesman contact Canada through the extension office that helps get temporary workers here. No conflict with protecting American jobs there, nosiree.

    Reply

  42. leo says:

    Recycled dirty and empty trash attacks by the Clinton “kitchen sink” strategy do not the truth make.
    Why don’t we debate whether Obama is a muslim again, Hillary would certainly like us to.

    Reply

  43. Ajaz says:

    Some of the pro Clinton commentators above seem to forget that Hillary is also saying that she will renegotiate or scrap Nafta. Don’t forget the 35 years experience she claims includes the launching of Nafta under Clinton Presidency. This is a contracdiction in itself.
    It may also be true that both candidates are trying to appease Ohio voters who are suffering under job losses and once elected will not really do anything about Nafta.
    The real job losses have not been caused by Canada or Mexico, but by cheaper manufaturing in China and outsourcing to India.
    What the US needs is a sea change in its manufacturing methods. US has the superior technology and should be concentrating on producing high end and high tech goods as it cannot be competitive in low end products. This involves raising education standards, students going for higher degrees in technical fields and that costs money.
    Obama’s plan to assist with college fees could be the answer.

    Reply

  44. Nobcentral says:

    This is totally off topic but tangentially important. Obama (who I support) has suggested that he would authorize the US military to pursue the Taliban into Pakistani territory (without permission) were the Pakistanis unable or unwilling to act. It was a fairly controversial claim, but one he justified and stuck to (right or wrong).
    Saturday, President Uribe authorized the Colombian military to strike at the FARC in Ecuadorian territory. They killed the #2 leader in the FARC but sparked an international incident that is spiralling with both Hugo Chavez and President Correa making a series of absurd and dangerous threats toward Colombia.
    Given this parallel, it would be great to hear what Obama and Hillary think about unauthorized incursions into soveriegn territory in the pursuit of terrorists. Maybe Steve could get this question asked and answered.

    Reply

  45. Cee says:

    Ajaz,
    I suspected this when I read the initial story.
    Too bad Clinton supporters weren’t ethical and smarter.
    They ran with this nonsense to try to win at all costs against Obama.

    Reply

  46. ... says:

    ajaz – i am a canuck too and i agree with your take on harper… he is our bootlicker prime minister and he especially likes to lick bushs boots…pathetic character really..

    Reply

  47. Jim says:

    Mrs James Carville just happens to be the Clinton campaign’s I mean the Republicans’ point-spinner on this? Lovely.
    A little glimpse into how Hillary Clinton will lose to John McCain, should we be unfortunate enough to be stuck with her as the nominee.

    Reply

  48. LInda says:

    All the above is a lot of primary campaign promises and attacks by both candidates against each other. No matter who is the nominee, Clinton or Obama, they aren’t going to be able to keep their campaign promises about NAFTA or health care reform to nearly the extent that the progressive left base wants.

    Reply

  49. kb says:

    A might wind blows and it the wind of truth about BO. He is as corrupt as any other politician and doesn’t have strong enough solutions to lead this country out of a difficult time we live in.
    Hillary is the only candidate that can restore the economy, deal with the wars around the world and take the best care of the people of the U.S. with strong policies while working across the aisle to get things done!
    Hillary ’08

    Reply

  50. annasia says:

    It’s simple. The Canadian leadership wants NAFTA in place, and wants Clinton or McCain to win, so they slam Obama.
    Watch this VIDEO: NAFTA, McCain, Clinton and Change:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH6shHjrhAg

    Reply

  51. kate zava says:

    This proves what I have been thinking all along that Obama says what he thinks poeple want to hear based on where he is campaigning. He told the Canadians what they wanted to hear as well. He told them nafta will go on as usual what I am saying is just campaign rederick to get the necessary vote I need. That is basically what this memo says and I am sure so many other things he is claims he will do are just campaign rederick as well.

    Reply

  52. Ajaz says:

    This is from Toronto’s Globe and Mail:
    Harper meddling in U.S. primaries, Democrats say
    BRIAN LAGHI
    From Monday’s Globe and Mail
    March 2, 2008 at 10:28 PM EST
    OTTAWA — Two years after U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins was accused of meddling in Canada’s federal election, the same is being said of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives with respect to the current U.S. contest.
    Democrats appearing on a nationwide U.S. political program accused the Harper government yesterday of interfering in the primary campaigns to help the Republican Party candidate in the coming campaign.
    “You’ve got a right-wing government in Canada that is trying to help the Republicans and is out there actively interfering in this campaign,” Bob Shrum told the popular program, Meet the Press. Mr. Shrum is a top-level Democrat adviser who has had key roles in the presidential campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry.
    At issue are reports that members of Mr. Harper’s prime ministerial office leaked word last week that a member of Barack Obama’s campaign told a Canadian diplomat that Mr. Obama was not serious when he raised the possibility of renegotiating the free-trade agreement.
    Obama aide says Canadian memo misinterprets comments. That statement has become fodder for Mr. Obama’s opponents, who have accused the Illinois senator of saying one thing to win votes in hard-pressed states such as Ohio, and another to keep the peace with the Canadian government.
    ABC News says the leaker was Mr. Harper’s chief of staff, Ian Brodie. Mr. Brodie reportedly learned of the conversation –which took place between Mr. Obama’s economic adviser and a Canadian diplomat in Chicago – from Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States.
    One of the talk show’s Republican participants, Mary Matalin, used the apparent flip-flop to attack the Democratic candidates – Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton – who have said they would reopen NAFTA.
    “Then he had that Canadian thing where “I’m saying this, but I mean that,’ ” Ms. Matalin said.
    Ms. Matalin is a well-known Republican strategist, having worked for both George Bush Jr. and Sr. and for Vice-President Dick Cheney.
    Mr. Obama’s team has repeatedly denied that such a conversation took place.
    Opposition MPs said it appears obvious to them that the Harper Tories want the Republicans to win and that they have taken steps to help them to do so.
    The Harper government may find itself in hot water should the presidential winner be a Democrat, they said.
    “This is serious,” said Navdeep Baines, the Liberal Party’s trade critic.
    “If there’s a perception there of interference, I think it will definitely put a strain on our relationship in the future.”
    The brouhaha is somewhat reminiscent of the 2006 election, when Mr. Wilkins lashed back at then-prime-minister Paul Martin for his criticisms of the United States and was criticized for interfering.
    For its part, the federal government is saying that there were no calls between itself and any staff members of a campaign team.
    The Canadian embassy says on its website that “at no time has any member of a Presidential campaign called the Canadian Ambassador or any official at the Embassy to discuss NAFTA.”
    Mr. Harper’s communications director, Sandra Buckler, said Mr. Brodie also doesn’t remember such a conversation.
    “Ian Brodie does not recall discussing this matter and at the end of the day Ambassador Wilson issued a statement and we stand by that statement,” Ms. Buckler said.
    Last week, Mr. Harper said that reopening the NAFTA deal would be a mistake.
    As well, Canadian officials have warned that a renegotiation could put the supply of Canadian oil to the United States at stake.
    Ms. Matalin used Mr. Harper’s remarks yesterday to argue against the idea of reopening the pact.
    “Those sands up there have as much oil as Saudi Arabia,” she said.
    “And Harper and the Trade Minister came out and said, ‘You want to opt out? You want to threaten to opt out? Guess what. We’ll open up the clause, and we’ll renegotiate so you don’t get favour – favourability relative to energy trade and I – we’ll sell our energy to China.’ ”

    Reply

  53. Ajaz says:

    The Canadian newspapers are covering this widely today denouncing Stephen Harper and his surrogates for putting out this memo based on hearsay and rumours. It seems that Harper’s henchman got the sstory from someone who got it from someone else who in turn got it from someone else.
    This is a pathetic attempt by Harper’s Conservatives to show support to Republicans and put down Democrats. Most Canadians (myself included) find this a disgraceful.

    Reply

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