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