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Posted at 6:37 PM ET, 01/ 7/2008

Off-base on NAFTA and "Hillary Care"

By Washington Post Editors

UPDATED Monday 11:30 a.m.

I am at Manchester airport, on my way back to Baltimore, after a fascinating four days in the Granite State. I will file a wrapup report tomorrow. There have been lots of statements to fact check, several of which will take a little more time. Here are a couple of quick ones that caught my attention from Clinton's Town Hall meeting in Peterborough and a Mitt Romney "Ask Mitt anything" meeting in Salem.

The former president was asked about his support for the NAFTA trade agreement, which is not too popular around here. (Hillary Clinton now says she opposes it.) He did his best to distance himself from it, even though he supported it vigorously back in 1993, declaring that Congressional approval would mark "a decisive moment" in American history.

Today, his tune was very different. "NAFTA was largely a trade agreement with Canada and largely done when I got there," he told the Town Hall meeting. The first part of that statement is nonsense, as NAFTA applied to Mexico as much as Canada. It is true that NAFTA had been negotiated under Bush 41, but Clinton was a passionate supporter, and was key to persuading Congress to ratify the agreement in November 1993.

UPDATE: White House reporter Peter Baker (who also covered the Clinton White House) points out that Bill Clinton not only pushed NAFTA's passage through Congress but also negotiated labor and environmental agreements before doing so which, he said, satisfied his concerns -- concerns that he and his wife now raise.

Mitt Romney once again denounced "Hillary Care" and "socialized medicine" at a meeting with his supporters in Salem. He then proceeded to praise his own health plan for Massachusetts when he was governor, saying he wanted to introduce something similar throughout the nation. Romney's plan for Massachusetts is strikingly similar to the Clinton health care plan, complete with individual mandates and a ban on insurance companies excluding people for a "pre-existing condition."

By Washington Post Editors  | January 7, 2008; 6:37 PM ET
Categories:  Candidate Watch, History, Other Foreign Policy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama and Iraq
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Bill Clinton disowning NAFTA. It was the linchpin of his economic policy--even his foreign policy. And now he disowns it?

What is the meaning of "is"?

Posted by: Steve Fought | January 7, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Both Clintons are big LIARS!!!!! Has anyone
ever thought the real reason that Hillary is not doing well is because the american people are sick and tired of the Clintons? It sure
seems the damage is done and cannot be undone. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE OR

Posted by: Mary | January 7, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Mary, you are so right. People are sick and tired of lying politicians. The Clintons have been around so long and lied so many times you just can't respect them even when you might agree with them on some issues. Bush is extremely unpopular because of his lying tendencies. We need a President who isn't a liar. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: | January 7, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

From a fundraising standpoint, Clinton brought in mega-bucks for supporting NAFTA, principally from the one group that would gain the big relief from tariffs. Who was that. Hanes, Russell Corp., Fruit of the Loom, Warnaco, VF Corporation, etc. The makers of bras, undergarments, jeans, t-shirts. And the Unions went along because these firms agreed to allow "unionization" activities in the new Mexican plants, while the existing Mexican companies, whose trained labor they stole, were non-union. Get it?! Truth. I can document it.

Posted by: Bennett Marsh | January 8, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Actually, NAFTA worked. The US has added some 20 million jobs since its enactment and the median wage (the most commonly cited measure of middle class well-being) has risen. It is a shame so many people focus on some factories that have closed to the exclusion of the bigger picture. It is even more of a shame that Bill Clinton won't defend on of his greatest accomplishments.

Posted by: RealChoices | January 8, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

It would be very helpful if you gave more facts and less generalized editorial disparagement of Democratic candidates.

To recap what I understand as facts embedded in your post:

Bush 1 negotiated MOST of NAFTA before Clinton became president.
Clinton had some issues with NAFTA and negotiated labor and environmental conditions added to the "Bush NAFTA".
He then advocated to get it ratified.

Do you have Lexis/Nexis at the Post's Fact-Checking outpost?

Posted by: facts would be nice... | January 8, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Canada started on January 2, 1988, years before NAFTA. The big contribution of NAFTA was precisely that it included Mexico. There was already free trade with Canada.

Posted by: Donsig | January 8, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton proved the "experts" wrong!!! She really has shown that substance, experience, and her "proven" ability for enabling change, along with a lifelong passion and experience in actually helping the majority of Americans, is what the voters care more about when choosing the best leader for this next critical term as president! Voters are not listening to the slanted views of the media "pundits" who care more about drama and a "story", rather than reporting the truth... Americans are smarter than the "sheep" they believe we are! The NH voters proved this!!!...

Thank goodness people are finally waking up and realizing that although Obama is a brilliant orator and nice person, he lacks the actual skill, leadership, experience, and ability to truly make change happen and lead our country... talk is cheap at this point - Look at his record as a State Senator in Illinois and in DC!!! Whenever he is presented with a difficult vote, he doesn't even take a stand - he votes "present"!!! He voted "present," effectively sidestepping issues nearly 130 times as a state senator. On a sex crime bill, Mr. Obama cast the only vote in a 58-to-0 vote!! He barely has any record for doing much as a US Senator in Washington DC, but what is interesting is that he said he would vote against the Patriot Act, yet when he joined the US Senate, he voted for it!! He said he would vote against the Iraq war, and then voted for funding, AND, he SKIPPED a tough vote on Iran, distorted what the bill authorized, and criticized those who voted for it!! This does not show the true leadership that is required for creating the change we desperately need! He's not the "outsider" that his campaign is trying to make him out to be - yes, he has fantastic speeches, but his record shows proves that he is more of the typical "sidestepping" polititian and lawyer that we have seen before, who lacks the "real" leadership to get things done. The Republicans will have a field day with Obama if he ever got lucky enough to win the Democratic ticket!!!

Rookies are not needed right now to run the country in the most important job in the world.... Remember the last "rookie" who used "likeability" without substance or experience to get elected? Back then, people liked GW Bush, they didn't care that he lacked experience because he talked in generalities and made us feel good. Well guess what, he won the White House and got us into this mess!! - GW Bush ran a very similar campaign as Obama, and his inexperience has been a disaster for our country!!.... Gore and Kerry warned all of us, but we didn't listen. Obama can talk in generalities - anyone can do this, but he has no clear plan, no clear ideas, shows a lack of "true" leadership by avoiding difficult decision-making as proven by his actual voting record, and lacks the "real world" experience to deliver on his unsubstantiated promises and "generalities" for change...Hopefully people won't make the same mistake we made with Bush by believing in another rookie with Obama.

Americans will take this critical vote very seriously for 2008 by choosing the best person who has already proven she can lead with success, has already brought about "real" change, and can truly pull our country together to restore our reputation and our world position as the leaders we were once considered. With former President Bill Clinton by Hillary's side, we will all prosper from such an amazing team that will help bring our country back from the difficulties that we have encountered with the Bush administration... especially with the economic difficulties and international issues we are already facing today and will face over the next few years. No more rookies and false impressions, folks - let's put the best team in the White House!! Senator Clinton is the "real" change Americans need! Go Hillary!!! The country believes in you and your ability to "truly" lead and enable "real" change as our next great President!!!

Posted by: akchonan | January 10, 2008 5:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh come on! I quite independently started out thinking I would never vote for Hillary Clinton. Then she, Hillary, swayed me in a different direction. Then you Hillary "ranters" get going and send me running back in the other direction. Like Carville getting on Larry King and trying to beat me over the head with Hillary Clinton. I wonder if Mrs. Clinton realizes the damage people like you and Mr. Clinton, etc., etc. do by trying to shove her down our throats.

Posted by: weslou | January 10, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

As a life long democrat, union member and American, I would not vote for a Republican or a Clinton Democrat. Like many, but not enough, I had it with political parties that are so eaisly bought and sold.

Posted by: frluke | January 10, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

While Sen. Clinton is not my first choice for president, part of me hopes she'll win just to enrage the idiots who don't know squat about politics who think she is somehow dishonest. Despite spending over $50M of your and my money trying to pin a crime on them, neither Bill or Hillary Clinton, or save Web Hubbell, none of their political appointees were even indicted for any serious crime either before or while they were in the White House. That can't be said of any of their predecessors except Jimmy Carter.

Face it, the Clintons are far more honest than any Republican who has served in the White House in the last 45 years. Further, Bill Clinton's record of peace, prosperity and fiscal sanity is the best record of any president in the second half of the 20th century.

So, I will enjoy immensely watching the Clinton haters seethe on Jan. 20, 2009 if she takes the oath of office.

Posted by: John | January 11, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

clinton = dishonesty
get facts checked
nafta and foreign involvement - lies

look it up

while nafta did help some what why does she lie and say she had opposed it

hypocrite anyone

when criticizing obama why does she try and twist every statement he makes

mccain is old and behind the times though i do admit i like his straight talk personality even i do not agree with everything he says

and enough rhetoric about obama - if your going to judge him then judge your own candidate as well the good and bad - and please do provide more in depth proof as in why he or she did something other than what you hear or see - it's called research

now he might not be the perfect candidate but in politics who is - all you can really ask for is honesty and action when the time comes - plus out of a hundred senators he was known as the most liberal - which of course supports his claim on "change"

even some of the most honest & action driven people in the world have to compromise in order to get things done in the world - as if people didn't do this enough... sarcasm for those that didn't get that - and as much as i want our troops home - i have friends and family in iraq as well - but imagine the innocent iraqi living there once our troops left would end in a massacre and i do stress innocent - some are brainwashed and others lost loved ones and want revenge like anyone else would but the truth is we should have never been there in the first place - compromise is hard
even nafta is a compromise
or voting 'present'

try viewing events or actions from different angles and you might get an idea why people make certain decisions
or comments even if you don't like them - this can apply to religion, race, ethnicity, economic status, culture, even region in a certain country - example east US is not the same as west US - midwestern concerns are not the same as southern cocerns

just for those wondering - i was once an optimist - probably some small part of me is - but i am now mostly a realist - crime, terrorism, hunger, & etc. will always exist because we are human

but if you are close minded then my post was meaningless and the world will continue on a path with a future that will never really change from the present - ignorance is bliss

oh and i support obama - am hispanic and a youth of the future generation (aka under the drinking legal age) - yes i might be naive still - but having met many 'grownups' i don't think i'm as naive as they are and the countless mistakes they have made

Posted by: anon | March 28, 2008 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Experince...well we elected Nixon for peace, and we got it. However, he was'nt a veteran. Also, here is an analogy to the matter of Obama's reluctance to vote: If I was offered a piece of "the big pie" that was pushed across the floor, and new that it had a combination of good ingredients, just as well as others that I were allergic to. I would not take a slice of it. Matter of fact...I would hope that you were'nt offering it to me. Do you guys get it yet? When Obama said Nay! he stood his position. When he said Yea! He stood his position. He is speaking OUT! about, and against some very powerful people. These people have ears, and they know what Obama is up to. THAT my friend IS CHANGE, with the courage to do so in spite of all odds. It is alot of cleaning up to do in Congress, and you want to put someone that has exhibited..plainly, hypocritical behavior in office like Mrs. Clinton. I beleive that Obama has put himself in a position to do nothing other than keep his word to the people. He has spoke against the Courts favoritism to the Corporations. He has spoke against Executive orders. Someone speaks out on issues like that and get delegate support..he will have to own up to it. Or will have NO friends to turn to when the heat is turned up. That simple, no fancy words needed to explain the truth.

Posted by: Rick | April 9, 2008 5:51 AM | Report abuse

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