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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 03/ 4/2008

'NAFTA-gate', Part II

By Michael Dobbs


Canvassing votes in Columbus, Ohio, March 4, 2008

"I don't just criticize [NAFTA]. I don't have my campaign go tell a foreign government behind closed doors: `That's just politics. Don't pay attention to it'"

--Hillary Clinton, Toledo, Ohio, March 3, 2008.

Predictably enough, the Clinton campaign is using the phrase "NAFTA-gate" to describe a newly-disclosed memo suggesting that Barack Obama may be exaggerating his opposition to the 1993 trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. As voters go to the polls in economically depressed Ohio, the Clintonistas obviously have an interest in fanning the flames of the controversy by accusing Obama of telling the voters one thing--and telling a foreign government something different.

In addition to Clinton's own attacks on her rival, her campaign also put up a radio ad in Ohio putting the most negative spin possible on the Feb. 8 meeting between a senior Obama staffer, Austan Goolsbee, and the Canadian consul-general in Chicago. According to the Clinton version, Goolsbee made clear that Obama's attacks on NAFTA were just "political maneuvering, not policy."

Is the Clinton spin grounded in fact?

The Facts

The official Canadian report on the Feb. 8 meeting, leaked to the Associated Press over the weekend, presents a much more nuanced account of what took place than the story being retold by the Clinton campaign. It shows that Goolsbee talked about the need for a limited renegotiation of the NAFTA agreement, "in favour of strengthening/clarifying language on labour mobility and environment and trying to establish these as more `core' principles of the agreement." This is consistent with what Obama has been saying about NAFTA on the campaign trail.

Unfortunately for Obama, the Canadian memo also quotes Goolsbee as saying that some of the protectionist sentiment aired in Ohio had more to do with "political positioning than the clear articulation of policy plans." To anybody who has been following the campaign closely, this is a blinding statement of the obvious, but it is not the kind of thing that you want to concede in public. Goolsbee has denied expressing such sentiments to the Canadians.

Clearly, both the Clinton and Obama camps are trying to spin the Canadian memo to their own advantage, picking out the phrases that best suit their argument. At different times in the past, both candidates have talked about the economic benefits to America of trade agreements like NAFTA, while criticizing unfair labor and environmental practices.

Both candidates are also guilty of glossing over the difficulties of renegotiating highly complex trade agreements. During last week's debate, both Clinton and Obama threatened to "opt out" of NAFTA unless the deal is renegotiated to U.S. satisfaction. There was no mention of the fact that Canada might like to renegotiate parts of the agreement that give the U.S. preferential access to Canadian oil, or that Mexico may have second thoughts about importing subsidized American grain.

In their quest for votes, both candidates have been guilty of twisting the facts on NAFTA and trade. Obama has been telling Ohio voters that "one million jobs" have been lost as a result of NAFTA, including "nearly 50,000 in Ohio." I examined this claim (originally made by John Edwards) in a previous post, and my fellow fact checkers at Factcheck.org debunked it again today.

For her part, Clinton has sought to give the impression that she has a magic formula for turning economically depressed areas around, when this is far from the case. Running for the Senate in 2000, she promised to bring 200,000 jobs to upstate New York. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a net loss of 26,500 more jobs in the region during Clinton's first six-year-term as senator. She now calls the promise "a little exuberant."

The Pinocchio Test

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can fairly be accused of "political positioning"--diplo-speak for "pandering"--on NAFTA and trade. Their positions on NAFTA are actually fairly similar, but they are seizing on anything negative to say about the other candidate as part of a no-holds-barred contest for votes. Two Pinocchios each.

(About our rating scale.)

By Michael Dobbs  | March 4, 2008; 11:46 AM ET
Categories:  2 Pinocchios, Barack Obama, Candidate Record, Candidate Watch, Economy  
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Next: Clinton stumbles on Ohio history

Comments

I'm just happy that this is the WORST dirt they can find to dig up. Wait till the press and the Democratic nominee's campaign start sifting through McCain's trash in earnest...

Posted by: Mobedda | March 4, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dobbs, you wrote" "Their positions on NAFTA are actually fairly similar, but they are seizing on anything negative to say about the other candidate as part of a no-holds-barred contest for votes."

I assume that you are referring to their stated positions on NAFTA, and not the UNSTATED positions as espoused by Obama's senior economics policy advisor. Obama's unstated positions are at odds what he has so forcefully told the voters in Ohio.

Wink, wink, hey I'm just saying this to get your vote. It's not what I really mean and will do once I am elected. By then, what does it matter what I said on the campaign trail and who will remember.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Mobedda, but don't hold your breath waiting for the news media to dig into McCain's (Bush Lite's) dirt. The love affair between the media and McCain has become scandalous. As for "NAFTA-gate," the Canadian Embassy has issued a statement corroborating Obama's position; why do the media continue to ignore that in their stories? The media love a horse race, they want this Democratic kamikaze dance to continue to Denver, and so their converage of the weeks leading up to today's primaries has been heavily slanted in favor of Clinton. This is especially true of CNN, but even true of MSNBC. I wouldn't know about Fox. "NAFTA-gate" is a piece of idiocy and ought to be regarded as such.

Posted by: case hardened | March 4, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think this NAFTA story needs further investigation.... I have just discovered that Michael Wilson, the Canadian ambassador to the United States was indeed on the team that authored and negotiated NAFTA - See http://canadaonline.about.com/od/conservativeparty/p/michaelwilson.htm

This is the more reason why the Obama camp. should investigate these allegations. Additional information from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Wilson_%28politician%29). Apparently Michael Wilson was on the team that worked on the NAFTA agreement and may have distorted Goolsbee's statement, when he discovered that Obama was going to hit hard in that direction and was never a fan of the current NAFTA position. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton who is in support of the current NAFTA position, has just changed her position for political reasons. There are other stories in which Bill Clinton, was sighted in Canada over the week-end, but I have no proof of that. Please lets investigate this story - There is more to it...

Posted by: Ton | March 4, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

BTW guys I found some brilliant/awesome analysis on Obama's Fundraising and other current happenings on the campaign. I haven't seen anything like this mentioned anywhere in the MSM.
Check out the article "Follow the Money" on http://savagepolitics.com/?p=165, "Bush's Twin and the G.O.P." http://savagepolitics.com/?p=172 and "Barack Obama's Apotasy" http://savagepolitics.com/?p=101


Check their "Political Analysis" section for other striking perspectives on both parties.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

My gosh, is this it? This is the best dirt out there? You fact checkers are getting a holiday.

We need some REAL MUD to fling here!

Obama has a secret white baby!

Hillary keeps Cuban cigars in her nightstand!

Come on you guys, lets get to the good stuff.

BTW, I would have been very disappointed if Obama had not reached out to Mexico and Canada to reassure them that trade would continue well into the future. That is what a real president would do.

Didn't Hillary call the Canadians yet? And she wants to be president? Talk about NOT READY ON DAY ONE!

Posted by: Art V. | March 4, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Two pinocchios looks a little light. The big picture here is that each candidate is roundly criticizing NAFTA as the *cause* of economic problems which is what the unwashed masses of Ohio and DC nonprofits want to hear. The claim is false, and if it were true, the MSM would find and quote numerous economists to back it claim up.

Three or four pinocchios are in order. Maybe three for Obama and four for Hillary because she didn't seem to object to Bill's NAFTA deal too loudly at the time it was consummated (sorry), and it is in fact this type of "experience" upon which she is basing her candidacy.

Posted by: The Angry One | March 4, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks factcheckers and posters here. This is the first article today I enjoyed reading. I hope this keeps up for the duration of the election. And I agree on the McCain coverage - the manlove for McCain at MSNBC is bordering on obscene. I am just waiting for Chris Matthews to peform a lapdance on McCain the next time he shows up.

Posted by: LAC | March 4, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Tax Returnes will be horrendous data for mining.....how is teh we work for you message going to go over when it is reported that they made over twenty million..

Posted by: J_thinks | March 4, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is throwing the kitchen sink and all the mud in her backyard at Obama, and unfortunately with the US, some of these lies and smears seem to stick. The Clinton dynasty may win the nomination yet with the very negative tear-down politics taken straight out of the Swiftboat Republican team. We can look forward to a general campaign when Hillary will have to explain all the corruption hidden in her and Bill's tax returns, and there will be zillions of shows and ads featuring women who have been assaulted by the first Clinton. This is what Obama refuses to publicize, as he is only talking about issues and playing defense against negative lies but not attacking the Clintons' many many flaws. The Democratic party and the nation will face a decade and more of divisive ruinous politics and the country will spiral faster down to its decline.

Posted by: shirleylim | March 4, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Good points, case hardened (12:55 pm).

Rush Limbaugh too calls for his kind to vote today for Clinton in order to prolong the Dem horse race until the ponies wear each other out.

When ballots are tallied, I wonder how many Hillary votes can be credited to Rush's call?

Posted by: FirstMouse | March 4, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

This is another of Obama's pieces of garbage that he drags behind him, in sight of all, but not pursued by the pro-Obama media. The "only candidate telling the truth" and the candidate who says that his administration will have an "open door policy" has been lying and has slammed the open door. For 1 week,Obama has denied that he has been in secret talks with Canada regarding NAFTA. Yesterday, Canada announced that they have, indeed, been in talks with Obama.This time he got caught!. Hillary has made charges of other misdeeds of Obama's and the media has let him talk his way out of them. He had overnight to think up a good answer for this one, so he may pull off another scam on the voters. When will the starry-eyed followers of Obama wake up out of their trance? This man is a walking, talking, talking, talking,talking, nightmare!

Posted by: afed27 | March 4, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

To Mobedda...
Where do you get your information? The Canadians have said that Obama HAS been speaking with them, despite his statements to the contrary. In fact, 2 news anaylst panels remarked that, this time, Obama is in trouble, especially in tandem with the trial of Obama's friend Renzi.There have been rumors for a long time about a relationship between Renzi and Obama but, until a dirty relationship is proved, I keep this one out of my commments.

Posted by: afed27 | March 4, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Why is the media letting the Clintons create the political lexicon in this campaign! The Clintons started the NAFTA-gate foolishness this morning and now the media joins the choir. This is too much!

There is no such thing as NAFTA-gate! Why is the media even using the term? It is a deception spun by the Clintons and being carried by the media as if it was real news. Stop it!

What in the world is going on? The Canadians have already stated officially that Obama never suggested to them anything other than what he said in public. Why isn't that being reported?

For all who were so worried that Obama was getting a free ride, take a look at the last 48 hours of media coverage. It is clearly the goal of many in the media to help the Clintons crawl out of their delegate ditch.

If the media is Obama's friend I'd hate to see his enemies.

Posted by: unteal | March 4, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama says one thing to voters, and then secretly says another to foreign officials.

Is this the type of person you want in the White House?

He talks a lot about being above "politics as usual."

I don't mind politicians, but I do mind hypocritical ones.

Posted by: ToadTreeHugger | March 4, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons sold US bonds to China to boost our economy in the 90s and they are still being praised for the economic miracle.
What most Americans don't understand is the unequal balance of trade that the deal came alongside with.
Presently China doesn't want US bonds, and guess what is about to happen- - - - - - STUPID FOLKS ARE ABOUT TO ELECT ANOTHER CLINTON.

Wait and see the economic devastation. NAFTA was nothing comparing to what is coming.......

Posted by: ordgobaltc | March 4, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Both Obama and his campaign denied that there was ever a meeting. Denied it not just once, but multiple times before they finally came clean. This, plus the Obama campaign's refusal to answer specific questions about Obama's relationship with Rezko, definitely raise serious questions as to integrity and honesty. Obama's best bet at this point is simply to be open and truthful. So far, the openness has been elusive and the truthfulness remains to be seen.

Posted by: mo897 | March 4, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Hillary said adamantly "Words don't mean anything."

Now she's demanding they do , a conversation where her claim is Canadians are lying!

That's the truth. Canadians conspiracy accepting Obama's double speak on NAFTA.


No amount of words can equal policy of NAFTA and the resulting negative effect on Ohio.

Bill with Hillary's support promoted the policy of NAFTA to happen. The bad result Hillary isn't taking blame.

Her 35 years of experience didn't cause what happened in Ohio. That's disingenuous.

Posted by: gmrk | March 4, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Call me crazy . . . but does Hillary Clinton REALLY want to go down the ethics road and get people thinking about things that end in "-gate".

Just an observation.

Posted by: Jeff C. | March 4, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Why does Hillary get 2 Pinocchios? She didn't get caught telling the Canadian government not to believe what she is saying about changing NAFTA, it was Obama who did that. Give your Pinocchios to the person who deserves them.
Is the media blind to every rotten thing Obama does? Why don't we just quit holding elections and let you media guys decide who wins. That is just what is happening now.

Posted by: bghgh | March 4, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm an Obama supporter but this column is a joke and it would serve those Republicans thinking they are spoilers in keeping Hill's campaign going right if it turns out she's their next president.

Posted by: Sara BB | March 4, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Hilliary knows better than anyone along with Bill exactely what *Gate means* What about White Gate Hillary Billary?? such a child she is...do we want such petty woman in the white house~


Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will pull the party apart. It is that simple.

Posted by: CitizenXX | March 4, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Hillary gets a pinnochio for what - OBAMA's THE ONLY LIAR I SEE!

Posted by: Tracy B -Chicago | March 4, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I forget which Administration originally passed NAFTA?...umm...wasn't it the Clinton administration?

Posted by: Tracy M. -- Austin | March 4, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I am Canadian and ashamed of Canadian Consulate staff and Canadian Prime Minister's involvement in Nafta Gate.

I am not sure who will win Democartic Primary but I am pretty sure that Steven Harper will not be relected as Prime Minister of Canada

Posted by: SAM | March 4, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Once again Clinton continues to lie, cheat and steal her way to victory. She's disgusting. She can't even run a campaign, how could she run the country? She was 20 points ahead in both states two weeks ago and has blown that lead. That's leadership and experience?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

obama = liar. dobbs = obamaniac.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse


While some area's might like NAFTA, we in Ohio have been hit hard. Agree with NAFTA or not, you must understand our hatred for it. I don't believe honestly that any candadate will do a thing to stop it. The news today read; China has 59Bill military budget. Thank you Wallmart and the U.S. Government. I wouldn't give a nickel for any of the three candadates.

Posted by: pchall | March 4, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen so many men threatened by a woman who's only crime is being intelligent and tough. She's won on the debates on all the issues, what else can it be?

Posted by: Chris | March 5, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

A recent pew survey, indicates that more democrats vote for hillary than obama. It's the republicans who seem to be picking the dem nominee. Come on democrats, for for Hillary...don't let the bushbots vote for obama. I know he said that the current administration has done nothing grave enough to be impeached over....no wonder the pubbies love him. Don't be used!

Posted by: Pat | March 5, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Chris,
Hillary's problem is not that she is a woman, but that she is a Clinton. For 7 years I have been looking for someone to force a realignment in the Republican party, and despite her inexperience in elected office I was willing to give her a try in the early primary.
Then, she started slinging mud like no tomorrow starting in South Carolina. Either she is not her own woman, or she is just as slimy as her husband. Either way, she has no business being in the White House again.

Posted by: FLRepublican | March 5, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

This is another non-story that Clinton has used to make Obama look bad. Simply put: Dirty politics.

Posted by: Brendan | March 5, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

It was a lie. The story was on CBC.
It's complete malarky

http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/8752/vsu/wmv-hi/macdonald-obama-memo080303.wmv

Posted by: Anonymous | March 5, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Re: NAFTA

Re-opening NAFTA could have serious consquences if Canada includes oil and gas exports to USA.........
Clinton and Obama better consider their actions!!!!

Posted by: Marcel | March 5, 2008 3:47 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate that finally SOMEONE is mentioning Hillary's lack of being able to bring jobs to Upstate NY (see Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton...). As someone who was born and raised in Ohio but is more recently from the above area (NY), I am amazed that Obama's campaign didn't do more to bring this fact into question. She's done nothing for Upstate NY, how is she going to do it for Ohio? She clearly doesn't have an answer!!! Thanks Fact Checker for your work!

Posted by: chrishpl | March 5, 2008 3:50 AM | Report abuse

The Clinton's are not good people and they don't surround themselves with good people; people who are willing to do unethical things for the Clinton's and what they may be in pursuit of.

I don't want them and their hoodlums in the White House again.

Posted by: Reggie | March 5, 2008 5:17 AM | Report abuse

As Nafta goes, it has been a bad deal for Canadians. I believe that the majority of Americans don't realize that Americans own the majority of Canadian Companies. So the complainers in Ohio and upper New York have nothing to fear about any futur Nafta negotiations, because for sure you'll get the better of us yet. But I would still prefer a Obama Government in November.

Posted by: Diane T. | March 5, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

A pro renegotiate NAFTA column from a Canadian Liberal Columnist
http://winnipegfreepress.com/subscriber/columnists/top3/story/4136739p-4728857c.html

Posted by: Anonymous | March 5, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Obama is lucky that this little flap is about a "who said what", in much the same way that McCain is lucky that the NYT article was taken as a sex scandal. Both views obscure the real issue.

The real issue in this is that Obama and Clinton both would try to back out of a fully negotiated trade deal...exposing the fact that neither of them understands either economics or diplomacy.

Posted by: mshimazu | March 5, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

As far as I'm concerned, all Hillary brings is speeches too. What magic solution does she have for Ohio? Is she going to help Ohio the way she conducted her healthcare reform in 93? Ridiculous. She is just as guilty of political positioning.

Posted by: Charlene-K | March 5, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Does the NAFTA issue even qualified to be a "gate"? Our country went to war based on a fake document! Now, that should be a "gate".

Stay focused on the big picture.

Posted by: Ermi | March 5, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/8752/vsu/wmv-hi/macdonald-obama-memo080303.wmv

The day after the election in OH, the cbc (canadian news source) is saying they got played by the right-wing gov in Canada.

The memo wasn't actually what we were told. Oh, and the memo wasn't even accurate.

This was a manufactured 'scandal'. It was a coordinated political attack, and once again the press does the bidding of those in power to throw an election.

Your corporate ownership must be scared of Obama, and that excites me!

I'll await all your corrections, should be a full page in tomorrow's paper. I'll not hold my breath, though.

Posted by: Update | March 5, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why this article gives Hillary two pinocchios. It was not her campaign staffer who met with Canadian diplomat behind the scenes. It was Obama's Chief economic advisor , Austan Goolsbee who met with the Canadian Consul-General in chicago and told him that Obama's stand on NAFTA was just political rhetoric.
When will the US Media stop covering up for Obama ?

Posted by: thinkforyourselves | March 5, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Is Hillary pulling a "Swift Boating" on Obama and the media plays along with her? Does anyone care that the voters are exhausted with all this stuff and we aren't even out of the primaries yet?

Posted by: Eileen | March 5, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Is Hillary pulling a "Swift Boating" on Obama and the media plays along with her? Does anyone care that the voters are exhausted with all this stuff and we aren't even out of the primaries yet?

Posted by: Eileen | March 5, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Why has no reputable newspaper published the Joseph De Mora Memo recaping the Feb 9, 2008 between
Austen Gooslbee/Goerges Rioux.
Doing so wouldd eigther support Goolbee side of the story
and vindicate the tag team match of Obama/Goolsbee or dam him back to Professorship hell at U of C.

Posted by: Hot For Obama | March 5, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The truth is that Obama started the mud slinging with NAFTA and Healthcare with those fliers, remember? "Shame on you"?
I think this is precisely why the press went a little bit harder on him than usual because it was a disingenuous attack on her on an issue he knew she was privately against while her husband's administration.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 5, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

those who put their trust in Obama will be disappointed,and I'm not saying NAFTA gate.

Posted by: Ryan | March 5, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Amazing that we all gasp when a political race gets full of POLITICS. Either one of these Democrats would do a great job as President and would be a thousand times better than Bush or even the "Let's stay in Iraq 50 to 100 more years" McCain. Neither Obama nor Clinton have done anything but campaign with the few things available to them to make their points and those anti things that are just natural differences. I just do not understand all these insults for either of these two very fine, competent, honest and prepared Democratic candidates. Just seems silly. Democrats are embarrassed with riches in that we have two candidates who could lead from day one. Actually the problem with McCain is not his lack of leadership skills. It is his blind follow-ship after the Bush messes that worry me about McCain. You know, as I mentioned above, 50 to 100 years in Iraq. EEEKS is all I can say!!!!!!!

Posted by: Mari | March 5, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Don't you people READ? There is a MEMO IN THE POSESSION OF AP stating the meeting took place and summarizing what was (allegedly) said. Clinton did not plant the memo. Clinton did not lie about the meeting. It was a mistake on the part of the Obama campaign to deny the meeting and very bad luck that proof of the meeting turned up. If the words in the memo were inaccurate, the Canadian consulate should have said that in their statement and the whole thing would have been diffused. Instead, they issued a namby-pamby statement about 'intentions' and 'regrets'.

It is not a lie; it is not a 'non-story'; it is not a 'joke'. As far as the memo excerpts not being reported by reputable news outlets, that's baloney. Is CNN reputable enough?
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/03/obama.nafta.ap/index.html?eref=rss_politics

And I for one am not 'exhausted' by all these new issues coming to light. I want to know about this guy before he becomes the nominee. Get your head out of the sand, people.

Posted by: wants the truth | March 5, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Two Pinocchios for each side when one side has a secret meeting and states that it didn't happen when asked? This would make a good skit for SNL without even a rewrite.

Posted by: holler1wv | March 5, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

being caught lying means his opponent is dirty?

wow~

Posted by: b. wu | March 5, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

The "wink-wink" is typical Illinois politics. Or, as Obama calls it, "political strategy." It also is the strategy for his 130 "present" votes in the Senate.

How is Obama going to stop the corruption in Washington, when he embraced it in Illinois?

With that said, Obama is going to "change America?" I highly doubt it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

For her part, Clinton has sought to give the impression that she has a magic formula for turning economically depressed areas around, when this is far from the case. Running for the Senate in 2000, she promised to bring 200,000 jobs to upstate New York. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a net loss of 26,500 more jobs in the region during Clinton's first six-year-term as senator. She now calls the promise "a little exuberant."
------------------------------------

Since McCain's ALLEGED weakness is economic, rather than national security related, this appears to show that the Democrats and especially Clinton

DO NOT

have any kind of an economic panacea that they can REALLY fall back on and yet Democratic voters are likely to believe they do, because they say they do.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | March 6, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Now the blame for Nafta gate is on the other side of the fence...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080305.wnafta06/BNStory/National/home

Some hack journalist wanted to get the story out first, but the thing that doesn't suprise is that Clinton would lie and lie even though she was the one that talked with the Canadians.

Posted by: KW | March 6, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

To the person reminding us of the "shame on you" Hillary's call to justice ... um, Have you followed what Hillary had been saying about Obama's health care plan? She has been dissing it all along every day. When questioned what was so really shameful about Obama when she became exorcised over the flyers, she said that Obama was't a real democrat because he didn't prepare a health plan. Well, he did. The truth is, Hillary used another divisive tactic to shake the tree. It is simply what she does. Once you get used to it and stop reacting - it's the same as a child blowing a snot bubble and then smiling through tears the moment you change your mind and give in. It's not a difficult strategy, just watch her.

Posted by: SHannon | March 6, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Have any of Hillary's Democratic opponents, including Obama, sought more detailed answers from her about stories such as:
• Norman Hsu and his bundling of money for her campaign?
• How "dishwashers, waiters and others" poured "$1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury?"
• Bill's trip to Kazakhstan with Canadian magnate, Frank Giustra, that netted Giustra $3 billion and Bill's foundation a $131 million contribution from Giustra?
• How powerful foreign donors to Bill's presidential library, such as the Saudis, may pose a serious conflict of interest to Hillary's foreign policy actions as president?
• How Bill's tangled ties to an investment concern of Clinton friend, Ron Burkle, and it's dealings with Dubai may yet, again, threaten to compromise Hillary Clinton's execution of foreign policy as president?
• The fact that with all of these questionable financial dealings, the Clintons have been unwilling to release their tax returns, especially in light of Hillary Clinton claiming that the $5 million she lent the campaign was "her own money?"
• And, finally, though we, as Democrats, don't care who Bill schtupps (and, no, none of us believe he has kept his fly zipped the last seven years), you can be damn sure the Republicans will be digging hard (no pun intended) to see just what Bill has been up to since leaving office.

Posted by: YesweCan1 | March 6, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the Clinton campaign gave their own wink to Canada to not worry about all the Nafta talk. Please, do a follow-up story on this GlobeAndMail article... http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080305.wharpleak0305/BNStory/National/home

Posted by: Nafta-gate Part III ? | March 6, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

In response to Ton's declaration about Michael Wilson, the Canadian trade ambassadore, who was insturmental in the passing of NAFTA and has interest in having the Clinton team in office as he could insure it will not be changed. The nod and wink seems to be inteh house of Clinton. Did you know the Democratic Party has changed its name to the Clinton Political Party (CPP)

Rev JR

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm writing this on March 6th and all this stuff can now be viewed as nonsense because it turns out it was a CLINTON staffer who contacted Canada and NOT anyone from the Obama camp. Can you guys look further into this and give us a NAFTA-Gate Part3. Thank you.

Posted by: nafta-gate-part3 | March 6, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I totally concur with "nafta-gate-part3"...this needs to be clarified with the newest information. Why does Obama get the bum-rap?

Posted by: Octavia | March 6, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

This is hilarious! You forgot the alleged "fact" that you were supposed to be checking! hahaha

Allow me to refresh your memory:

You wrote: "[i]According to the Clinton version, Goolsbee made clear that Obama's attacks on NAFTA were just 'political maneuvering, not policy.'

Is the Clinton spin grounded in fact?"

So, since you somehow you got bizarrely sidetracked, I'll answer that question for you.

YES, it is grounded in fact. In fact, there was a memo, which was widely circulated within the Canadian government, written by a person who actually heard the Goolsbee discussion. The memo says that Goolsbee assured the Canadian side that Obama's tough talk on the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should be viewed more as "political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."

So, clearly, the Clinton claim that Obama's tough talk on NAFTA was no more than political posturing WAS factually based on a memo circulated widely within the Canadian government.

I know it is very, very difficult for you to do, but please try to show some semblance of fairness and impartiality in this election. Fake it if you have to.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

CNN reported today that NAFTA COMMENTS IMPLICATED CLINTON CAMPAIGN, NOT OBAMA's

Posted CNN.com: 02:20 PM ET 5/6/2008

CLINTON CAMPAIGN DENIES CANADIAN REPORT ON NAFTA COMMENTS

Link to article: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/06/clinton-campaign-denies-canadian-report-on-nafta-comments/

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign is denying a Canadian report Thursday that suggests her campaign called representatives of that nation's government to re-assure them that despite campaign rhetoric, they would not seek changes to NAFTA - an allegation they used against Barack Obama's campaign in the days leading up to Tuesday's critical primary votes.

"Unlike the Obama campaign, we can and do flatly deny this report and urge the Canadian government to reveal the name of anyone they think they heard from," Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement.

Shortly before the Ohio primary, the Canadian network CTV broadcast a report that Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee had told officials with the Canadian consulate in Chicago that the campaign would not look to alter the trade agreement, even though the Illinois senator had pledged to do so.

That report became a lightning rod on the campaign trail in Ohio, where NAFTA is deeply unpopular.

The Canadian government has said it is investigating the source of the leak. The Canadian Press reported Thursday that the comment that sparked the original story may have come from Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff, Ian Brodie - and that hisremark had implicated Clinton's campaign, not Obama's. The Thursday story also said CTV's Washington bureau had initially decided to report on Clinton. The New York senator was mentioned in the final report, but it focused on Obama's aide.

The Canadian Press said government officials did not deny the conversation took place, but that Brodie denied discussing either candidate.

Earlier this week, the Obama campaign admitted Goolsbee and consulate officials had spoken, but not under the direction of the campaign, and said that a leaked Canadian government memo implying otherwise had mischaracterized the substance of the discussion.

On Monday, the Canadian Embassy in Washington issued a statement on the controversy that "there was no intention to convey, in any way, that Senator Obama and his campaign team were taking a different position in public from views expressed in private, including about NAFTA."

-CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Posted by: friendlyfire | March 7, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

CNN reported today that NAFTA COMMENTS IMPLICATED CLINTON CAMPAIGN, NOT OBAMA's

Posted CNN.com: 02:20 PM ET 5/6/2008

CLINTON CAMPAIGN DENIES CANADIAN REPORT ON NAFTA COMMENTS

Link to article: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/06/clinton-campaign-denies-canadian-report-on-nafta-comments/

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign is denying a Canadian report Thursday that suggests her campaign called representatives of that nation's government to re-assure them that despite campaign rhetoric, they would not seek changes to NAFTA - an allegation they used against Barack Obama's campaign in the days leading up to Tuesday's critical primary votes.

"Unlike the Obama campaign, we can and do flatly deny this report and urge the Canadian government to reveal the name of anyone they think they heard from," Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement.

Shortly before the Ohio primary, the Canadian network CTV broadcast a report that Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee had told officials with the Canadian consulate in Chicago that the campaign would not look to alter the trade agreement, even though the Illinois senator had pledged to do so.

That report became a lightning rod on the campaign trail in Ohio, where NAFTA is deeply unpopular.

The Canadian government has said it is investigating the source of the leak. The Canadian Press reported Thursday that the comment that sparked the original story may have come from Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff, Ian Brodie - and that hisremark had implicated Clinton's campaign, not Obama's. The Thursday story also said CTV's Washington bureau had initially decided to report on Clinton. The New York senator was mentioned in the final report, but it focused on Obama's aide.

The Canadian Press said government officials did not deny the conversation took place, but that Brodie denied discussing either candidate.

Earlier this week, the Obama campaign admitted Goolsbee and consulate officials had spoken, but not under the direction of the campaign, and said that a leaked Canadian government memo implying otherwise had mischaracterized the substance of the discussion.

On Monday, the Canadian Embassy in Washington issued a statement on the controversy that "there was no intention to convey, in any way, that Senator Obama and his campaign team were taking a different position in public from views expressed in private, including about NAFTA."

-CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Posted by: friendlyfire | March 7, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I am in Toronto watching this news story explode onto every front page.

It has been buried within poltical blogs only in the US, with only Keith Olbermann brave enough to bring the story to the forefront.

CTV's initial article also implicated Clinton from "low level sources" and now we find it was from Ian Brodie, the PM's Cheif of Staff, hardly a low level source at all.

CTV dropped the ball. The leak implicated Clinton and CTV merely dug until they could find something to attack Obama on instead. Clinton walked away with a free pass on this issue and attacked Obama on it instead. All of this and Ohio based on a memo that is now resoundly described as inaccurate and unfair to Goolsbee's words at the meeting, paraphrasing his comments and now being treated as if it were a transcript.

Hillary is the true unvetted candidate, with very little pressure for her to release her tax returns even though she attacked Lazio for dodging the same issue during her senate run. Obama bias in the media? you can't fool me Hillary, I'm watching from outside your country and all I see right now is a different standard for allegations against Hillary than ones vs. Obama. Hillary screams louder and she gets her attacks covered.

its time to vet Hillary. get her to release the tax returns, investigate these new Naftagate developments, investigate her ties to the co-implicated members in the Rezko trial who have funded her campaign, investigate her remarks attacking the people of Mississippi. right now regardless of what a republican writer for SNL thinks, you are offering Hillary the pillow.

Posted by: Corey | March 7, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

How right you are Corey...too bad the people of this country cant see her for what she really is. And dont know if people know it but Bill Clinton just happen to be in Canada two or three days before all of this hit. Hmmm..now why would he go to Canada when he was soooo busy campaigning for Hillary in Texas and Ohio. And it is a well known fact that good ole Bill has a woman in Canada in government...so Bill is still is usual self...and this is what we will have in the white house again. I now know why they all of a sudden dont want the press near Bill..he might get asked questions about this Canadian thing. They are truly the slime of the earth. And I for one think they will destroy the Democratic party. Obama people will never vote for Hillary now that this truth is out...so either Nader gets the votes or McCain. But she most definately will not.

Posted by: Linda | March 7, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

The media was only interested in this because it hurt Obama in Ohio. They no longer care about the story including the conspiracy in Canada to steal this for Clinton

Posted by: kwakuazar | March 7, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

"Unfortunately for Obama, the Canadian memo also quotes Goolsbee as saying that some of the protectionist sentiment aired in Ohio had more to do with "political positioning than the clear articulation of policy plans."

The Fact Checker needs to check itself.

You refer to the memo as an "official Canadian report." An official report is not the same as an official transcript. Referring to the memo as an "official Canadian report" lends an air of credibility to the contents that is not substantiated with evidence, such as an professional transcript.

Just because someone writes something doesn't make it a fact. You did not provide conclusive evidence that the author of the memo correctly and accurately quotes Goolsbee.

In truth, we do not know what was said or not said at the meeting. What we know is a third person wrote a memo attributing certain positions on NAFTA to Goolsbee.


We don't know if the meeting was officially recorded by a professional stenographer, or whether the conclusions are merely the interpretations of the author.

Having worked with witnesses, testimony, and arbitration panels, I know one thing for a fact: you can have ten witnesses/participants in a room and you may get as many different interpretations as there are witnesses/participants.

Just because someone writes something does not make it true.

Posted by: Catherine | March 7, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

So when do we see NAFTA-gate, Part III? Or is the big bad MSM afraid that clarifying the facts will make their original reporting look bad and biased? And why be afraid of that? Everyone knows the MSM calls the shots in elections everywhere. I work for local government, and the editors of the two local papers have more actual power to set the government agenda than do the elected officials who have the constitutional duty to do so...they have simply abdicated the responsibility to the local version of the MSM.

Posted by: flarrfan | March 7, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Why isn't the Post and the NYTimes picking up the real story here? Clinton is the one that winked to Canada regarding her rehtoric on NAFTA. It's big news in Canada.

Posted by: Keith | March 7, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

How sad it is. You were fooled by the Clinton lie that it was Obama who contacted the Canadians when it was Clinton herself. And now we have reports coming out of Texas that Clinton also worked to undermine votes at the caucuses as many students from the UT who voted for Obama at the caucus, in checking, their votes were registered for Clinton. Now they have to check more closely, hence the reason why their reporting is late. Read this report in The Daily Texan and realise who is the biggest fraud in the elections '08

http://media.www.dailytexanonline.com/media/storage/paper410/news/2008/03/07/TopStories/Caucus.Chair.Uncovers.Discrepancies-3258732.shtml

Posted by: Maria | March 7, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone else seen this video?

Barack Obama says This Camaign is about our people, talking to an African American crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV9m_b3u4UM

I would like a link to the whole speech because if that is how he truely feels, it is definitely racist.

Posted by: cheryl | March 7, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I think its SO funny that the Clinton defenders keep claiming that this purported "memo" accurately reflected the conversation between Goolsbee and the embassy person. The Canadian PM said that MEMO was NOT an accurate reflection of the discussion-IOW, whoever wrote the memo purposefully distorted the Goolsbee conversation so the mewmo could be used against Obama by the Clinton campaign

C'mon Factchecker. Lets get some facts checked here!

Posted by: Susan E | March 7, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I CANNOT BELIEVE THE WAY OBAMA SUPPORTERS WILL TWIST FACTS.

DO YOU HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT AN INTERNAL MEMO THAT WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE READ BY THE PUBLIC WAS IN SOMEWAY TRYING TO HARM BARRACK OBAMA.

OBAMA SUPPORTERS REALLY ARE ACTING AS THOUGH THEY ARE MEZMERIZED BY THIS MAN.

FIRST BARRACK DENIED ANY MEETING AND HIS SUPPORTERS SAID, THAT PEOPLE WERE JUST MAKING THE STORY UP.

THEN IT COMES OUT THAT A MEETING DID TAKE PLACE AND THEY TRY TO SAY, WELL CLINTON MADE A PHONE CALL.

THEN THE MEMO IS RELEASED AND THEY SAY HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE THE MEMO

IT MAKES IT HARD TO TAKE ANYTHING THEY SAY SERIOUSLY.

Posted by: cheryl | March 7, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

There's no twisting of facts here by Obama. Obama's advisor said he was misrepresented in the memo. And then the Canadian government look at the notes of the meeting and said that the memo "may not accurately reflect what they were told" and "may have misrepresented the Obama advisor." And the Canadian media confirmed that it was Brodie (Canadian PM Chief of Staff) who commented about the Clinton campaign telling them to take NAFTA criticism "with a grain of salt." The Post must correct this entry because its wrong, plain and simple.

Posted by: Doug | March 7, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Doug, you are so right! The main stream media was all over the story when they thought it was Obama making the wink and the nod. Where are they now, when the truth surfaces that it was really the Clinton Campaign giving Canada reassurance that nothing in NAFTA would change? Pot calling the kettle black don't you think? What a total lack of character! Too bad Ohio and Texas didn't have the truth before their vote! I challenge the media to do the right thing and print all the facts, not just the ones that favor their candidate! So all of Mrs. Clinton's rhetoric on media bias is just that... rhetoric!

Posted by: Susan | March 7, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

HERE IS THE MOST RECENT INFORMATION REGARDING THE SO CALLED NAFTAGATE

AS YOU WILL READ, THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN NEVER, I REPEAT, NEVER! CONTACTED THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT

Canadian PM Denies Clinton ReportAP foreign, Friday March 7 2008 By ROB GILLIES

Associated Press Writer

TORONTO (AP) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office denied on Friday that Canadian officials received back-channel assurances from Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign that her comments on NAFTA were for political show.

Harper's chief of staff, Ian Brodie, was reported to have said that someone in Clinton's campaign gave Canada assurances that her harsh words about the North American Free Trade Agreement should be taken ``with a grain of salt,'' according to a report by the Canadian Press.

Asked about it on Thursday, Harper spokeswoman Sandra Buckler said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that ``Ian Brodie is alleged to have made an offhand comment about a rumor to a reporter. He does not recall saying it.''

Asked about it again on Friday, Buckler said Canadian officials did not discuss NAFTA with the Clinton campaign.

``The answer is no, they did not,'' Buckler said.

On Wednesday, the Canadian Press quoted an unidentified source as saying that Brodie made the comment about the alleged Clinton campaign overture to a crew for Canada's CTV television network during a press gathering last week to discuss Canada's budget. According to a person with knowledge of the incident, the source was a CTV journalist.

The Canadian Press story said a CTV reporter asked Brodie about remarks by Clinton and presidential rival Barack Obama that they would seek to renegotiate NAFTA.

``He said someone from 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,'' the journalist quoted Brodie as saying, according to the report.

On Thursday, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said the campaign ``flatly denied'' the suggestion that a Clinton adviser had told Canadian government officials to take the candidate's tough talk on NAFTA with ``a grain of salt.''

Brodie has not responded to a calls seeking comment.

The Clinton story comes just days after a Canadian government memo released to the AP stated that Obama's senior economic adviser told Canadian officials that the Illinois senator's own comments about NAFTA were for ``political positioning.'' The release of that memo helped Clinton defeat Obama decisively in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Ohio, where the trade treaty is unpopular.

Some Democrats, as well as Canadian opposition parties, have accused Harper's Conservative government of meddling in the U.S. primary elections - in which Obama is in a close race with Clinton for the Democratic Party's nomination.

Canadian opposition parties are demanding Brodie be fired.

Harper told lawmakers in Parliament that the government would investigate the entire affair, referring to the alleged leaks about both the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

Both Obama and Clinton said last week they would use the threat of pulling out of NAFTA to persuade Canada and Mexico to negotiate more protections for workers and the environment in the agreement.

NAFTA is unpopular among many blue collar workers in the United States who say it has cost American jobs.

Posted by: cheryl | March 7, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

cheryl,

You are naive. Honestly who believes that?
Anything coming out of the Clinton camp has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Their credibility is totally gone. No conscience, sensible people will believe them.

Posted by: kate2 | March 7, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I am not naive. I find it hard to believe that whenever there is hard information that reflects negatively on Barack Obama his supporters resort to blaming Clinton.

The information I posted did not come from the Clinton Campaign.

Obama supporters, first blamed the Clinton Campaign for the leak and said it was all a lie.

Then they said Obama said it never happened and threw insults at anyone who questioned whether the meeting had taken place.

When they found out a meeting had taken place, they said well Clinton talked to the Canadians too.

When the memo was then leaked they said the information in the memo was false.(even though it was an internal memo which was never meant to be seen outside of the Canadian consulate)

When the Canadian Consulate Confirms that they had not contact from the Clinton Campaign, they say the Canadians are lying.

And when all else fails they say the whole incident is somehow a Clinton Tactic.

Do you really believe that. I mean no matter how many times you add it up one and one will still make two.

What happens is that the Obama supporters by ignoring everything negative about Obama and answering every question by insulting Hillary Clinton make it hard for people to take them seriously even when the information they have or the point they are making is valid.

Kind of like the boy who cried wolf.

For the sake of our Country I hope that your faith in this man turns out to be well deserved once everything is out on the table.

When there is a question about a Candidate for the office of the President you should want it answered.

Posted by: cheryl | March 8, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

A critical thinking course textbook in college will point out:

This is a typical sample of cult member's attitudes toward anything outside their belief.

"Posted by: kate2 | March 7, 2008 11:03 PM

cheryl,

You are naive. Honestly who believes that?
Anything coming out of the Clinton camp has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Their credibility is totally gone. No conscience, sensible people will believe them. "


Posted by: Victor | March 9, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

NAFTA
This is just another of the Clinton Campaign's sneaky efforts to throw the "kitchen sink" at Obama. When I have heared both of them discuss the issue, it appeared to me that both Clinton and Obama have very much the same view regarding this important issue. Earlier in the campaign I was not decided regarding which candidate to vote for. I deem both candidates would make excellent presidents. However, the campaign of Clinton took a nasty turn in South Carolina and I am sick to death of this type of campaign. I am a very patriotic American and believe that candidates can do better than this. I know a nasty campaign is not new in the United States. I know history. I call the put downs whether sneaky or "out front" bullying. Bullying is rampant in our culture. Does anyone wonder why it is such a problem in schools? I'm voting for Obama.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Why are we not getting any publicity on the Clinton fraud trial? I just read that the LA Superior Court has set a trial date for 11/08. The charges are fraud and money laundering. Do a Google advanced search and type in Clinton fraud trial. Check all the links. Very interesting!

Posted by: Shadow | March 14, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: 2j6m9dy38e | March 16, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

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