Obama nails Clinton over NAFTA support

Barack Obama accused Democratic presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday of trying to walk away from a long record of support for NAFTA, the free trade agreement that he said has cost 50,000 jobs in Ohio, site of next week’s primary.

At the same time, he said attempts to repeal the trade deal “would probably result in more job losses than job gains in the United States.”

One day after Clinton angrily accused him of distorting her record on the North American Free Trade Agreement in mass mailings, the Illinois senator was eager to rekindle the long-distance debate, using passages from the former first lady’s book as well as her own words.

“Ten years after NAFTA passed, Senator Clinton said it was good for America,” Obama said. “Well, I don’t think NAFTA has been good for America — and I never have.”

“The fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for president,” Obama told an audience at a factory that makes wall board, located in a working class community west of Cleveland.

Later, at a rally in Toledo, he rebutted the former first lady’s statement that her husband had merely inherited NAFTA when he won the White House from former President George H.W Bush.

President Clinton “championed NAFTA,” passed it through Congress and signed it into law, Obama said.

A spokesman for Clinton, Phil Singer, said the former first lady was critical of NAFTA long before she ran for president. He cited remarks from March 2000 in which she said, “What happened to NAFTA I think was we inherited an agreement that we didn’t get everything we should have got out of it in my opinion. I think the NAFTA agreement was flawed.”

Singer also said that in 2004 in Illinois, Obama spoke positively of the trade agreement, saying the United States had “benefited enormously” from exports under NAFTA.

The trade agreement has long been unpopular in the industrial Midwest, where critics blame it for lost jobs and shuttered factories, many of which once employed union workers who tend to vote Democratic.

Ohio and Texas both hold primaries next week, with 334 delegates combined, and former President Clinton has said publicly his wife probably needs to win both of them if she is to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Vermont and Rhode Island also hold primaries on March 4, but have far fewer delegates and have not attracted nearly as much attention.

On another issue, Obama said he was not concerned that Republicans might attempt to depict him as unpatriotic if he becomes the Democratic nominee.

Asked about a series of events, such as not placing his hand over his heart during the national anthem, he said, “The way I will respond to it is with the truth. That I owe everything I am to this country.”

He also said patriotism had more than one definition, and that Republicans had presided over a war “in which our troops did not get the body armor they needed” or were sent into the war zone without enough training.

Polls show Clinton with a narrowing lead in Ohio, where trade has long been a sensitive issue.

Its political impact has long been obvious in the state, since Democratic Rep. Tom Sawyer voted for the agreement and then lost his seat a few years later in an election in which trade was the key issue.

Sawyer supports Obama and attended his public rally in Akron on Saturday. He declined a request for an interview.

Given that backdrop, the issue is the core of Obama’s drive to win the Ohio primary and possibly force Clinton from the race.

At the news conference, he said Clinton has “essentially presented herself as co-president during the Clinton years. Every good thing that happened she says she was a part of and so the notion that you can selectively pick what you take credit for and then run away from what isn’t politically convenient, that doesn’t make sense.”

On Saturday, Clinton called attention to her plan to fix problems with NAFTA and a commitment against any future trade deals “unless they are positive for American workers.”

To an audience of Boilermakers Union members and their families, Obama promised the same thing, with particular attention paid to labor and environmental concerns.

“Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that we can’t stop globalization in its tracks and that some of these jobs aren’t coming back,” he said. “But what I refuse to accept is that we have to stand idly by while workers watch their jobs get shipped overseas.”

2 Responses to "Obama nails Clinton over NAFTA support"

  1. Alexandria Lupu  February 25, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Once again, you show your bias toward Obama, even praising him for putting out inaccurate statements.

  2. Carl Nemo  February 26, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Truly a spot-on indictment from Senator Obama concerning Hillary and her propensity to sell out to offshore interests…

    *****
    Hillary Clinton is phony as a blue three dollar bill when it comes to protecting America’s jobs even modern high tech jobs. Here’s some links that should sit folks up in their chairs causing them to both blink and think.

    Hillary and Bill have been two pol scamsters on the make and the take their entire married and political lives. During Bill’s term in office it became an embarrassment as to how supportive the Chinese were of his campaign efforts. That scandal was referred to as Chinagate along with endless twists and byzantine money connection turns.

    Recently Hillary Clinton was awarded “The Weasel Award” for her continual back-stabbing of the American worker.

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/memo1.pdf

    If she’s elected the massive loss of U.S. jobs will continue including many if not most in the high tech and IT sectors. We simply cannot continue on this path if we are to survive as a nation. Every year we have hundreds of thousands of new college grads, but they’l have no place to work unless they emigrate to India or China! She and Bill are NWO globalists to the core and they will do everything within their power to dissolve the nation-state status of the United States of America turning us into both renters and beggars on our own soil with “Red China” as our new landlord…!

    She also feels India needs our nuclear support. Masharraf of Pakistan a mortal enemy of India is on the take to the tune of 10 billion per annum to guard nukes that were given to them under the Reagan/H.W. Bush presidency. Say what…!?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/11/11/51012/272

    Now our duplicit leaders like Senator Hillary Clinton et. al. wants to aid India in developing their nuclear program. India is not a cosignator of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty no differently than Israel who also has nukes, but has never publicly admitted to having them. So our constant meddling in distant, powderkeg nations is eventually going to take out the world at large. Of course we hear Bushco constantly whining about Iran becoming a nuclear power. Reagan/H.W. Bush didn’t seem to care about a rogue nation such a Pakistan joining the nuclear club all with U.S. taxpayer help…?!

    Hillary Clinton, if elected, will continue troweling in the bricks to our future NWO prison. America needs a “seachange” relative to policies and our leaders need to start thinking “America First” , not only now, but forever…!

    If America goes down then a great, dark shadow is going to be cast across the earth as the mass tyranny of old stalks the planet. With the U.S. soon to become history as both an economic and military power, the evil, fascista, pirate corporatists can turn the earth into simply their “Great Plantation” with the former nation-states of the earth simply reduced to enterprise zones.

    http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/jul/03ndeal.htm

    Just remember this folks. While Hillary is talking out of one corner of her mouth about supporting workers and helping Americans she’s also soliciting financial favors out of the other corner from her globalist, deep-pockets supporters everywhere and anywhere. She and her husband will sell us all out for just a few bucks, rupees, yuan, or euro’s more…!

    America is in “harms way” with this continual axis of Bushista~Clintonista rule.

    Carl Nemo **==

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