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Friday, April 04, 2008

Heads-up: Weekend Reading NAFTA/CAFTA and the 08 Campaign

While we wait for this story to break, we are on the brink of getting to the bottom of the question: Does Hillary support NAFTA and CAFTA? She continues to say that she was opposed to the NAFTA agreement? We now have a story developing on three fronts take a look at the background information I provided below to get ready or next week.

1. Does Hillary opposed NAFTA and against CAFTA the proposed bilateral trade deal with Colombia?
  • Rep Miller an Obama supporter was part the campaign conference call expressing his concerns with NAFTA. He stated that he was not aware of Hillary's objections to NAFTA when the congress was debating the effects of the proposed agreement.

2. Obama says that he opposes NAFTA and CAFTA but reports say his campaign had reassured Canadian diplomats through back-channels that the candidate's calls for renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement were political rhetoric, not serious plans or was it Clinton who reached out to Canada?

  • Substitute her name ...

    Hillary last month:

    “If you come to Ohio and you go give speeches that are very critical of NAFTA… and then we find out that your chief economic adviser has gone to a foreign government and basically done the old wink-wink – ‘Don’t pay any attention, this is just political rhetoric’ — I think that raises serious questions… "I would ask you to look at this story and substitute my name for Sen.Obama ’s name and see what you would do with this story ... Just ask yourself [what you would do] if some of my advisers had been having private meetings with foreign governments."

    Last Friday Canada pledged to make public the results of an investigation into Canadian leaks that damaged the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

3. “If you come to Ohio and you go give speeches that are very critical of NAFTA… and then we find out that your chief economic adviser has gone to a foreign government and basically done the old wink-wink – ‘Don’t pay any attention, this is just political rhetoric’ — I think that raises serious questions…
  • Not quitting the day job

    This, in the wake of how hard Clinton's aides pressed on Austan Goolsbee's meeting (in, he said, his professorial capacity) with the Canadians, is a bit tough to explain:

    Hillary Clinton's chief campaign strategist met with Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. on Monday to discuss a bilateral free trade agreement, a pact the presidential candidate opposes.

    Attendance by the adviser, Mark Penn, was confirmed by two Colombian officials. He wasn't there in his campaign role but in his separate job as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, an international communications and lobbying firm

"An Error in Judgement"
  • From NBC's John Boxley
    As mentioned earlier today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Clinton chief strategist Mark Penn -- in his role as chief executive of Buston-Marsteller -- met with Colombia's ambassador to discuss a free trade deal, which Clinton actually opposes.

    Penn just released this statement: "The meeting was an error in judgment that will not be repeated and I am sorry for it. The senator's well known opposition to this trade deal is clear and was not discussed."

  • Ben Smith reports: Change to Win, the labor federation that includes SEIU, just sent out a statement demanding Penn's head:

    The statement, from executive director Greg Tarpinian:

    It's time for Senator Hillary Clinton to send her vaunted 'chief strategist' Mark Penn packing -- back to his job consulting for union busting corporations and anti-labor governments for good.

    "We have questioned Penn's role in the Clinton campaign in the past for his representation of union busting employers like Cintas. At that time, Penn said there was a wall between him and his firm's representation of union busters. The latest revelation that Penn -- whose firm represents the Colombian government in its effort to secure passage of a so-called free trade agreement -- is actively involved in securing its passage in the middle of Senator Clinton's presidential campaign is outrageous. It also suggests that he has been playing a double role - advising the Senator on what to say to curry Democratic voters and advising the Colombian government on what to say to curry a majority of votes in Congress.

    "The vast majority of Americans do not believe that we should be granting preferential trade status to a government that coddles death squads that target union organizers. Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world for union members, where more than 2,200 workers have been murdered since the 1980s by Colombian death squads for trying to form unions while the government has done nothing to effectively stop the murders. It is time for Penn to go."

Update: Why is Latian American Far Right's Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is worried?

Uribe's Attack On Obama
  • That Uribe singled-out Obama is revealing: the Illinois senator’s rival for the Democratic nomination for president in the United States, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, also says Associated Press she opposes the US-Colombia “free trade” pact. That clearly doesn’t worry Uribe: the Clinton organization has a long history of backing – politically and economically – the Colombian far right, its narco-politicians and paramilitary death squads, of whom Uribe is supreme leader. In 2000, then-US president Bill Clinton went on Colombian national TV to announce “Plan Colombia,” the multi-billion dollar US military intervention that keeps Uribe and his repressive regime in power to this day.

”I will oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement if President Bush insists on sending it to Congress because the violence against unions in Colombia would make a mockery of the very labor protections that we have insisted be included in these kinds of agreements.”
  • More extensively quoted in The Philadephia Bulletin, Obama added:

    ”So you can trust me when I say that whatever trade deals we negotiate when I’m president will be good for American workers, and that they’ll have strong labor and environmental protections that we’ll enforce.”

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