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vastleft's picture

Barack Obama's website continues to cling to the implication that Hillary Clinton characterized NAFTA as a "boon":

Hillary Clinton's Support of NAFTA Has Been Well Documented
February 23, 2008

HILLARY CLINTON PRAISED NAFTA FOR YEARS

2006/2008: Newsday Reviewed Clinton's Statements, Concluded She Supported NAFTA. According to a Newsday issues rundown, "Clinton thinks NAFTA has been a boon to the economy." Newsday wrote in 2008, the word "boon" was their "characterization of how we best understood her position on NAFTA, based on a review of past stories and her public statements." [New York Newsday, 9/11/06; Newsday blog, 2/15/08]

Here is what Newsday has to say about Obama's prior use of the "boon" pseudo-quote:

Obama's use of the citation in this way does strike us as misleading. The quote marks make it look as if Hillary said "boon," not us.
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Sima's picture
Submitted by Sima on

Meaning, when she had to support her husband whether she agreed or not? I believe I read that in a post in another thread on this site.

NAFTA was a big deal to me. It's why I don't really like Clinton's husband. However, I know better than to think she is he. I also know better than to assume, without any reason whatsoever, that her opponent has a better position on NAFTA. I don't think he has any position at all, except a favorable one, as evidenced by him voting for the PERU trade agreement.

tas's picture
Submitted by tas on

So her husband's support for NAFTA shouldn't be applied to her now, because suddenly Hillary says it's bad. OK. What's next, Hillary's vote for the Iraq war shouldn't be cast in a negative light since now she says she's against the war? And these position shifts come, coincidentally, during the time when she's running for president.

Yup, I can really trust her.

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

For God's sake, it's a little late in the day for that.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-siro...

http://www.johnedwards.com/news/headline...

At the latest Democratic presidential debate last week in Las Vegas, Mrs. Clinton was asked whether she believed enacting the trade agreement was a mistake. She replied: “Nafta is a mistake to the extent it did not deliver what we hoped it would.”
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/...

You can make a valid criticism of Obama in that he's produced a lot of evasive bullshit re his own position on trade agreements and supported the Peru agreement, but if Hillary wants to claim the benefit of all those years of "experience", her long embrace of NAFTA can't be discounted.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... taking the position that NAFTA is imperfect and should be reviewed.

Obama clearly doesn't want anything to do with NAFTA and similar arrangements.

From October, 2007:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-siro...

"Obama said he would vote for a Peruvian trade agreement... in response to a question from a man in Londonderry, NH who called NAFTA and CAFTA a disaster for American workers. He said he supported the trade agreement with Peru because it contained the labor and environmental standards sought by groups like the AFL-CIO, despite the voter's protests to the contrary. He also affirmed his support for free trade."

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

I mean, when the basis of your argument is that the First Lady was publicly supportive of the President's policies, you know you've hit the 'valid argument' well has run dry.

In her memoir, she describes NAFTA in terms of its intended effects when the Clinton administration was considering how to implement its agenda in the first months of his term, and as a "legislative victory" that Bob Dole didn't want to give Clinton more of, because Dole wanted to run against Clinton in 1996.

And in 2002, she cited it in a speech as being among a very long list of "accomplishments" of the Clinton administration.

The reality is that NAFTA probably wouldn't be a major issue right now if Bush hadn't screwed up the economy so much. NAFTA was part of Bill Clinton's remarkably successful economic policies -- policies that created some economic dislocation because of the impact of NAFTA, but was making up for that by creating new, GOOD, jobs throughout the economy. (while at the same time providing American consumers with inexpensive imported goods)

One final note -- Obots really need to go back and look at the NAFTA votes, because they reflect Bill Clintons efforts to govern by building bi-partisan consensus -- pretty much what Obama is promising to do. THere is no reason to believe that even Bill Clinton approved every element of NAFTA -- and IIRC, Clinton wanted more money to aid in helping those who did lose their jobs because of NAFTA, but the GOP didn't want to appropriate it.

....and in 1994, we saw exactly what the GOP does to Democrats when they try to work with the GOP....

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

The basis of both Edwards and Obama's attacks on Hillary on this issue is both that she has supported NAFTA and that she cites Bill Clinton's economics policies as positive.

She could have said that while she supported NAFTA as first lady, she did not support it as Senator or as Presidential candidate, but she did not. Instead, she said that problem with NAFTA was the Bush implementation - which is a very weak argument.

You write "The reality is that NAFTA probably wouldn’t be a major issue right now if Bush hadn’t screwed up the economy so much." and that's totally wrong. NAFTA was very controversial among Democrats from inception and criticism of NAFTA has been a consistent theme among progressive democrats. The reason that Senator Clinton is attempting to revise her position is that NAFTA has been very unpopular from day one with Democrats.

You write "One final note — Obots really need to go back and look at the NAFTA votes, because they reflect Bill Clintons efforts to govern by building bi-partisan consensus — pretty much what Obama is promising to do." And that is nonsense. NAFTA was not "bipartisan consensus" in any form. It was passed over the opposition of the MAJORITY of DEMOCRATS.

When Obama promises to reach out to Republicans, he is promising to reach out to Republican VOTERS on shared priorities - like a strong economy and a moral foreign policy. When Clinton reached out, he reached out to Republican LOBBYISTS.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

NAFTA was not “bipartisan consensus” in any form. It was passed over the opposition of the MAJORITY of DEMOCRATS.

Yes, that is what bipartisanship means to the Republicans. Remember Grover Norquist?

Bipartisanship is date rape.

This is what sitting down with the Republicans gets you. I hope Sen Obama figures this out after the first couple of verses of Kumbaya, and doesn't spend 4 years selling us out for delicious unity.

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

But if Senator Clinton wants to campaign on the economic platform of the Bill Clinton Presidency, she either must clearly explain differences or accept responsibility for date-rape events like NAFTA passage.

It is perfectly reasonable for Obama and Edwards to have hammered her on this issue. NAFTA was DLC economics at its worst. It is bizzare that anyone can claim that Obama's bipartisanship is a reason for supporting Senator Clinton's bipartisanship.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

There isn't a special "Clinton" definition of Republican bipartisanship. It's the same no matter who the Democrat is. If you give them a seat at the table, they will eat all the food they want and take a dump in whatever is left. It's what they do.

Not knowing you're gonna be in a fight with them on every single progressive/left issue is charmingly naive at best.

At least Sen Clinton knows this already, and has experience in dealing with it.

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

"At least Sen Clinton knows this already, and has experience in dealing with it."

If you can give me a couple of examples of where Senator Clinton stood up to Republican tactics and pushed through some liberal/progressive agenda item, I'd appreciate it. I see that her and Bill have been good at preserving themselves and their careers, but not much else.

As for Obama, he has consistently said that he understands their will be battles, he just wants to expand our side.

As for bipartisanism, Lakoff said what many of us saw - there is a difference between clintonian "triangulation" and the type of bi-partisan effort Obama advocates.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

NAFTA was very controversial among Democrats from inception and criticism of NAFTA has been a consistent theme among progressive democrats.

and how much power does the progressive wing of the Democratic Party have right now?

*********
one thing I hope that Clinton does in the next debate is to ask NAFTA straight out "If you are elected President, on your first day in office will you provide the required six months notice to Mexico and Canada of America's intention to end NAFTA?"

IF he says 'yes', he's screwed. If he says 'no', she can say "So basically you have the same position of NAFTA that I have. You want it to be fixed. Yet you put out a flyer that falsely claimed that I thought that NAFTA was a boon to the economy, after both I and the newspaper you were using for the source of the allegation, had said that the claim was wrong. And you tried to make it appear that we have substantive differnces on NAFTA ... differences that don't really exist. "

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

"Senator Obama, your website criticized me for things I said as First Lady in 1996. I guess you really don't understand how the Presidency works, because its the First Lady's job to publicly support everything her husband does without reservation. But, speaking of 1996, while I was doing my job as First Lady, promoting NAFTA, you were answering a questionaire in pursuit of a newspaper endorsement. And in that questionaire, you advocated, among other things, making it illegal for private citizens to own guns, abortion on demand with no restrictions whatsoever, and allowing welfare mothers to have as many kids as they want on the taxpayers dime. Now, we've known about this for a long time, but we've never used it against you. But since you're going to criticise me on NAFTA based on what I said while doing my job as first lady in 1996, perhaps you can start explaining why you wanted to make it illegal to own handguns that same year?"

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

If you can give me a couple of examples of where Senator Clinton stood up to Republican tactics and pushed through some liberal/progressive agenda item, I’d appreciate it.

I'll give you one right off the top of my head. She got Plan "B" emergency contraception approved over the dead bodies of the religious right. Oh, sorry, I forgot that reproductive freedom for women was so "old tired politics."

As for bipartisanism, Lakoff said what many of us saw - there is a difference between clintonian “triangulation” and the type of bi-partisan effort Obama advocates.

Hahahaha, okay, you do think there is a special definition of Republican bipartisanship for Sen Obama. I think I'll check with Norquist on that one over Lakoff.

Please learn fast, Sen Obama.

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

IF he says ’yes’, he’s screwed. If he says ’no’, she can say “So basically you have the same position of NAFTA that I have. You want it to be fixed. Yet you put out a flyer that falsely claimed that I thought that NAFTA was a boon to the economy, after both I and the newspaper you were using for the source of the allegation, had said that the claim was wrong. And you tried to make it appear that we have substantive differnces on NAFTA … differences that don’t really exist. “

Newsday said that "boon" was a reflection of their understanding of Clinton's opinion. Their complaint what that one could draw the conclusion from Obama's document that Hillary had used the word.

In fact, there are options between withdrawal and minor tinkering.

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

I’ll give you one right off the top of my head. She got Plan “B” emergency contraception approved over the dead bodies of the religious right. Oh, sorry, I forgot that reproductive freedom for women was so “old tired politics.”

I'll give you that one, although you lose points for gratuitous sarcasm. That's one.

A second one, from 35 years of fighting for us?

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

But since you’re going to criticise me on NAFTA based on what I said while doing my job as first lady in 1996, perhaps you can start explaining why you wanted to make it illegal to own handguns that same year?”

There's your progressive Democratic leader. She can run on guns, gays, and god.

Submitted by lambert on

Classic tactic, lovely to see.

Rootless asks for one.

Paul answers.

Rootless admits Paul is right, asks for two.

So, if Paul gives a second example, maybe I should me making book on the next request. Three? Hell, let's go for 100!

The Clinton Rules again. Hillary is always wrong!

Funny how the discussion has gotten sidetracked from the Obama campaign's "new politics"-style unethical use of the quoted "boon," eh?

Well done, rootless!

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

Classic tactic, lovely to see.

Rootless asks for one.

Paul answers.

Of course, I wrote:
If you can give me a couple of examples of where Senator Clinton stood up

But, you are right. The point is that Hillary wants to run on the economic record of the first clinton administration, but insists it is unfair to tag her with support for NAFTA - the most controversial and perhaps important economic measure passed during Clinton 1. And she has no record of opposing NAFTA in her post WH career, and John Edwards slammed her on NAFTA repeatedly. But in light of all this, you guys conclude that Obama is deceptive!

Snort.

mikeirwin's picture
Submitted by mikeirwin on

Either her experience, including her support and campaigning on behalf of NAFTA as First Lady, counts or it doesn't. She needs to tell us which it is, because right now she is not being clear.

don't follow the slate; create debate

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Hillary didn't campaign on behalf of NAFTA. During that whole thing, she was busy working on the health care plan.

She did, in her capacity as first lady, promote it on a number of occasions -- its what first lady's do. And I REALLY hope that Obama tries to make this an issue... because she's can riff on all sorts of stuff from that point -- Michele Obama's gaffes, where Obama stood in 1996, Obama's lack of understanding of how the Presidency works....

mikeirwin's picture
Submitted by mikeirwin on

Wow, you blast me down by agreeing with me. Let's see if I get this straight, she was "working" on a health care plan in her capacity as First Lady, but her "promotion" of NAFTA was just part of her duties as First Lady. Like I said, she can't have it both ways.

BTW - "First Ladies", not "First Lady's"

don't follow the slate; create debate

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

It does not matter that Obama is lying about Hillary's NAFTA position because Hillary is evil and so any smear of her is just and right and simply proves he's on the side of good.

As for that 1996 questionaire, Obama is not responsible for it because it was merely the work of a staffer, e.g. his campaign manager. Now, it does not matter if this explanation, much like the story behind so many of his present votes and other past positions, makes no sense, he's Obama. (see http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1...)

And under the Obama Rules, Obama is not responsible for positions his campaign manager took on his behalf (why would anyone think a campaign manager would know a candidate's positions?), but Hillary is absolutely responsible for every position her husband took because we all know wives always agree with their husbands. Nevermind several sources, including Carl Bernstein and Susan Bedell Smith (hardly known as Hillary Clinton defenders), say she privately had reservations about NAFTA. (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/14...) Because she has at times said good things about it, it means that she thinks it is perfect and wonderful and doesn't at all care about the jobs it may have cost the U.S. economy. Nevermind her statements to the contrary or her policy proposals to fix what she sees as problems with it, she gets no credit for these. Nevermind that Obama has praised NAFTA in the past, would do nothing different to fix it than Clinton would, and promises the same kind of bipartisanship efforts that led to NAFTA in the first place.

None of that matters because he is Obama.

Just like it is perfectly okay, and not at all hypocritical, for Obama to take help from unions in primary elections even though he criticized those same unions as "outside special interests" when they were helping just Edwards and Clinton.

There is one set of rules for Obama and another for everyone else. Here's hoping he can make that stick when his opponent in John McCain, who tends to have his own individual set of rules.