But Clinton's campaign cited a memo about a meeting between a senior Obama economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, and consulate officials in Chicago reassuring the Canadians not to take Obama's message "out of context" and to view it "as more about political posturing than a clear articulation of policy plans."
The quotation in question is:
Noting anxiety among many U.S. domestic audiences about the U.S. economic outlook, Goolsbee candidly acknowledged the protectionist sentiment that has emerged, particularly in the Midwest, during the primary campaign. He cautioned that this messaging should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."
Of course there is the denial (tm)
The memo was written by a Canadian official. Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist, has disputed its accuracy, as has the Obama campaign. The Canadian Embassy added its voice to the dispute today, saying that in the report out of its consulate in Chicago "there was no intention to convey, in any way, that Sen. Obama and his campaign team were taking a different position in public from views expressed in private, including about NAFTA. We deeply regret any inference that may have been drawn to that effect."
I think Shaggy had a song about this one:
But she caught me on the counter (It wasn't me)
Saw me bangin' on the sofa (It wasn't me).
The Hill.com is not encouraging:
Initially the Obama campaign and Goolsbee denied such a meeting or conversation had ever taken place. Plouffe on Sunday said Goolsbee was not part of a formal meeting and was only speaking informally as a University of Chicago professor and not Obama's senior economic adviser.
From the horses mouth:
"I certainly did not use that phrase in any way," Goolsbee said.
At the last debate Obama said:
"I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced," Obama said in the debate.
Which I understand to mean. We will threated to pull out of NAFTA if we cannot get labor and environmental standards enforced. His boy said to the Canadians:
"On NAFTA, Goolsbee suggested that Obama is less about fundamentally changing the agreement and more in favour of strengthening/clarifying language on labour mobility and environment and trying to establish these as more `core' principles of the agreement."
Goolsbee said that sentence is true and consistent with Obama's position
Which I take to mean, Obama is not in favor of any fundamental changes to NAFTA, we just want some clarification of the language. Now the difference between the debate comment and the one above, which is said to be "true and consistent" with Obama's actual sentiments on NAFTA is that in the debate he threatened to opt-out should enforcement of certain items not meet the satisfaction of an Obama administration. The latter says we want clarification on some things but we're not going anywhere.
I say it is significantly different. You may see it as not. what is important is that Obama voted for the recent free trade agreement with Peru. The AFL-CIO has stated on it's website:
But the agreement does not pave the way for other flawed trade agreements, such as pending deals with Colombia and South Korea and any effort to renew Fast Track trade authority, Lee said.
We hope that the new labor provisions will provide a starting point for future efforts to strengthen and effectively enforce protections for workers in the global economy. These provisions will certainly not solve all the problems workers face, but they provide one more important and useful tool to pressure both governments and corporations to respect workers’ fundamental human rights. Congress will need to bring to bear strong pressure on the executive branch to ensure that these newly negotiated provisions are effectively implemented and enforced, as these provisions cannot serve their objective if the executive branch does not enforce them.
Both the U.S. House and Senate are expected to take up the Peru agreement within the next month or two. Several lawmakers have said it is essential that countries bring their labor laws into compliance with the provisions in the agreement prior to implementation. Ways and Means Democrats have argued that the House should not act on the pending trade agreement until Peru makes much-needed changes to its labor laws, bringing them into compliance with the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) core labor standards, as required by the trade agreement.
In the past, countries that signed trade deals with the United States promised to implement labor law reforms or to improve labor law enforcement but ignored those promises once an agreement was ratified and implemented, Lee said. So far the government of Peru has not yet passed all the laws necessary to live up to its commitments, much less the ILO core labor standards, she added.
It is agreed that just like in Mexico, the Peru act will damage local agriculture in Peru, which many people there rely on to make a living. So the preponderance of all the evidence suggests that the idea that Obama gave the "wink-nod" to Canada is very likely.
Gotta love this "new politics" Obama is running.