Hillary Clinton’s NAFTA Sincerity Problem

By Jennifer Parker

Mar 20, 2008 11:30am

The Clinton campaign sent out talking points for supporters today, which included this odd little "myth" versus "fact."

"Myth: Contrary to her stated opposition to NAFTA, Hillary Clinton attended NAFTA meetings to work for its passage.

"Fact: It is no secret that passing NAFTA was a priority of the Clinton Administration, but numerous contemporary accounts make clear that Hillary Clinton was personally opposed to NAFTA, and her position on NAFTA was and remains consistent."

OK, first of all, that "Myth" is not a "Myth" — it’s a fact.

Clinton attended NAFTA meetings to work for its passage. True statement. Period. End of story.

As we reported yesterday,  on November 10, 1993, Clinton headlined a briefing and rah-rah session for businesswomen to support NAFTA.

And as the AP reports today, the recently released 11,000-plus pages of her First Lady "schedules show her holding at least five meetings in 1993 aimed at helping to win congressional approval of the deal."

Our friends at the Clinton campaign should look up the word "Myth" in the dictionary.

But the more troublesome question I have is one the Clinton campaign has repeatedly refused to answer ever since we talked to two attendees of that 1993 meeting in which then-First Lady Clinton was telling businesswomen NAFTA would be good for the country and the economy.

If "Hillary Clinton was personally opposed to NAFTA" at the time, as her campaign now claims, why was she telling the American people that it was good for the economy?

Why did one attendee of that November 1993 meeting — unaffiliated with any campaign — recall the meeting to me by saying Clinton’s "remarks were totally pro-NAFTA and what a good thing it would be for the economy. There was no equivocation for her support for NAFTA at the time. Folks were pleased that she came by. If this is a still a question about what Hillary’s position when she was First Lady, she was totally supportive of NAFTA."

Clinton is not claiming her position has evolved, mind you.

She’s saying she opposed it at the time. And the facts are: she publicly and privately spoke in favor of it at the time.

So….was she being sincere then?

Or is she being sincere now?

- jpt

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