Obama-Clinton: Trade Wars

Mar 20, 2008 3:29pm

ABC’s Sunlen Miller and Eloise Harper report: Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign went on the offensive today, attacking Sen. Hillary Clinton by saying the records released yesterday detailing her daily schedule while First Lady show that she has been dishonest about her position on trade, calling it “the political equivalent of consumer fraud.”

At issue: Clinton’s stance on the trade agreement NAFTA. Obama campaign chief stagiest David Axelrod and Communications Director Robert Gibbs on a conference call Thursday with reporters said the records demonstrate that while Clinton has been campaigning in favor of NAFTA reform, she was in support of the groundbreaking North American Free Trade Agreement known as NAFTA’s passage in 1993.

They called for her to apologize for saying her record has been consistent on this issue.

“Now Senator Clinton, the people are owed not jut an apology….but they are owed an explanation of what the truth really is. If this is how you treat the truth when you run for office, how will you treat the truth as president?” Gibbs told reporters.

Clinton fired back today to these charges today when she spoke with reporters, reiterating that she has long-opposed NAFTA, even while her husband supported it in the White House.

"I don’t think that’s what you can infer from the release of the schedules. I have spoken consistently against NAFTA and the way it has been implemented at the time as many people have confirmed including (former Clinton aide) David Gergen, who chaired one of the meetings that is referenced on the schedule,” she said.

Indeed Gergen, who was a senior advisor to President Clinton in 1993 told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last month, “I was actually there in the Clinton White House during the NAFTA fight and I must tell you Hillary Clinton was extremely unenthusiastic about NAFTA. And I think that’s putting it mildly. I’m not sure she objected to all the provisions of it but she just didn’t see why her husband and that White House had to go and do that fight. She was very unhappy about it and wanted to move on to health care. So I do think there’s some justification for her camp saying, you know, she’s never been a great backer for NAFTA."

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