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Thursday, March 20, 2008

NAFTA? Did I Help With That?

Obama's campaign demands an apology from Hillary on the NAFTA issue. From Ben Smith:

"On a campaign conference call just now, chief strategist David Axelrod said Clinton 'owes an apology to the people of this country' for suggesting that she hadn't been involved in passing NAFTA when her schedules provide 'direct, incontrovertible evidence that Sen. Clinton was involved on this issue.'"

ABC backs up the Obama campaign with this from Jake Taper:

Two attendees of that closed-door briefing, neither of whom are affiliated with any campaign, describe that event for ABC News. It was a room full of women involved in international trade. David Gergen served as a sort of master of ceremonies as various women members of the Cabinet talked up NAFTA, which had yet to pass Congress.

"It wasn’t a drop-by it was organized around her participation," said one attendee. "Her 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.

That first attendee recalls that the First Lady's office in the East Wing put together "the invitation list, who was invited authorizations and all that stuff."

And what is this attendee's response to Clinton today distancing herself from NAFTA? "For people who worked hard to pass NAFTA and who support the importance of markets opening for the economy in the long term, they're very upset. A number of the women who were there are very upset. You need to have some integrity in your position. The Clintons when Bill Clinton was president took a moderate position on trade for Democrats. For her to repudiate that now seems pretty phony."

Recalls a second attendee, "they were looking for women in international trade who supported NAFTA. Senator Clinton came by at the end. And of course she asked for our support and help in passing NAFTA."

Women who attended that event, the second attendee says, have been incredulous to see Clinton distance herself from the trade agreement as she campaigns today. "They're all saying, 'What's this all about?' We all heard it firsthand." She says Clinton isn't being honest with voters today.

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