Barack Obama does Emily Litella on NAFTA to Canadians

posted at 9:11 am on February 28, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama has joined Hillary Clinton in trashing one of her husband’s major economic and diplomatic achievements on the stump. He has told Americans that he rejects NAFTA, the program that created a free-trade zone out of North America, hoping to ride protectionist fever to the White House. However, the man who runs as a different kind of politician has a different kind of message to Canadians about NAFTA:

Barack Obama has ratcheted up his attacks on NAFTA, but a senior member of his campaign team told a Canadian official not to take his criticisms seriously, CTV News has learned.Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have been critical of the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement over the course of the Democratic primaries, saying that the deal has cost U.S. workers’ jobs.

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama’s campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

Reportedly, lower-level Hillary staffers gave the same kind of warning to Canadian representatives, but Team Hillary flatly denies it. The same cannot be said for Obama’s campaign. They called the warning “implausible” but didn’t deny it.

If true, this would show Obama as the worst kind of demagogue. It would mean he’s telling people what they want to hear while rejecting it himself, or alternately that he has begun his diplomatic relations with Canada by lying to them. Either way if true, it paints a disturbing picture of the kind of politician Obama really is.

In case the Democrats don’t realize it, Canada is our most important trading partner — and they rely on NAFTA heavily. Canada is our number one resource for oil, followed by our other NAFTA partner Mexico. If we junk NAFTA, it will create a fairly large diplomatic rift and ripples throughout our economy. Instead of making us more popular in the world, the Democrats will start making us less popular on our own continent and alienate our closest friend, as well as damage all three economies.

Perhaps that’s why Obama’s campaign didn’t want the Canadians to take him seriously. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans are taking him seriously, even if Obama apparently doesn’t return the favor. (via CapQ reader Mark)

UPDATE: I fixed a bit of clumsy text. Canada and Mexico are the two countries from which we import the most oil. Sorry for the confusion, and thanks to Online Analyst for pointing it out.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Obama is a poopy face

noelgallagher2k on February 28, 2008 at 9:17 AM

NAFTA has to be one of the biggest economic SNAFU’s of all time, thank you Bubba Billy! It’s one thing to see B.O. trash the whole thing, but it’s a scream to see Shillary get up there and act like she didn’t have anything to do with the whole mess when it was being concocted. Which may explain why she may be history come next Tuesday.

pilamaye on February 28, 2008 at 9:18 AM

I’m shocked I tell you, shocked that a Dem would say one thing to one group and another to another group. They’re the most ethical people on the planet!

flytier on February 28, 2008 at 9:22 AM

Ignorant Americans … the best cult members you can have.

tarpon on February 28, 2008 at 9:27 AM

At what point do we stop being “suprised” when we see examples that Jesus 2.0 is absolutely, positively nothing more than a professional politician? He’s done a better job of “branding,” but its a shiny label on the same old terrible product. In fact, I dare say he is worse than most, because he brings false advertising to new levels.
But hey, Americans buy lots of crap products every day.

Sugar Land on February 28, 2008 at 9:28 AM

Exit question: How much of this type of behaviour will it take to knock BO’s followers out of their stupor? Or, does it matter to them at all? (shudder)

shibumiglass on February 28, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Wow, wonder how his groupies will feel about this.

Clark1 on February 28, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Red State Update was right…. A month ago we were free to like Obama, but it’d only be a matter of time before we got to know the real him.

AbaddonsReign on February 28, 2008 at 9:30 AM

The worst kind of demagogue? But, but … but He looks so good in a suit. And Hope and Change. Don’t you know he’s black. Noooo!!!

Someone tell Scarlett Johansson her cult leader is a two-bit hack and a professional liar. She’s so pretty when she cries.

Vote Sauron 08 on February 28, 2008 at 9:31 AM

When do we get to see the picture of Obama in a tuque, eh?

Mr. Bingley on February 28, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Well, his mouth was moving.

jukin on February 28, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Canada is the number one importer for oil, followed by our other NAFTA partner Mexico.

Do you not mean that Canada and Mexico are exporters of oil to us? Or is my understanding incorrect?

Those who kneejerk an objection to NAFTA need to research the ways that the US has benefitted from this partnership in our hemisphere.

Democrat reimposition of protectionist policy also threatens our relationship with South American trading partners at a time when China is making vast inroads of investment there. The thinking is quite short-sighted as a foreign-policy position… just to buy a few cheap votes during this election season.

onlineanalyst on February 28, 2008 at 9:34 AM

interesting comments from our canadian friends.

ctmom on February 28, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Obama is a poopy face

noelgallagher2k on February 28, 2008 at 9:17 AM

Ha! Agreed!

Canada is the number one importer for oil, followed by our other NAFTA partner Mexico.

onlineanalyst on February 28, 2008 at 9:34 AM

Yes; we (in Canada, mostly Alberta) send you (the US Americans) a great deal of oil. You’re welcome.

Frozen Tex on February 28, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Protectionist policy is barely even an effective bandaid.

We need leadership that will remove the shackles of government regulation. More than ever before, consumers have the ability to research products and companies but they are let off the hook from taking responsibility by protectionist policy. We’re still the best in the world at producing paperwork but at what cost?

Team Obama will not improve our ability to compete on the world stage and the duplicit position on things such as NAFTA spell trouble if he’s elected.

Problem is, McCain’s record doesn’t inspire much hope and that’s why Obama may not pay for these kind of positions.

EconomicNeocon on February 28, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Obama is a poopy face

noelgallagher2k on February 28, 2008 at 9:17 AM

What’s the story morning glory?

carbon_footprint on February 28, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Sugar Land on February 28, 2008 at 9:28 AM

Is the blasphemy really necessary in making your point? Obama may have a cult following but he doesn’t represent the second coming.

highhopes on February 28, 2008 at 9:59 AM

Frozen Tex: I was agreeing with you, and our nation is grateful to Canada. The italicized portion of my post came from Ed Morrissey’s commentary, which I think he expressed in error inadvertently.

onlineanalyst on February 28, 2008 at 10:02 AM

All the more reason WE SHOULD BE DRILLING IN ANWR dammit!!!! Why is McCain against it?

ctmom on February 28, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Not even a semblance of integrity.

sgt_rich on February 28, 2008 at 10:05 AM

The Obama is scary; Shrillery is scary; McKeating is scary.

The next 4 years will be scary.

Branch Rickey on February 28, 2008 at 10:06 AM

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

How many times America has to be reminded that it’s ELECTION SEASON??

Aren’t the voters fools and idiots to believe other fools who want to access POWER by kissing their butts, and telling them anything they like to hear??

All of them are fraud, from McCain to Hussein.

Wake up Morons!

Indy Conservative on February 28, 2008 at 10:12 AM

All the more reason WE SHOULD BE DRILLING IN ANWR dammit!!!! Why is McCain against it?

ctmom on February 28, 2008 at 10:05 AM

IMAO, because his liberal friends don’t want it. Forget that it would be good for the United States; especially since McVain has fallen for “man-made-climate-change-global-warming-and/or-cooling” hoax….

Branch Rickey on February 28, 2008 at 10:14 AM

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms any thing a politician says during the campaign would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

Fixed

NoFanofLibs on February 28, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Isn’t this pro-Canandian stance tacitly racist against the poor Mexicans?

If Hispanics vote for Obama they’re loco.

profitsbeard on February 28, 2008 at 10:32 AM

I hate it when anyone talks smack about Canada. Our relationship with Canada is the single most lucrative business arrangement in the history of mankind. Anyone that tries to screw that up is manifestly unpatriotic.

You mess with Canada, you mess with me.

Enrique on February 28, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Well, there goes hope for an honest politician down the drain.

Not much of a change, huh?

Dusty on February 28, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Well, there goes hope for an honest politician down the drain.

Not much of a change, huh?

Dusty on February 28, 2008 at 10:35 AM

“Honest politician??”

“Change??”

You watch too much TV news.

Who said the Nazi propaganda is dead?

Indy Conservative on February 28, 2008 at 10:54 AM

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

Just words?

geckomon on February 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM

Frozen Tex on February 28, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Hey, my wife’s side are Canucks, wonderful folks and thanks for the oil (and the profits I made on my PGH stock)!!!

swami on February 28, 2008 at 11:07 AM

I live and work in Blue State Connecticut. Yesterday a coworker was explaining to me that Obama would make our old friends like us again. I told him that it was not at all clear to me that our non-left wing old friends stopped liking us in the first place. I think liberals think “our” old friends don’t like us because “their” old friends don’t like any Republican President. Anyhow, how is reversing an international treaty going to help us be liked?

Peace,

GalleytWest

GalleyWest on February 28, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Strange thing is Obama will certainly get more votes from Mexican citizens than Canadians.

exception on February 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM

As much as we pick on Canadians for being… well, Canadian, they are great allies and have stood with us through many battles. I worry that the liberal wave in their govt. would cause rifts between our nations and end some of our security agreements.

Kai on February 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM

GalleyWest on February 28, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Someone had a great quote, I think it was Steyn. The rest of the World only loves America when she is on her knees, either through grief or tragedy. I crack up when people complain about how we lost so much international goodwill after 9/11, when Bush invaded Afghanistan and threatened Iraq. We were fat, lazy and stupid before 9/11. Afterwards, we are stupid, imperialistic and warmongering.

Kai on February 28, 2008 at 11:29 AM

We are not reliant upon Canada and Mexico for oil. We have enough oil shale to make up the difference easily, and with a fuel cost of $4.00 gallon it should be economically profitable. Why are we sitting on this reserve? I understand that when we use all the other sources of oil in the world we will still be sitting on, what, a 300 year reserve, but we need to time the usage of that reserve to give us the greatest benefit. It doesn’t do much good to have this reserve when oil as a fuel has been supplanted by new technology. It should be used right before a new technology is developed and oil prices are high. I say that right now is the time to use this reserve.

DFCtomm on February 28, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Canada is our most important trading partner…

Canada was our most important trading partner before NAFTA. I don’t remember when Mexico came into such a richness of oil production but they, too, were one of our “important” trading partners. NAFTA had nothing to do with those facts.

thegreatbeast on February 28, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Pay no attention to that Messiah behind the curtain. He loves all mankind, and Canadians too. He will deliver us from financial stabililty and show us the way to Carter-like interest rates.

Keep the faith. Oh, and the hope and change thingy too.

(Just kidding about the canucks. Forgive me, eh?)

fogw on February 28, 2008 at 11:41 AM

[Indy Conservative on February 28, 2008 at 10:54 AM]

My cynicism in regards to politicians blossomed 20 years ago and my sarcastic comment regarding hope and change was informed by keeping abreast of the news via reading HA, daily. I haven’t watched more than an hour of television in almost two years.

Dusty on February 28, 2008 at 11:53 AM

My cynicism in regards to politicians blossomed 20 years ago and my sarcastic comment regarding hope and change was informed by keeping abreast of the news via reading HA, daily. I haven’t watched more than an hour of television in almost two years.

Dusty on February 28, 2008 at 11:53 AM

That’s what I thought. But I wouldn’t rely only on Hot Air, with all due respect to the owner. Diversify your sources, and watch your local channels/news only!

That’s how I’m an independent, not brainwashed.

Indy Conservative on February 28, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Hotties seem to have a misconception about libs; they don’t care the (US) economy, if their politicians lie (see William Jefferson Clinton), nor if they only tell people what they want to hear. In fact, appearance is more important than substance (see Billy Crystal’s “It better to look good, than to feel good” schtick).

Never underestimate the vacuity of a Dem/Liberal, the universe will only make one more so (see Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, et al).

Geministorm on February 28, 2008 at 12:17 PM

All the more reason WE SHOULD BE DRILLING IN ANWR dammit!!!! Why is McCain against it?

ctmom on February 28, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Because he is a liberal that drinks the “Global Warming” and environmentalism kool-aide.

Geministorm on February 28, 2008 at 12:19 PM

We have enough oil shale to make up the difference easily, and with a fuel cost of $4.00 gallon it should be economically profitable. Why are we sitting on this reserve?

DFCtomm on February 28, 2008 at 11:35 AM

In the past, when foreign oil prices rose (sometimes because of a weaker dollar), investment in domestic oil production increased. Know what happened every time we got close to making a dent? Foreign prices dropped, pulling the rug out from under the domestic oil biz. This has happened several times. It’s a cut-throat business, and who wouldn’t expect them to milk it for all it’s worth? You charge what the market will bear.
On a different note, look at what the middle east has. Sand, oil and…. sand. What is going to happen over there when oil demand drops dramatically? I know, China’s tooling up their economy in a major way, big customer and all that, but they have an advantage. They are starting from scratch in so many areas that they can look ahead to alt energy technologies, which is, of course, where the world is headed. The ME oil industry got a visit a few years ago, telling them the world’s not going to need that black gold forever, so they better have plan B. In the meantime, we’ll continue to buy from them so they don’t *go out* and try to get something else on which to build any sort of stable economy. It’s one of those ‘in everyone’s best interest’ sort of situations. Yes, it sucks a little, but think of the alternatives. If the world took away their oil revenues and they started to get frisky over there, what are the options? Glass parking lot??

shibumiglass on February 28, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Yes; we (in Canada, mostly Alberta) send you (the US Americans) a great deal of oil. You’re welcome.

Frozen Tex on February 28, 2008 at 9:45 AM

And we US Americans, as such, and also thank you. However, I still think we should be drilling in ANWR so we become a little less dependent on foreign oil from like, the Iraq and such :-)

sporkbender on February 28, 2008 at 1:30 PM

How could you expect the revelations in your post to be any great surprise – Obama and Hillary both have been in full pander mode for some time. How else could you explain campaign promises that add up to billions, while at the same time, each is saying that they will reduce (or at least not increase) taxes.

When pressed for specifics on funding, they both talk about immediately discontinuing the “Bush Tax Cuts”. The money “recouped” (remember, it’s really our money anyway) wouldn’t even begin to be a down payment on their promises. Likewise, neither of the Democratic front-panderers can account for the reduction in tax revenues that will inure from rolling back the earlier tax cuts themselves. So, they’re in a death spiral – they’ll take steps to reduce tax revenues by removing tax cuts, and (at the same time) tack on massive new spending projects. It’s the classic Democratic Double Whammy.

drewski1013 on February 28, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Tabarnak!
Randy

williars on February 28, 2008 at 1:53 PM

Of course, now the Canadian Govt is denying it.

Linkie

WayWard Fundamentalist Christian on February 28, 2008 at 2:02 PM

I find it worrying when ever some one threatens to take apart agreements without understanding the whole picture or taking a narrow view to gain some votes. This applies for both sides of the border.

In my view the reason we get into trouble is our taste for cheap goods. We seem willing to compromise our concerns when we walk into “Walmart”.

We let our manufacturing go offshore and then worry about jobs.

I don’t like a lot about NAFTA. As a Canuk I’ve seen the result of special interests directly on jobs, thousands in the forest industry alone. This due to export of raw logs.

I’m sure our brothers south of the border feel the same with jobs going to China.

Let’s keep what we have and negotiate mutual beneficial trade agreements and not shut down and go into isolation.

frozencanuk on February 28, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Obama lies…and most other candidates for political office do too. For the past 45+ years, it’s been standard operating procedure also known as ‘doing what it takes to get elected.’

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying lying to get elected is okay. It’s not. But somewhere in the political playbook, this kind of thing isn’t defined as lying. It’s defined as nuance. It’s giving your potential voting constituency a taste of where your head is at. It’s about intentions, not action. The entire Obama campaign is built upon this framework.

So, am I shocked that Obama staffers are calling and warning Canadian officials ahead of time to take the rhetoric with a grain of salt? Not in the least. Obama’s not the first and he won’t be the last. It’s a lesson though to those of us who listen to speeches, political debates, and campaign propaganda. Always apply the proper filter, and count on a certain percentage of disappointed when your candidate is elected.

PunditGuy on February 28, 2008 at 2:44 PM

Funny, I object to NAFTA for the opposite reason: because it is not free trade. It is managed trade.

The Constitution sets the United States as a free trade zone (that is to say, between states). It takes 54 words to lay that out. NAFTA is 2,000 pages of restrictions and rules and tariffs. It’s pretty simple: free trade means no tariffs. It doesn’t take a huge organization and 2,000 pages to spell that out.

Mark Jaquith on February 28, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Thanks ED.

Not a big talker but at times do have a commrent to make.

marlin007 on February 28, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Ed, I am a regular reader at CQ, but a very infrequent commenter. Howsomeever, I would like the privelege.

scattershot on February 28, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Steve Chapman just published a column about how Clinton and Obama may be wrong about NAFTA. THe link is Here.

BK on February 28, 2008 at 5:33 PM

Gawd, He makes me wish I were gay! His speeches send Obasms through my body!

JohnJ on February 28, 2008 at 5:48 PM

This doesn’t surprise me, knowing what we have already learned about Obama. The question is whether the MSM will bother to let the voters know about such hypocrisy.

(Yeah, Ed, I said I wouldn’t follow you, but you’re just too darn addictive to give up. ;}

Paul_in_NJ on February 28, 2008 at 5:59 PM

B. Hussein Obama is the Anti-Christ.

Buttercup on February 28, 2008 at 6:17 PM

BK on February 28, 2008 at 5:33 PM

BK your link doesn’t work, I think they make a pill for that.

Buttercup on February 28, 2008 at 6:22 PM

What?? You’re defending NAFTA??

NAFTA is a terrible thing and should be junked immediately! I don’t see how you can defend NAFTA just because Mubarak Hussein Obama lies and says he’s against it.

Mubarak Hussein is most certainly FOR NAFTA..and the Amnesty Bill and (after the terrorists attack us in 2009) the modified, sovereignty infringing 2010 Security and Prosperity Partnership/North American Union and merger with the European Union.

Unfortunately so do all the other “viable” candidates, John Mccain and Hillary Clinton.

You think I’m kidding about the one world government?
This is all prophesied in the Bible. Jesus prophesied his second coming within one generation(70 years) of the rebirth of the nation of Israel(1948). The Rapture and the Great Tribulation begin 7 years prior to the second coming…get ready!

(Matthew 24 and Psalm 90:10)

SaintOlaf on February 28, 2008 at 11:44 PM

NAFTA no doubt “does” need to be re-visited. But you’re a fool if you believe that either Obama or Hillary will do that once elected. Mexican and Canadian truck drivers will continue to roll into the U.S., slowly but surely taking the majority of U.S. long-haul truck driving jobs over the next 5 years until the U.S. trucking industry is only a small fraction of what it is today.
Duncan Hunter would have had the courage to attack NAFTA head-on over that issue. He voted against NAFTA. But do you think the Teamsters would throw their support behind him? No. A lost opportunity for them. So they can now watch their membership dwindle over the next half decade. Darvin Dowdy

Darvin Dowdy on February 29, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Oops, your masked slipped Mr. Obama.

ThePrez on February 29, 2008 at 3:46 PM