Obama’s NAFTA Dance: Goolsbee “misquoted”

posted at 10:35 am on March 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The NAFTA Dance continues. After Canadian broadcaster CTV reported that Barack Obama’s campaign told Canadian diplomats that his opposition to NAFTA was just campaign demagoguery, the Obama campaign denied any contacts at all. CTV then named Austan Goolsbee as the senior advisor who contacted the Canadian consulate in Chicago, telling Georges Rioux that the protectionist rhetoric should not be taken seriously, and Obama and Goolsbee continued their denials.

Now the Canadians themselves have taken the next step, releasing an internal report of the conversation, and Goolsbee now says he got misquoted:

Barack Obama’s senior economic policy adviser said Sunday that Canadian government officials wrote an inaccurate portrayal of his private discussion on the campaign’s trade policy in a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The memo is the first documentation to emerge publicly out of the meeting between the adviser, Austan Goolsbee, and officials with the Canadian consulate in Chicago, but Goolsbee said it misinterprets what he told them. The memo was written by Joseph DeMora, who works for the consulate and attended the meeting.

Goolsbee disputed a section that read: “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.”

“This thing about `it’s more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans,’ that’s this guy’s language,” Goolsbee said of DeMora. “He’s not quoting me.

At least now we have confirmation that a conversation did take place, despite Team Obama’s denials. Their story has changed since last week, when they claim the contact never occurred. Now, despite Goolsbee’s status as a “senior policy adviser” with the campaign at least since last September when he appeared in Iowa in that capacity, the campaign now says that this call took place outside of his official duties. Instead, he met with the Canadians in his capacity as a University of Chicago professor.

Oh, really? The memo doesn’t recount academic policy as a topic in the conversation. The 40-minute discussion involved the policies of Barack Obama, not the U of C. And why would the Canadian consulate want a meeting with Goolsbee about the university? Wouldn’t they have sought out the school’s administration instead?

Team Obama wants people to think that their candidate represents a new kind of politics. Instead, we see the same lies and obfuscations that Barack Obama likes to accuse others of indulging. They got caught talking out of both sides of their mouths, and after that they tried stonewalling and lying to make the story go away. (via QandO)


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Comments

Team Obama wants people to think that their candidate represents a new kind of politics.

Actually, it’s the same old politics in sparkling bright shiny new wrapping paper. Problem is people are spending too much time being dazzled by the wrapping paper to see the same old smoke and mirrors underneath.

pilamaye on March 3, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Instead, we see the same lies and obfuscations that Barack Obama likes to accuse others of indulging.

Indeed.

Demonstration event at the 2016 Chicago Olympics: free-style back-peddling.

yo on March 3, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Thanks Ed, terrific stuff. I’ll bet the BO camp is spinning like a top right now. Go ahead Glacier, it’s your turn.

swami on March 3, 2008 at 10:43 AM

This speaks to the sincerity, or lack of it, that pervades Obama’s campaign. We can only try and make see the cynicism behind the ‘hope’.

Joanie in Carlsbad on March 3, 2008 at 10:44 AM

It really would be nice of someone held Obama’s feet to the fire and made him outright condemn NAFTA if that’s his position.

Either way, but make him commit.

drjohn on March 3, 2008 at 10:44 AM

OK, we have Rezko and all of his connections tied in a very dirty looking fashion to Obama and now this. Their spin on this NAFTA really shows one of three things:

1.) They’re drinking their own Kool-Aid.
2.) They think that everyone else has drank enough of the Kool-Aid and this won’t matter.
3.) They’re just plain stupid and inexperienced.

I go with #2. “This is far too complicated, I don’t see how you can implicate Obama in anything here. Mom, are my HotPockets done!?”

MarkABinVA on March 3, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Heh.

Jaibones on March 3, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Everybody look at your hands!

mojo on March 3, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Team Obama wants people to think that their candidate represents a new kind of politics.

Fact is, Team Obama doesn’t want people to think at all.

Just drink your koolaid, wave your banners, say hope and change three times, then click your heels and dream about cotton candy clouds, happy trees, free health care forever and big fat checks from Uncle Sam.

There, don’t you feel warm and cuddly now?

fogw on March 3, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Obama=very scary empty suit! Surrounded by dirty suits!!

sharinlite on March 3, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Fact is, Team Obama doesn’t want people to think at all.

Just drink your koolaid, wave your banners, say hope and change three times, then click your heels and dream about cotton candy clouds, happy trees, free health care forever and big fat checks from Uncle Sam.

There, don’t you feel warm and cuddly now?

fogw on March 3, 2008 at 11:01 AM

You just summed up the entire B.O. mania thing in one short, crisp paragraph. And you did it brilliantly.

pilamaye on March 3, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Fact is, Team Obama doesn’t want people to think at all.

Just drink your koolaid, wave your banners, say hope and change three times, then click your heels and dream about cotton candy clouds, happy trees, free health care forever and big fat checks from Uncle Sam.

There, don’t you feel warm and cuddly now?

fogw on March 3, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Team Obama knows most of his supporters don’t think. After all, at what age does cynicism set in? To become a cynic, one has to have had some experience with the truth.

Connie on March 3, 2008 at 11:10 AM

They got caught talking out of both sides of their mouths, and after that they tried stonewalling and lying to make the story go away

Democratic Playbook —– Chapter # 1,2,3,4,5 ……….

“when in doubt, use both sides of mouth to appease your audience”…(see Clinton Manual for best examples)

Rovin on March 3, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Karl Rove? Ha-ha. You wish, Americans. It’s actually our (to use your own clumsy, political alignment descriptions) “moderate Republican” Prime Minister taking over down south to complete the Great White North’s manifest destiny. Bwa-ha-ha-ha.

You should have listened to Ron Paul while you still had the chance. Bwa-ha-ha-ha.

andycanuck on March 3, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Oh no, does this mean that Obama has feet of clay?

TooTall on March 3, 2008 at 11:25 AM

You can disparage Obama’s methods all you want, but he’s going to ride that horse until it can’t be ridden any more, no matter how rhetorical or vacuous you find it to be. That won’t play in the general, and he’ll have to change his approach, and then we’ll see what he’s made of. Keep in mind that this is a Democrat primary. The things that we keep pointing out about him simply don’t matter to those casting the votes. The real fight is for the center, and those voters aren’t as ready to take things at face value. Obama will have to articulate and defend his positions.

Immolate on March 3, 2008 at 11:26 AM

As a minor note, during Obama’s NAFTA commercial now running in Ohio, it states “Hillary was for NAFTA. Obama was against NAFTA.” NAFTA was signed into law in 1994. Neither Hillary or Obama had any voting power in 1994.

Although Hillary was the first lady, her prefference had no bearing. Obama was an associate attorney with Miner, Barnhill & Galland in 1994.

Obama’s rhetoric irritates me. It’s pretty easy to say you were against something when so such record exists.

natesnake on March 3, 2008 at 11:45 AM

All this and the Rezko trial on deck today. It’s blowback time for BO.

swami on March 3, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Actually, it’s the same old politics in sparkling bright shiny new wrapping paper

It’s pretty easy to say you were against something when so such record exists.

I am put in mind of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

snaggletoothie on March 3, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Let’s be clear, here.

In their own words, from the transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: But let me button this up. Absent the change that you’re suggesting, you are willing to opt out of NAFTA in six months?

SEN. CLINTON: I’m confident that as president, when I say we will opt out unless we renegotiate, we will be able to renegotiate.

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Obama, you did in 2004 talk to farmers and suggest that NAFTA had been helpful. The Associated Press today ran a story about NAFTA, saying that you have been consistently ambivalent towards the issue. Simple question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, “This has not worked for us; we are out”?

SEN. OBAMA: I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton’s answer on this one is right. 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. And that is not what has been happening so far.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/27/ame…bate.php?page=7

Even at face value, this is moronic, and shows lack of character…Threatening to break a good faith treaty – a treaty, THEY THEMSELVES negotiated, and signed off on.

Saying to the World; American Treaties aren’t worth the paper they’re written on…And, that we will use our economic power to EXTORT our neighbors and allies to get what we want.

That they went behind the scenes to smooth it over – covertly saying, no matter how nuanced, “We’re just sayin’ it for political positioning – VOTES.” jus’ ADDS to the moronosity…That there was any discussion AT ALL, is proof; these idiots can’t be trusted.

franksalterego on March 3, 2008 at 12:06 PM

Obamahammed sure understands taqiyya well for someone who belongs to a racist “Christian” church….

DaveHusseinS on March 3, 2008 at 12:11 PM

You can disparage Obama’s methods all you want, but he’s going to ride that horse until it can’t be ridden any more, no matter how rhetorical or vacuous you find it to be. That won’t play in the general, and he’ll have to change his approach, and then we’ll see what he’s made of. Keep in mind that this is a Democrat primary. The things that we keep pointing out about him simply don’t matter to those casting the votes. The real fight is for the center, and those voters aren’t as ready to take things at face value. Obama will have to articulate and defend his positions.

Immolate on March 3, 2008 at 11:26 AM

All anyone has to do to watch B.O.’s Unstoppable March To Glory come to a screeching halt is simply do this. The next time he gets up there and makes all these wonderful, glorious, HOPE-filled promises he has been making all over the landscape, just ask him one simple, little, teenie-weenie question:

Ask him ……….. HOW?

Then watch him turn to dust before your very eyes.

pilamaye on March 3, 2008 at 12:14 PM

belongs to a racist “Christian” church….

DaveHusseinS on March 3, 2008 at 12:11 PM

I noticed that the Church’s website has removed their own version of “The 10 Black Commandments” – or wahtever the name was. Totally gone from what it was before. The bad part was, I was going there to show it to a Dem. friend. When she saw it was not right there where I said it was, she immediately (serious, or not) claimed that the story was all made up to begin with. I told her I’d find it in “way back” and she declined to look at it because it was probably “fabricated”.

MarkABinVA on March 3, 2008 at 12:18 PM

franksalterego on March 3, 2008 at 12:06 PM

Well said franksalterego! Love the “moronosity” label to the mentality factor of our liberal “nominees of leadership”.

Rovin on March 3, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Prediction: this is not going to end well for anybody, be they Democrats, or Americans.

drunyan8315 on March 3, 2008 at 1:19 PM

The money quote:

Goolsbee disputed the characterization from the conservative government official.

Ah, I get it. It’s just a politically-motivated hit job from the guy who takes notes. Perhaps that’s why the AP didn’t mention the part where the Obama camp first denied a meeting even took place.

Spolitics on March 3, 2008 at 1:58 PM

I’m inclined to believe the Canadians’ version of this event. Obama has already demonstrated that he is willing to lie whenever he believes that a lie will help to advance his political ambitions. The fact that the Obama camp originally denied even having the discussion lends even more credibility to the Canadians’ account.

AZCoyote on March 3, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Damn, that mask of Obama`s keep slipping! lol

ThePrez on March 3, 2008 at 2:28 PM

According to TNR which cites CNN, this is getting a lot of coverage in Ohio.

http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_stump/archive/2008/03/03/nafta-gate-take-two.aspx

ninjapirate on March 3, 2008 at 2:37 PM

So we should become accustomed to the term “Teflon Barack”?

oakpack on March 3, 2008 at 6:53 PM