NAFTA Dancer now says he used “overheated” rhetoric

posted at 6:55 pm on June 18, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The NAFTA Dance continued today as Barack Obama tried to move from populist to centrist within a fortnight of clinching the Democratic nomination.  Earlier, Obama tried wooing heartland voters by saying he would unilaterally opt out of free-trade deals, specifically NAFTA, while his economic adviser whispered to Canadian consular officials that Obama was just indulging in election-year pandering.  Team Obama insisted that Goolsbee was misquoted, but with the nomination in his hands, Obama now admits to the pandering (via Memeorandum)

In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine’s upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn’t want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.

“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,” he answered.

Keeping track of Obama’s positions feels like being a spectator at a table tennis match.  First he wants meetings with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (among others) without preconditions, then he only wants them if they agree to stop sponsoring terrorism and funding militias in Iraq, which sounds a lot like a “precondition” to everyone but Barack Obama.  He wants to pull all the troops out of Iraq, but then tells the Iraqi foreign minister that he will be the second coming of John McCain.  He tells AIPAC that he wants an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and then tells the Palestinians that he wants to divvy it up if that’s what they want.

Now we return to the scene of the first flip-flop to find another.  It’s great that Obama doesn’t exempt himself from being a politician, but wasn’t that the entire point of the Obama campaign — that he wasn’t just another politician?  Now the harbinger of New Politics, the man who would clean up DC, shrugs off an outright lie by calling it “overheated rhetoric”.

If we want just another politician, can we get one with some executive experience, military experience, and/or a legislative track record that exceeds what can be counted on the thumbs of one hand?

Obama wants voters to forget that when this issue first arose in March, Obama doubled down by insisting that the Canadians and Goolsbee had it wrong and that he opposed NAFTA.  Obama’s credibility keeps dissipating with every new day on the campaign trail.   Which Obama are we supposed to believe?  Can someone please strap a thermostat to his mouth to determine when he uses “overheated rhetoric” instead of telling us what he really thinks, if he now claims that a difference exists between the two?


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phew, at least McCain never gets overheated.

kirkill on June 18, 2008 at 6:56 PM

Politicians call it “overheated rhetoric”…

The rest of us call it lieing.

Romeo13 on June 18, 2008 at 7:03 PM

Too late, too many saw the original, and have video. Lying is lying, even if the Obamamessiah tells them.

tarpon on June 18, 2008 at 7:08 PM

Ed, you said it perfectly a month or so ago when you said that he has surpassed gaffes and is simply looking like a doofus.

I foresee a mock SNL debate in several months where McCain looks at the debate audience and utters “I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy.”

LeaningRt. on June 18, 2008 at 7:11 PM

It is really difficult to listen to him. His voice is so reasonable and so hypnotic, you find yourself struggling to understand what it is he just said, because it seems to contradict what he said the moment before.

Then you get one of his campaign representatives saying something so blatantly false it stops you dead in your tracks.
Then they deny they just said it.

You can not engage them in conversation, because it is not a reality based conversation.

rockhauler on June 18, 2008 at 7:16 PM

Yup, you might be a dhimmicrat when you lie coming and going and no-one in the party or MSM notices.

4shoes on June 18, 2008 at 7:16 PM

If McCain is Bush III then Obama is the first multiple choice candidate: Obama I,II,III and IV.

I mean, how many iterations of one candidate can there be?

SteveMG on June 18, 2008 at 7:25 PM

liar liar pants on fire

Terrye on June 18, 2008 at 7:38 PM

Keeping track of Obama’s positions feels like being a spectator at a table tennis match.

This is a stinging post. Bounce shmounce Obama is having a very bad week, seems like every second week he’s having a bad week, wow.. maybe he’s just a bad candidate.

I’m confused about his base though, usually by now they are frothing at the mouth when the politickers abandon the talking points. When do they wake up to the fact that all the ‘change’ until now has come at their expense? Obama knows baseball all right, he’s running from ‘home base’ to third at full speed lol

saus on June 18, 2008 at 7:40 PM

So to get the Dem nomination he’ll say one thing, and then to capture the center he’ll say the exact opposite. How, exactly, is this change?

rbj on June 18, 2008 at 8:06 PM

Always an excuse.

mikeyboss on June 18, 2008 at 8:18 PM

You folks are all racist for noticing his lies.

Harpazo on June 18, 2008 at 8:33 PM

Too harsh, Ed. Once again, Allah says Obama is getting a bum rap in 5, 4, 3, …

Jaibones on June 18, 2008 at 8:33 PM

Obama~ his position is your position!

Every promise he makes is just as good as every other one!

Barack: The Man Who Never Is.

profitsbeard on June 18, 2008 at 8:34 PM

Obama for Change!

Let’s change the way business is done in Washington to the way it’s done in Chicago!

I guess the difference between Obama and McCain is that McCain is a Cola-Nut and Obama is an UnCola-Nut. Obama is Larger, Juicier, Prettier and Nuttier.

jaime on June 18, 2008 at 9:28 PM

“Hold me closer, NAFTA dancer…..

Count the illegals on the highway…..

Lay them down in democratic precincts…

You had a busy day today…”

drjohn on June 18, 2008 at 9:45 PM

“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” Hillary suckers you into revealing your stupidity.

Maquis on June 18, 2008 at 10:09 PM

“Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,”

And that makes you a different kind of politician how? Way to transcend.

Grafted on June 18, 2008 at 10:41 PM

I foresee a mock SNL debate in several months where McCain looks at the debate audience and utters “I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy.”

LeaningRt. on June 18, 2008 at 7:11 PM

i imagine they have this scenario in the works but its hillary not able to believe that she did lose to this guy!

chasdal on June 19, 2008 at 12:56 AM

Obama: “..actually, I said it because I heard it on Fox news.”

Lunkinator on June 19, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Hold me closer, NAFTA dancer…..

Count the illegals on the highway…..

Lay them down in democratic precincts…

You had a busy day today…”

drjohn on June 18, 2008 at 9:45 PM

Sweet!

Kevin in Southern Illinois on December 1, 2008 at 6:47 PM