Obama's NAFTA Dance: Goolsbee "misquoted"

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)