Chuck Todd: My, Hillary's being awfully quiet on trade these days

Hillary Clinton and her team may have decided to reboot her campaign on Saturday in order to get all the buzz on the Sunday talk shows, but that strategy may not have panned out very well. Despite the “reboot,” Hillary had very little to say except for an exceedingly strange and ironic reference to the song “Yesterday,” to which the Marco Rubio campaign immediately blasted a response:

This wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark by Hillary, but a planned “bit” to slam the new generation of Republicans as clinging to the past … as she prepares to run a nostalgia-based campaign that will undoubtedly lean heavily on the economic record of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, from two decades ago. Most of the millenials Hillary intended to reach with that remark weren’t born when the Beatles recorded “Yesterday” fifty years ago this month; in fact, some of their parents might not have yet been born at that time.

The rest of the speech was remarkably content-free too. Hillary kept referring to herself as a “fighter,” but said little about what agenda she would fight to impose. Hillary said almost nothing about foreign policy and trade, her area of expertise in the Obama administration, despite both of those being hot topics in general and the latter being even hotter among progressives in her own party. NBC’s Chuck Todd pressed Hillary adviser John Podesta on why Hillary hasn’t committed to a position on TPP/TPA:

Podesta insisted that there’s been “no tougher negotiating partner” than Hillary with “our trading partners,” but Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State is notably bereft of trade agreements, which makes that claim difficult to test. She did conclude the free-trade agreement with Colombia that George W. Bush started and tried to get through a Democratic Senate with no luck, but that deal also correlated with contributions to the Clinton Foundation from a donor who profited from the trade agreement, as Peter Schweizer noted in his book Clinton Cash.

Todd doesn’t buy the “wait and see” position Podesta peddles here, for two good reasons. First, the issue at the moment isn’t just the TPP agreement, but whether Obama can be trusted with the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) fast-track authority to reach the deal. Progressives in Hillary’s party vehemently oppose it and want the agreement to get fully vetted by the Senate on its return rather than fast-tracked to an up-or-down vote. Where’s Hillary on TPA? Second, Hillary was Secretary of State during the early part of the negotiations, and spoke repeatedly about her favorable opinion of it when she had insight into the negotiations. Todd reads the statements and the dates to Podesta and asks how she can reasonably be expected to remain on the fence on a treaty she once called “the gold standard.” Podesta responds by insisting that she has concerns about the “corporations” benefitting — the same corporations that shoveled hundreds of millions of dollars into her family foundation.

This may have been a reboot, but it’s still the same old Hillary.