Canadian television station CTV has a follow-up report to it’s allegations yesterday that the Obama campaign had contacted Canadian diplomats regarding the candidates attack on NAFTA:
The Obama campaign told CTV late Thursday night that no message was passed to the Canadian government that suggests that Obama does not mean what he says about opting out of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated.
However, the Obama camp did not respond to repeated questions from CTV on reports that a conversation on this matter was held between Obama’s senior economic adviser — Austan Goolsbee — and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago.
Earlier Thursday, the Obama campaign insisted that no conversations have taken place with any of its senior ranks and representatives of the Canadian government on the NAFTA issue. On Thursday night, CTV spoke with Goolsbee, but he refused to say whether he had such a conversation with the Canadian government office in Chicago. He also said he has been told to direct any questions to the campaign headquarters.
And, apparently, Obama’s not the only candidate opening a back channel to our neighbor to the North:
The CTV exclusive also reported that sources said the Clinton campaign has made indirect contact with the Canadian government, trying to reassure Ottawa of their support despite Clinton’s words. The Clinton camp denied the claim. The story caught the attention of Republican front-runner John McCain on Thursday.
ABC News has followed up on the story:
ABC News’ Jennifer Parker spoke to Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economics professor, Thursday who would not confirm or deny that he had a conversation with Georges Rioux, the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago. Rioux, in meetings this week in Ottawa, would also neither confirm nor deny any conversation took place. Both men did say that they know each other.
As I noted yesterday, the Canadian embassy has denied any such communication took place, as has the Obama campaign. But here’s where the cynical side of me gets interested —- if the CTV story is true and the communication was with the Consul General in Chicago, then both the Obama campaign and the Canadian Embassy were telling the truth when they said that there had been no communication with the embassy.
There seems to be something here, and the idea that candidates for President would be communicating with foreign diplomats, even one representing friendly nations, is, to say the least, disturbing.
Here is the CTV television report updating the story: