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More On The Obama/Canada NAFTA Story

by @ 2:00 pm on February 29, 2008. Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Politics

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:

10 Responses to “More On The Obama/Canada NAFTA Story”

  1. nerakami says:

    what’s wrong with this part of your story?

    “I noted yesterday, the Canadian embassy has denied any such communication took place, as has the Obama campaign”…

    You wrote that and then go on to say…. if..

    what kind of journalist are you, where you interject your own theories into the writing. Please come back with a followup once you can categorically say, both have confirmed or even one has confirmed, otherwise…. put a sock in it.

  2. Ron says:

    Obama is trying to have it both ways on this issue. Powerline has some commentary also:

  3. the hed says:

    I bet nerakami didn’t post anything like that in defense of mccain last week.

  4. Debbie says:

    I think the critical part of this story is not so much what the candidate’s positions are on NAFTA, but instead about Obama’s campaign saying one thing in public and another thing behind closed doors. Obama’s campaign is largely based on how he will transcend beyond “politics as usual” and will lead instead with hope, honesty and inspiration. Obama claims his strong suit is his ability to unite people with straight talk and exercise good judgment in spite of what is convenient within the realm of political positioning. If Obama’s platform is true, this closed door meeting between Obama’s top economic advisor Austan Goolsbee and Canadian officials is in direct contradiction with his primary campaign rhetoric. This meeting sounds like the usual political game playing that happens behind the scenes and he’s certainly not being a straight shooter to the American public. Both Obama and Clinton believe in globalization and free trade (both are far from being protectionists). They also agree that NAFTA has not been favorable to certain parts of America, particularly in places like Ohio where thousands of manufacturing jobs have been lost. The Canadian memo has no reason to embellish or misconstrue what was said in the meeting with Goolsbee. The American public and media has been so enthralled with Obama’s speeches that they are not realizing that although inspirational, Obama is still a politician and is not always doing what is “right”- he is doing what is convenient. It is worse that something like this would happen in Obama’s campaign compared to any other candidate because it seems that his whole campaign is based on his holier than now rock star image.

  5. Joan says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the conservative government presently in power in Canada would try to interfere in the process to help McCain win the election.

  6. Excerp from the original story in Feb 28th, 2008 GLOBE AND MAIL;
    “……. Mr. Obama’s rhetoric on the subject may be just that, CTV News reported last night. Citing Canadian sources, the network said that a senior member of Mr. Obama’s campaign team called Canada’s U.S. ambassador, Michael Wilson, within the past month, warning him that Mr. Obama would be taking some “heavy swings” at NAFTA in the campaign.
    “Don’t worry, … it’s just campaign rhetoric, … it’s not serious,” CTV reported the campaign official as saying……”

    Here is the URL to the original story in the GLOBE and MAIL:

    Also from Ohio, the INTERNECINE MATRIX of North East Ohio is the juxtaposition of the real world and the artificial world created by the Syndicate to control and manipulate the North East Ohio Bio-region.

  7. victor says:

    Consulates and Embassies routinely follow political developments in areas they serve. We all know that US Embassies follow elections in places from Pakistan to Russia– even the UK. So Canadian representatives have undoubtedly talked to dozens of workers with the Clinton, Gulliani, Romney, McCain, Edwards, Dodd, etc. campaigns. And they are likely to have talked primarily about issues of interest in Canada — such as NAFSA.

    The only real question is WHY DID THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY GOVERNMENT OF CANADA PUBLICIZE, PERHAPS MISCONSTRUE, A CONVERSATION THEY INITIATED WITH A PRO-OBAMA COLLAGE PROFESSOR — AND AT THIS EXACT TIME? Governments don’t normally blab about contacts of the sort that this is purported to have been!

    Logical theory: Canada’s current government wants McCain to become US President, and have determined that he is bound to beat Hillary. This means sabotaging Obama, the one person who might end the neo-con era in the US.

    Obama should demand that of the Canadian regime that all its contacts with Hillary and McCain supporters be made public NOW!

    The American public should demand that Canada’s Conservative leaders keep out of US politics. Let them know we intend to RENEGOTIATE NAFSA!

  8. Dale Robertson says:

    Canadians are concerned with American politics as it does have a direct effect in our economy. NAFTA can certainly be renegotiated together for our mutual benefit.Canuks are the dear relatives of the north and the people`s choice would be Obama, a more friendly relative,far less threatning. NAFTA doesn`t seem to work for either country it`s no big secret.

  9. Roberto says:

    The timing of this maneuver, and the ease with which the media ran with it is gruesomely chilling. Wake up oh my country!

  10. Joe Canuck says:

    I thought you might be interested in this BLOG
    Obama Issue: Canada’s Ultra Secret American Playbook

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