Obama questions Clinton’s opposition to free trade agreements


Associated Press | April 14, 2008

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Democratic Sen. Barack Obama on Monday questioned rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s opposition to free trade agreements that some voters contend have eliminated thousands of U.S. jobs and mocked her weekend visit to an Indiana bar as pandering to the working class.

“Around election time, the candidates can’t do enough for you,” Obama told a meeting of the Alliance for American Manufacturing on Monday. “They’ll promise you anything, give you a long list of proposals and even come around, with TV crews in tow, to throw back a shot and a beer.”

Clinton did just that at a stop at Bronko’s restaurant in Crown Point, Ind., on Saturday.

The two presidential candidates continued to hammer each other Monday after a weekend of criticism stemming from Obama’s comment that some small-town voters are bitter over their economic circumstances and “cling to guns and religion” as a result. Obama uttered the words at a private fundraiser in San Francisco last week and Clinton has seized on them in seeking the edge in Pennsylvania, which holds its primary April 22.

Obama also chided Clinton about NAFTA and the Colombian trade deal. Despite her opposition, he noted that the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed under her husband’s watch. She opposes the Colombian trade deal even though former President Clinton supports it and her top campaign strategist, Mark Penn, met with Colombian officials to help push for its passage. Penn has since been demoted.

Clinton promises to reform NAFTA

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told manufacturers and union workers on Monday that her husband made mistakes related to the North American Free Trade Agreement that she plans to fix.

Her comment came in response to a question by a union worker at a summit sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. The worker said President Clinton had tricked them when he championed NAFTA during his presidency.

“As smart as my husband is, he does make mistakes,” Clinton said. The Democratic presidential candidate said she would fix problems that have led to job losses, or would tell Canada and Mexico the United States is pulling out of the agreement.

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