August 7th, 2007
10:25 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama slip on Canada

(CNN) – For the second time in recent debates, the mention of world leaders has attracted attention to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

At Tuesday night’s AFL-CIO forum in Chicago, Obama was asked if he would scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement as president. The senator from Illinois said, “I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the president of Canada, to try to amend NAFTA, because I think that we can get labor agreements in that agreement right now.”

The only problem is Canada has a prime minister, not a president.

And just in case anybody missed Obama’s slip, Senator Joe Biden noted, “Hey, look, the president's job is to create jobs, not to export jobs. And the idea that we are not willing to take the prime minister of Canada and the president of Mexico to the mat to make this agreement work is just a lack of presidential leadership. I would lead. I would do that. I would change it.”

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Joe Biden • Race to '08
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Wallace, Philly PA

    Who cares that he called Canada's leader a President and not a Prime Minister. He's not perfect and he doesn't try to be. What else will CNN come up with to go against Obama?

    August 7, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  2. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Gimme a break. The dude is talking in front of 15 thousand people. He looked incredibly poised and confident, btw. He was speaking about the issues, to an American audience that associates the word president with leader. If we're going to start mincing words that closely, Bush would have been impeached long before now.

    August 7, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  3. VM, San Diego, CA

    Oh no, Obama misspoke! I'd better switch my support to Biden, or better yet, to your favorite, Hillary. I'll get right on that, as soon as the twelfth of never rolls around. I don't see anything here about Biden blowing off that question from the Sago widow, which is the flub real people are talking about right now. Could it be that you guys are bending over backwards to continue smearing Obama as a neophyte? God knows the world would spin off its axis if you stopped pushing Hillary for five minutes. WE DON'T WANT HER.

    August 7, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  4. chris, hampton,va

    What about Hillary saying presidents shouldnt say what they think if theyre running for president? That is more troubling than what Obama said about Canada.

    August 7, 2007 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  5. Sneaky, Cincinnati, OH

    OMG! Obama called him a president instead of prime minister. Stop the presses! He might as well get out of the race now.

    Please write something that's actually newsworthy.

    August 7, 2007 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  6. Give me a break, IL


    Everyone makes mistakes. This country elected one as the most powerful person in the world who does it every 2 seconds.

    August 7, 2007 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  7. Benson, Florida

    Well, I don't know about you, but I think this man's ready to lead not only this country, but the world. He handles foreign affairs so well. Why would anyone question his ability?

    August 7, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. Kevin NH

    mmmmh, Editor Steve are you getting sleepy at your desk there or is this the best topic you could think about? How about Clintons unapologetic championing of Lobbyist, or Dodd and Biden ganging up with clinton to attack Obama?..Or are you just doing the bidding for your candidate of choice?

    August 7, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  9. Renee st>louis mo

    Look this is rediculous cnn.
    What about Clintons Statement "but remember you shouldn’t always say everything you think if you’re running for president,

    August 7, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  10. Carl, MD

    Kudos for this insightful post. Now can you come up with topics worth discussing.

    August 7, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  11. Had Enough, AZ

    Is that all ya got?? I have another news flash for you...CNN used to be a respected news source, not any more.

    August 7, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  12. JimmieFromDayton

    Neither the Clinton News Network nor any other of the MSM can stop this movement. This is the people's movement. You won't decide this election. Senator Obama is the peoples' candidate!

    August 8, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  13. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    wow CNN...could your bias be any more obvious?

    August 8, 2007 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  14. Gil, Chicago IL

    I don't think Obama is even aware that Canada has a Parliamentary form of government. This is a shame that he doesn't know this. He pretends to "know it all" but the truth is, he bluffs and people are not dumb not to notice this. GO Hillary!!!

    August 8, 2007 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  15. Sacramento, California

    Steve, you could certainly get a career out of pointing out what seems important to you... I am sure that was the only thing you heard Obama say today... Americans are smarter than that, am sure you have been paid to spin as much as you can, get real Steve, get real with the American people...

    August 8, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  16. Thom, Geneva Il

    Wonderful article, thank God you caught this. I mean, in a time when the President of the United States is expanding his powers in a way that is directly opposite the constitution, and giving powers to other members of his staff that are outside any system of checks and balances, what could be more important than a presidential candidate saying "President" rather than "Prime Minister" in the middle of a live presidential debate? Certainly that slip is more important than the actual content of his response. Excellent catch CNN, keep raking in the, giving us our snooze...uh, well, you get the idea.

    August 8, 2007 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. Chris, Buffalo NY

    I wish CNN would find it fitting to report every slip of the tongue that our current president has had too.

    I give Obama props on making a sentence that is grammatically correct and has meaning regardless of slight error; he's already got our current administration beat.

    August 8, 2007 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  18. Chris, Charleston, SC

    Please CNN! are you serious? Out of all the important points made in the debate, you pick this very small thing out? If we went through that debate with a fine tooth comb I bet every single canidate would have had something, it's the nature of live telivsion and live debate. That's it, nothing more to it. What happened to solid sustanstial news coverage over real issues?

    August 8, 2007 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  19. Jay, Charlotte NC

    Man, CNN is really trying to find anything to attack Obama. First they don't notice that Barack is tied or leading in the early state polls, now this.

    August 8, 2007 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  20. Touley, Lowell MA

    How can Obama lead if he doesn't even know that Canada elected prime minister not president. I wonder if he even know Canada prime minister's name???????????.

    August 8, 2007 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  21. SF, CA

    Bush was ignorant of the world while running for Presidency. Obama is the same looks like.

    Saying things for the sake of saying to increase electability makes it sound disingenious.

    August 8, 2007 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  22. Tressa Turner, Geneva NY

    Isn't there a viable Democratic candidate anywhere in this country? The Democrats have the presidency basically handed to them in the 2008 election and this is the best they can do? C'mon, we need a leader, not a playground brat.

    August 8, 2007 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  23. Kevin Nolen Wasilla Alaska

    This guy is too much fun!

    August 8, 2007 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  24. Tom Fredericksburg Virginia

    Are you sure about this ?,,,,,,let's go to the videotape. I heard Obama say the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of Mexico.

    August 8, 2007 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  25. Amy, TN

    This is hilarious! I'm going to start agreeing with you guys who call CNN the Clinton News Network. They'll take a bite out of Obama anyway they can won't they? They really hate this guy. His answer to the question made absolutely no sense BTW....I don't think he understood the question. I for one would like a straight answer on the question of the North American Union myself. Besides terrorism and the illegal aliens invading our country, this is one of he biggest threats to the American people that we face today.

    August 8, 2007 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
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