March 6th, 2008
02:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Clinton campaign denies Canadian report on NAFTA comments

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton’s campaign is denying a Canadian report Thursday that suggests her campaign called representatives of that nation’s government to re-assure them that despite campaign rhetoric, they would not seek changes to NAFTA – an allegation they used against Barack Obama’s campaign in the days leading up to Tuesday’s critical primary votes.

"Unlike the Obama campaign, we can and do flatly deny this report and urge the Canadian government to reveal the name of anyone they think they heard from,” Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement.

Shortly before the Ohio primary, the Canadian network CTV broadcast a report that Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee had told officials with the Canadian consulate in Chicago that the campaign would not look to alter the trade agreement, even though the Illinois senator had pledged to do so.

That report became a lightning rod on the campaign trail in Ohio, where NAFTA is deeply unpopular.

The Canadian government has said it is investigating the source of the leak. The Canadian Press reported Thursday that the comment that sparked the original story may have come from Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Ian Brodie – and that his remark had implicated Clinton’s campaign, not Obama’s.

The Thursday story also said CTV’s Washington bureau had initially decided to report on Clinton. The New York senator was mentioned in the final report, but it focused on Obama’s aide.

The Canadian Press said government officials did not deny the conversation took place, but that Brodie denied discussing either candidate.

Earlier this week, the Obama campaign admitted Goolsbee and consulate officials had spoken, but not under the direction of the campaign, and said that a leaked Canadian government memo implying otherwise had mischaracterized the substance of the discussion.

On Monday, the Canadian Embassy in Washington issued a statement on the controversy that “there was no intention to convey, in any way, that Senator Obama and his campaign team were taking a different position in public from views expressed in private, including about NAFTA.”

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
soundoff (448 Responses)
  1. Kevin, Louisville, Ky

    Anb Bill Clinton was in Canada ..last weekend ...what did he say ( afterall he talks a lot)

    March 6, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. JH

    Finally! Please... CNN, keep investigating...

    Hillary's campaign gave the wink, wink to Canada over NAFTA, then to cover her behind, quickly turned around and screamed "HE DID IT!!!"...

    Disgusting...

    Also, can some reporter please find the quote where Obama denied any meeting took place at all? People have been saying he lied, but if I recall correctly, the initial report was that someone in his camp had contacted Canada over the issue, which turned out not to be true. So, his denying of that report was honest. Is there something I'm missing?

    March 6, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. R.M.

    OMG!!! and I thought it would be over now.. I think we are just getting warmed up. Let's now open the flood gates of all the ill doings of Hillary the witch

    March 6, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. Sam

    I told you not to vote for her!

    Don't let that double sided smile fool you. These two are the most crooked couple I've seen since Bonnie & Clyde.

    Well incase you didn’t see my last post. PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON. SHE IS A CROOK.

    Google – Paul vs Clinton

    By the way McBush is out too.

    March 6, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Kevin

    Obama supporters how young and naive you are !

    Can't win the election without florida or ohio. Simple fact !!!!

    Obama won't win Fl, Hillary proved that he won't win Ohio.

    Besides once the Resko trial drops the O bomb he's finished

    Bye Bye Barack. Hope all you young people that sent him money which you couldn't afford to send get a refund!!

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Farren Ballanst

    This load was obviously put out there by the Obama campaign. How stupid do they think you are?

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Sara

    I wonder how Clinton keeps all her lies straight.

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. andrea, Illinois

    Just too bad this is coming out 3 days too late!
    It doesn't surprise me at all though, typical Clinton! Hope America sees now, that they DO NOT belong in the White House!
    SHAME ON YOU HILLARY, you're on of the reasons why people do not believe politicians any more
    Just disgusting

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Ed K.

    Obama is up to his neck and all the HOPE in this world will not save him. Anyone for more Kool-Aid?

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Patrick, Fl

    I am extremely dismayed but not particularly surprised by this turn of events. I, for one, have never been a big fan of the Clintons mainly because I have always believed that their sole purpose is the advancement of their own self interests without regard to ethics, morals, principle or any "higher" sentiment.

    I guess this just proves that my feelings were not misplaced.

    I, too, will vote for McCain if she is the Democratic nominee. I feel I could never trust the Clintons to make the right decisions for this country again. At least with McCain what you see is what you get even if many of his policies are misplaced.

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Debby

    Oh come on this is so stupid he said she said. The fact is the Obama camp screwed up and got caught.

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. t

    DNC step in and do something. this is out of control.

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. John

    It's all downhill for Clinton from here. Wait until the media start digging and find that Clinton's campaign was behind NAFTAgate...We need integrity in the WH! Obama 08!

    March 6, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Michael

    Canada seems to be trying to make amends to the Obama camp for being forced to tell the truth by the Clinton camp when they got caught going behind Ohioans backs. Great job, Team Clinton!

    Now they are trying to spin this disaster of a policy backdoor decision by Obama and his surrogates. We have his domestic policy advisor by name – Goolsbee, meeting with Canadian officials. Give me the name of the Clinton person. Was it a male of female? What is their phone number? Where did this occur? Just like we thought – snake oil.
    Just say Nobama. They are defensive and paranoid, just like their candidate.

    Hillary for President. Pennsylvannia is yours!

    March 6, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. plaforce

    Why is this not a bigger headline???????

    If I was part of Obama's camp, I would be shouting from the roof tops about this. To add to all this garbage she is throwing out there for us to hear, she calls him Carl Rove or Ken Starr when he thorws a jab back at her. She started with the dirty tricks, so take your gloves off Obama and give her a K/O!!

    Go Obama!!!!!!!!
    We want a fresh president, not a stale has been.

    March 6, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Bill W

    Let's read the pages of Clinton's book, where she talks about NAFTA, and how great it was.

    March 6, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. John Stevens

    Let the FACTS be found out – before the blood-letting.

    Although I may have problems with Obama as the nominee, I believe name-calling on either side will end up hurting the Democratic chances in November – both for the Presidency and Congress.

    March 6, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. cct

    I do not believe any of the above. I do not believe Hillary was behind Canadian leak about obama.
    If anyone believes she was behind it, then we have to believe Obama is behind this one. Then where is the truth?
    I do not believe Obama. Too much sneaking around, too much of weakness there.

    How about his lawyer breaking in Hillary's conference call? How is this decent?

    Big dark cloud is obstructing people's clarity of thinking.

    If people of this country are so divided, can we have freshly new better person to be a perfect delegate?

    March 6, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. Pete in Canada

    I can't beleve some of you folks seem to just be waking up to the Clinton playbook!!
    This is the kind of crap that Obama has been trying (too politely) to warn you about for months!
    It was never the Canadian Government's inention to damage Mr. Obama and as a Canadian I feel awful that this garbage has done precisely that. Mr. Harper is a man of great integrity and personal ethical values. He WILL get to the bottom of this mess and I am pretty confident that Hillary will be on the bottom of THAT ticket!

    March 6, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Dan Hussein Smith, TX

    SHAME ON YOU HILLARY!

    OHIO and TEXAS, she fooled you good!

    Hey Pennsylvania, are you going to be fooled too?

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Linda, Washington DC

    Yeesh! A right-wing Canadian conspiracy out to besmirch the Clintons squeaky-clean reputations. Just wait, the Clinton attack dogs are just geting started. When the Clintons are done we will all feel just a little down and very dirty. It's the Clinton way.

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Jon

    This is a huge story. Why is it hidden? Kudos to CNN for being the first mainstream to report it, but why not more coverage?

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Farren Ballanst

    *STAVY* ...if that's your real name...

    Make up your mind please. Are you saying that Hillary was not truly active in politics, not a player? If that's the case, how was she responsible for losing the house and senate.

    Please: DON'T DRINK AND POST.

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. OBAMA 2008

    SHAME ON YOU HILLARY CLINTON!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. Jazz

    Nice try Canada. Too late. If that were the case, you would have explained it then. Even Obama couldn't keep the story straight last week. Looks like the Canadian government is trying to censure it's media for telling the truth. ..forgot about the actual memo turning up I guess. Real Democrats Don't Quit!!!!

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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