March 6th, 2008
02:20 PM ET
6 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. Terry

    This report has Obama's fingerprints all over it. This is a red herring to through us off track. He used his connection with the Candian government and tv stations to attempt smear Clinton. This is typical Obama.

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. truth be told

    james –

    i hope obama's considering hillary for the vp slot is not true, for our sake! she is way too negative, carries a lot of baggage and with the impending lawsuit against her will be sure cannon fodder for the republicans.

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. dmw

    How interesting that this comes out. I do not believe it at all. Let the Canadians tell us who in the Clinton camp contacted them. I bet you they will say they are mistaken.

    Obama is not a change agent.

    March 6, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. zolie

    She threw the kitchen sink without checking who's sink it was. Guess we're finally getting to see the contents of Hillary's sink. I wish it had happened before Ohio, but America is going to wake up now!

    March 6, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. JC, IL

    Why is this not this not being reported by CNN, I had to watch Obama take hits for this for an entire week on the news. Time for CNN to step up & report this.

    March 6, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. SY

    Will CNN please inform the public of this!!!! I am an independent and am not sure between Obama and McCain. But I do know that I would NEVER vote for Clinton – based on the fact that I CANNOT and WILL NOT put my trust and faith in her. CNN needs to let the public know about this issue and what the true meaning is behind all of this. It is the only fair and just stance to take. CNN – PLEASE MAKE THIS MORE WIDELY KNOWN!

    March 6, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. tt,NY

    Eduard, you are an idiot an ignorant I bet you are an uneducated guy
    a real son of a B .....

    March 6, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Truth & Justice for ALL

    Isn't it odd that Slick Willy was in Canada visiting his GIRLFRIEND who works in the Canadian Parlament JUST prior to the "leak"???
    Is anyone sick of the Clinton machine yet???

    March 6, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Village boy in Italy

    35 years of dirty politics – no wonder Al Gore keeps his distance, only dream ticket is Obama and Al Gore

    March 6, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Thank God for the Canadian government!

    March 6, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Paul

    Obama should unite the party by admitting that he is not ready to lead our nation

    Hillary will be our Nominee,

    Obama should start investing an equal ammount of money on his campaign . It will show America that without double spending he cannot cause a significant impact in those people, including me who understand that he is simply not ready to lead our nation.
    Hillary can make a great difference and Obama could be a potential good Vice President. Obama can learn as a VP and eventually become our President.

    This election is not about race , gender or SES, it is about the future of our loved nation.

    Live to America and

    Hillary for President!!!

    Hillary 08- President of the United States of America

    March 6, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Edward

    Please moderator post this piece for me.

    A good campaign for most of us around the world watching is being ruined by hypocricy. A lot of us around the world view this election as the one that would make America big again after 8yrs of its plummeting friendship around the world. All the onous is on America to 'turn the page' , borrowing from Obama.

    America cannot expect the world to follow them as Senator McCain says when clearly we all see the divisive politics in play. You all must know that it's because of this kind of politicis that the genocides and the deaths around the world takes its root. So many people around the world look to a practice of democracy through American eye but believe me the age of information technology is opening the realities to us.

    I must say that the approach by the Obama and McCain camps have been very encouraging. They are more concerned with the issues. Voters may make up their minds on that basis but the kitchen sink throwing tactics of Hillary Clinton camp simply sets us backward. I only wish you would realize that to show fairness is what will win you back the sceptics around the world rather than your tactics of not talking to people, or forcing them to follow what you want them to do to win your friendship. Show us your sense of unity, equallity, democratic prinicipals based on realitity and not lies and hypocricy then once again you will lead and the world will follow.

    London, UK

    March 6, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Michael

    Hillary can no longer win the election. It's the math stupid

    March 6, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |

    CNN tisk tisk shame on you for doing this \, i guess letting this true story hang in the back ground until the voting was over seems underhanded by your new network .Being the person as i am i knew something wasnt right,, #1 why would Obama talk to Canada he hasnt gotten that muchpower all of a sudden. so i knew the ole Clinton okiee doke machine was hard at work in the back ground work heres your chance to get back your status tell the truth about this story

    March 6, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Brian

    The truly sad thing about all of this is that even if these disgusting political knife fighting tactics from the Clinton campaign work and she receives the nomination, she will in all likelihood get trounced by McCain in the general election. I hope Democrats currently supporting her wake up, because the majority of independent and conservative voters will make sure she never sees the inside of the White House again.

    March 6, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Michelle

    This is a great article. I can't believe Hillary supporters are this stupid. Poor Ohio for getting duped. Should have researched your facts before voting. There is the internet where you can find an answer to any question possible. You should have used this great tool.

    March 6, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Don Gamet

    Shame on Her

    How is it the Cintons,can get away with so many things ?

    Yet, no one goes after them ,by the Law... Why ?

    Why ? Would anyone in there right mind allow, this junk, to happen

    again ... ( lies,deception,staling from the White House )

    Just ! Look at past events.

    Hillary, just got caught again.

    Records prove from yhe year 2000,till now...

    March 6, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. James

    "Ahhh, I did not have phone relations with that Canadian"

    She speaks, she lies. No wonder half the country can't stand her!

    March 6, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Strong

    Obama camp said the meeting never took place. Later on, they said it did indeed take place. The NAFTA conversation took place, but it was "mischaracterized". Suddenly, oh wait, it was from the Clinton camp without bothering to find out the when, what or who.... Just blame the Clinton camp. According to the report above, the Clinton camp says name the time, date, and the person. Till you do so, one is compelled to believe this whole thing is damage control and muddying the waters. I do not buy it at all.

    March 6, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. tt,NY

    To NYC, NY, New Yorker
    Who cares about whom you're gonna vote for .......
    Based on what you just wrote I conclude you're a DEAF guy, your ears must NOT be working properly
    Have you watched the OHIO debate ???
    He said "I denounced and rejected" the Louis Farrakhan support

    March 6, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. liza powell

    would hillary denied that bill made trip to kazakshtan with canadian magnate, frank giustra, that netted giustra $ 3 billion dollars and bill's foundation a $131 million contribution from giustra and why she is taking donation from little people for her campaign fund when bill have all this money stash away? this is the reason why shes not releasing her tax return . liza in vegas

    March 6, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. DEdwards

    Can we please get our facts straight. 1) the Farrakhan issue should be dead, but since someone wants to continue it... 2) Obama didn't and doesn't support Farrakhan. Where have you been? You need to read a little more before posting comments like that.

    March 6, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Stephanie, PA

    Shame on you Senator Clinton!

    March 6, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. GGamma

    Clinton campaign is hypocrisy

    March 6, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Stacy Clarks, Texas



    STOP THE HATE, VOTE OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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