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. linda

    Finally, this is reported. This is awful! She and her vicious cronies are so deceitful. It is despicable the way they conduct themselves. Say or do anything and I mean anything just to try to win. Do we really want more of this in the White House?

    March 6, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. HOPE

    Those who support Obama follow and believe in his message of hope.

    Those who voted for Hillary in Ohio HOPED she would bring jobs to them and believed in her attacks on Obama re: his position on NAFTA. They HOPE Hillary will bring back all the jobs lost due in part to Nafta, but also because of the changing world economies and technological change.

    Either way, voters from both sides are HOPING things will be better for them and their families should their candidate be the president.

    So who can say "HOPE IS AN EMPTY PROMISE?"

    Voters who support Hillary are hoping as hard as they can humanly hope that she will bring what they want from their "president" - more power for women, jobs to the blue collar workers, affordable healthcare for all.

    So why does Clinton and her supporters claim HOPE is an empty word? To hope is to be human.

    March 6, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Marguerite Nash

    That's strange. Bill Clinton was in Canada the night before all this NAFTA stuff came out. HELLO!!!!!

    March 6, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. JON

    Why not report on Paul Vs. Clinton. She has to testify in October for election fraud. Look it up for yourselves. Just google it. Its no secret. This is the most insanley undereported story of the campaign!!!!

    March 6, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Pat M Canada

    Well as a Canadian I would like to say that Prime Minister Stephen Harper should keep a closer watch on his Chief of Staff and Aides. And also on their Memos – FOR Security Purposes!

    Memos or other correspondence should not be leaked number one! This is Government after all who handles our hard paying dollars and makes all decisions concerning our citizens, programs and country. THE WORD PRIVATE as it relates to documents seems to have lost it's meaning on Sussex Drive!

    And while I'm on the topic....I hope the Honourable Stephen Harper and the New President of the USA will find a way and means for the USA to uphold the laws they agreed to when NAFTA was put in force. Consequently that the US will pay the $400,000 they owe Canada regarding trade fees/tariffs etc that have to date been appealed by the USA for years !!!!

    Politics in any Nation leaves much to be desired!


    March 6, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Yolanda Wiggins

    People know these incidents of releasing false reports aren't coincidence. Yet, they are still being swayed by a negative, conniving campaign on Clinton's part. Why are people being bamboozled?

    March 6, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Quinn

    I knew it. The story didn't just fall out of the sky. Neither did the Obama photo in the African wear. Both were perfectly timed for a candidate that desperately needed to make some noise before Ohio.

    It's amazing to me that everyone is asking whether Obama should use the same dirty tactics as Hillary. Why does everyone (including her supporters) just accept her negative campaigning as just "normal" for her. NO ONE expects any better from her. No matter what she says or does, her supporters just say "You Go Girl." I just don't get it. Is winning all that matters to Hillary and her supporters?

    I hope Obama will stay on the high road. That's why I admire and repect him. Let Hillary continue to do her thing. People will get tired of hearing the angry old lady talk more about her opponent than herself.

    Obama 08!

    Yes We Can!

    March 6, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    CNN: Why did you allow that racist remark by the ignorant called Eduard?

    March 6, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Ron, Las Vegas

    Again miss information. NYC, NY, New Yorker how do you say that Obama supports Farrakhan when he has denounced and rejected him? Also, your use of names shows your ignorance.

    March 6, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. clare

    so obama was the leader of change and clean politics eh? ROFLAMO the guy is as dirty as everybody else....and a coward. He gets other people to do his negativity. so he can later play the rethorics that he "never" went negative.

    obama is a liar liar liar

    March 6, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. EFabian

    You Obama fanaticals are dilusional. This story was reported in Canada last week (I should know I saw it and I am in Toronto right now) and Hillary clearly stated she knows nothing of this and they want the Canadian press to RELEASE the names.

    Obama on the other hand was caught in a lie. He lied, she didn't . Get over it people. You are making your devine candidate look bad.

    March 6, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. Leslie Somerville, Seattle, Washington

    I am beginning to absolutely hate Barack Obama. If they want to go negative do it.. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CLINTON PISSED–WELL, SHE IS GOING TO BE. Hillary has millions and millions backing her presidency as so does Barack. This is way too nasty.

    March 6, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. Jared

    Guess you see why better educated Americans favour Obama. Unfortunately, those with less education, and evidentally, with less common sense flock to Hillary like bees on honey....because they believe everything they hear. Good job, Ohio – your golden girl cares as much about reforming NAFTA as you believed Obama did. Way to make your vote

    March 6, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. AJ, IL


    March 6, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Leslie Somerville, Seattle, Washington

    This is a sick, putrid mess–I am voting for McCain. At least I will feel safe in this country and hopefully he can get a good economics VP.

    March 6, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Willis




    March 6, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. JF

    Wait, let me get this straight. Members of the Clinton campaign conspired with a foreign government to intentionally mislead American voters, and at the same time, did what they falsely accused the Obama campaign of doing, and this isn't on the front page of CNN? What are you waiting for?

    March 6, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Ron B.

    In the fevered rush to find something, anything, to sully Senator Obama's reputation it appears CNN ran with an un-vetted story. You know what happened to Dan Rather and CBS when they did the same. You guy's are better than this.

    Phoenix, AZ

    March 6, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Rav

    I am a Hillary supporter and this news is very upseting. My trust is shaken.

    March 6, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Oh Canada

    Put down the kool-aid
    Obama campaign denied meeting with anyone and then they later admitted it.
    You can now pick up the kool-aid

    March 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. JB

    Isn't this thing moderated? Why allow Eduard to post this tripe...?

    March 6, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. Ben

    Clare, what are you whining about? He is doing no more than Senator Clinton has done. Get your facts straight.

    March 6, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Dayahka

    What a flat out scummy person Hillary is. She makes George Bush appear as a boy scout. How much longer do we have to put up with this nonsense?

    March 6, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. James, CA

    I have a few question that I would like CNN to address. What has the Canadian government have to do with our election? How did Hillary get hold of that memo? Is this a plot from the Hillary campaign? Did the Canadian government decide to blackmail Obama just because he would adjust NAFTA to favor the US? There are some many questionable issues here.

    March 6, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Jesse, Cleveland

    I'm shocked Jack. I voted for Clinton in Ohio thinking that Obama was behind the NAFTA wink–but now I realize that I was wrong and it was the very person that I voted for. I've got buyers remorse now and want my vote back!!

    March 6, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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