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. Allen

    I'd say that ohio would have loved to have known this before the primarys....

    This is what you'll get from billary in office.... God I can't believe what a crooked liar she is...

    March 6, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. tito

    Ooooops! Bad Billary, she got caught again! But it must be conspiracy against her by the evildoers! Sorry, we don’t need a leader that keeps deceiving us! Leaders take responsibility and don’t blame evildoers!

    March 6, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. JR, PA

    CNN – could you find out more about this new allegation about Obama? The allegation was that he had a sexual relation with a man from Minnesota. Right now he is being silenced by DNC, Mr. Obama himself and some Mr. Axelrod. Please look at this issue. Thank you.

    March 6, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. Political Jonze

    This is really getting play in Canada. Go to yahoo.ca or whatever – it's everywhere. It was rather obvious when the leak came out at the exact opportune time for Hillary- 2-3 days before the vote. Knowing that even if it was later exposed, the Ohio damage would already be done and it's a long time before the Penn primaries and it would be long forgotten or a dead issue. I would hope that the super delegates stand up and take notice if this proves to be true. Obama wins the delegate count in Texas and loses in Ohio because of political trickery. Put her out of her misery before she brings down the whole party.

    March 6, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. RO

    I don't see why this is a big deal. If Clinton's campaign talked to the Canadian consulate, they should back it up with the name of person they spoke with. They haven't. Until then, Obamamaniacs should stay calm. There might be a reason why the NYT decided to go with the Obama story instead (because they had evidence).

    March 6, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. rayjay

    How can a candidate get so close to the Prime Minister of Canada> If you think he can, better learn about Canada and stop listening to poeple like the Clinton team who don't know what the word truth is
    Stop crapping and saying stupid things this is your country thats at stake in this election

    March 6, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Susah

    Hillary wants to be president by any means necessary. No country outside of the U S will respect her. they can see what she is doing. they are not going to trust nothing that she say or do. she is not good for the American people as president.

    March 6, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. serah

    When will the Clinton campaign learn to be ethical at least for the sake of America? it was sad to see journalist seat in the rest room and now the lies that are all over the place?

    March 6, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. just me

    I think Hillary's whole agenda is to win at any cost and trust in the general unwillingness of ,unfortunately, many voters to look beyond the superficial and to question what they hear. If New York is any indication of what the rest of the country has to look forward to should she win- then get ready for no new meaningful jobs, deteriorating schools, pot holes everywhere, family farms disappearing and sky high taxes. Whooo-Hooo!!

    (Obama in 08!!)

    March 6, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. S.E. Croft

    Holy crap! She swiftboated one of her own.

    That must really endear her to those superdelegates.

    March 6, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. Clinton is a fraud

    CNN! CNN!! CNN!! Please come out with the news on NAFTA-GATE....It is on MSNBC......The truth is finally coming out...
    It was the Clintons that contacted Candian government and NOT Obama's.

    FOR GOD's SAKE, Please say the TRUTH...stop being afraid of the Clintons.

    March 6, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Arkansas Undertaker

    My how thw mighty has fallen.....SHAME ON YOU HILLARY CLINTON!!!

    The Obama Campagn needs to run with this one!

    Obama 08

    March 6, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. Joyce, NY

    The problem I have with Obama is how squeeky clean he tries (along with his supporters) to present himself and his campaign.

    If he is so innocent about the NAFTA -gate news – why did he not react to it quickly enough. He appeared rattled for at least a day that the leak went out. He had denied a meeting took place only to be proven wrong.

    Rezco, no meetings on European subcommittee, Senate performance. I mean come on. Sounds very typical politician to me. What change?

    March 6, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. An Agnostic Democrat

    Typical Clintonian hypocrisy and victim baiting.

    March 6, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. RobNSF

    That's a confusing article. What exactly are you saying happened?

    March 6, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. Calvin F, Ohio

    Most of you people are very funny..I hate Mrs Clinton so much that Iwill definitely jump at anytime I'm given a chance! It reminds me so much of the Duke case..I'm willing to bet, that most , jumped on that bandwagon. We know nothing about Obama and the media haven't even tried to find out..We truly don't know anything bad about Mrs Clinton but we are willing to lie and believe whatever suit us at the time! I wonder waht the excuses or denila will be later...Sad

    March 6, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. JayEll

    TX Richardson,

    That's hilarious. The Obama campaign said the report was false. The Canadian gov't said the report was false. This article shows the report was false and clearly implicates Clinton. . .and yet you accuse Obama of being a liar and manufacturing stories? Why don't you actually read something sometime.

    March 6, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. ajay desai

    Obama have won most of red states which likely to vote for McCain in fall elections. Republicans will win white house if Democrats do not wake up. Hillary has won states which normally vote Democrats. Obama campaign should also insist counting Florida and Michgan delegates and do not do Injustice to Florida and Michgan by saying lets follow the rule.

    March 6, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. Lisa

    Clinton is a tough broad with vast experience.

    Obama has a great smile and the more he talks, the less Presidential he looks.

    This is not American Idol

    March 6, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. JOEJMI, Bellevue, WASHINGTON

    NAFTA was signed by BILL Clinton and now people are turning against OBAMA who is trying to rework the deal signe by Hillary's husband!!! What sicko!

    What was Bill Clinton doing in Canada few days before Ohio & Texas election??? People needs to wake up. She is going to try the Clintons dirty tricks & politics and to force some DNC key members to back her for the nomination. The clintons are 2 faces and dividers. There are looking to divise the Democratic Party. People saw the real face of Bill Clinton in his remarks from South Carolina a month and half ago. We are tired about the same washington politics.

    If she ends up as DNC nominatee, I would not vote for the democrat and I would switch forever to become a republican ..and vote for McCain.

    March 6, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. michael-david

    I feel bad for Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island- latest victim of Hillary and her lies! WAKE UP AMERICA – Once in my lifetime a person like Obama comes along to do whats right- and all you do go back to the same old lies. Hey Bill Clinton-hows Rick Ball in Arkanas?

    March 6, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. Calvin F, Ohio

    Im glad Ohio did not go for some speech of Hope and Hope of Change...that is such a joke! Good job Ohio. I do not live in Ohio any longer...but the State made me proud! I suggest the Canadian should stand up and say who told them that That won't happen because no one from Clinton camp called them! That would be to stupid. I hope Clinton will be the President...But I will say this....I hope Obama will be t

    March 6, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Bobbie

    For those of you that think this is just coming out now because Barack Obama lacked the spirit to fight, you are wrong. The reports that not all was well in Canada came out the evening of the 3rd and was confirmed to be something the Canadian PM needed to investigate on the morning of the 4th. If there is blame to be laid, it is at the feet of the mainstream media. If I knew it on the 3rd, you can bet they did too and they kept silent. Now, tell me again about this pro Obama bias the media have? Yeah, that's what I though.

    March 6, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  24. KY for Obama

    Why is this not being presented as the top political story by CNN?? This is HUGE news. The fact that the majority of late-deciding voters in Texas and Ohio went for Hillary has been blamed largely on the NAFTA issue. That it was Hillary's campaign that actually made the "we won't back out of NAFTA" comments shows that the voters in Tuesday's primaries were duped again by Clinton's lies and false campaigning. It is very important that the voters in the remaining primary states are aware of this so that they will not also be duped by her!

    Just think – if the whole story had come out before Tuesday... this mess of a democratic primary season might be over right now.

    March 6, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  25. D.

    Obama is not the hope of America '08. He is empty speaches. That's all.

    March 6, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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