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. Wow! This is big news!!!

    Why is this just now coming out, AFTER the primaries. Surely had the public known about this, the late-deciders who tipped Ohio and Texas Clinton's way would have perhaps voted differently.

    In addition, CNN, since you decided, like lemmings, to start going negative on Obama because Clinton told you to, why not start investigating thinks like, PAUL v. CLINTON, what Clinton is HIDING IN HER TAXES, the PAC MONEY SHE TAKES FROM SPECIAL INTERESTS, WHO REALLY DONATED

    March 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. connie

    Its time that the OBAMA people GROW UP!!!. stop with the BLAME just because he lost 3 states. His congadulations speech to HILLARY was pathetic. then he went on the attack which we thought was very TACKY

    March 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Connie

    Thanks for the denial, Madam Clinton but we don't believe you. You need more people! We will just have to wait until the investigation is complete now won't we.

    March 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Randi

    I wonder why this sounds familiar?? Sounds to me like the Obama camp can't come up with a real issue to get back at Hillary, so they just recycled their own issue. LOL

    March 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Jake, California

    This is really none sense...

    If Goolsbee said Obama supports free trade but believes there should be standards[as I have heard] then this is not double talking and it is not equivalent to claiming to support NAFTA in private but denying it in public

    if Obama says he supports free trade but believe there should be standards, it doesn't imply he's for NAFTA..

    Its like saying that if I claim I am a straight guy who prefers women then I am saying automatically that I want Britney Spears!

    March 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Kerry

    Ah, so the truth is coming out now.

    So, is this the kind of FOREIGN POLICY and DIPLOMACY experience Hillary has? Use foreigners to do your dirty work? Take the words of foreigners to attack your political opponents, while lieing to the American people?

    Why was Bill in Canada recently? Visiting his *Canadian* girlfriend?

    There are reports now that the Republicans and Clintons were a part of this scheme to smear Obama. Clinton is a republican at heart. Republicans hate Clinton (well, except the Bushes and McCains) but they fear Obama.

    March 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. voter

    Hilliary, guess who is calling the kettle black. An explanation is needed. You stated last week that Obama should not say one thing to the American people and have closed door meetings with other countries stating something different. You need to tell the American people the truth. Since this campaign has begun, you have been distorting the truth and telling untruths to garner votes. If this story is true, you should be ashamed of yourself. It is hyporcrtical that you want your opposing canadiate to be truthful which he has and you can't follow the same standards. Is this what we want in a president? Start waking up everyone Hillary cannot be trusted.

    March 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Cami

    Ahhhh Hillary. Liar, liar, pantsuit on fire!

    March 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Elliott

    1.Clinton denied knowing about Marc and Denise Rich's donations to her campaign and the Clinton library.
    2. Clinton denied knowing about the other pardons granted by her husband. Even though her brothers where involved.
    3. Clinton denied knowing about the monies donated by Peter F. Paul.
    4. Clinton denied being a champion FOR NAFTA.
    5. Clinton denied to release her tax returns until mid-April.

    Now, out of these few examples, why would she lie about the NAFTA leak? Obviously, she is someone who wouldn't lie to the American people.

    Ohio, how does it feel to be duped? When the Canadian government comes out and says that it was a lie and then that it was actually someone from Hillary's campaign who said: "Take it with a grain of salt". That is really, really sad.

    Maybe next time we should READ instead of watching political attack ads on TV.

    March 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Luke Williams

    Shame on U senator OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Gary in Toronto

    This is fun to watch from Canada. It's important to note that our CONSERVATIVE government is not exactly free of any agenda in this area. It's interesting that it hasn't occured to any of the American media to explore that aspect of the story.

    March 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Wow! This is big news!!!

    Why is this just now coming out, AFTER the primaries. Surely had the public known about this, the late-deciders who tipped Ohio and Texas Clinton's way would have perhaps voted differently.

    In addition, CNN, since you decided, like lemmings, to start going negative on Obama because Clinton told you to, why not start investigating thinks like, PAUL v. CLINTON, what Clinton is HIDING IN HER TAXES, the PAC MONEY SHE TAKES FROM SPECIAL INTERESTS, WHO REALLY DONATED TO THE CLINTON LIBRARY, and of course, BILL CLINTON'S ILLEGAL TRIPS TO FOREIGN NATIONS TO SECURE MINING CONTRACTS.

    Instead of trying to keep your ratings up, why not focus on real journalism and report the facts, not just what Clinton tells you.

    We expect more from you, CNN.

    March 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Crockett Walker

    Hillary was actually the original culprit in this story and it got twisted by a reporter for CTV's Washington DC office to be about Obama.

    This guy should be fired and sued.

    March 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Terri in Texas

    The Clinton camp just keeps stepping in it. If the report about Clinton and Canada isn't true then why is she still saying that what was reported about Obama is correct. People, she spun that story to change votes on March 4th. Wake up, Hillary has 7 years of experience, the rest was spent sleeping with a politician. Taking tea with the wives doesn't count as foreign affairs experience. She can't even control the spin out of Canada now.

    March 6, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. AP, NY

    Well Well...Obama has work to do!!! HRC has already won Ohio and Texas but there is still PA. Run with it team Obama

    March 6, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Tiffany Glenwood, IL

    It's about time CNN, I've been waiting for you to report on both sides on story. How about also mentionioning that Canadian officials are calling for Ian Brodie to be fired. It's funny how the tables turn, you decide to mention Clinton's campain's NAFTA-Gate issues after the Ohio primary but Obama was the main headline. I also didn't find any video of the fight raging in the Candadian parliament on this issue on your site. Is CNN really the Clinton National Network??

    March 6, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Alice

    Hillary caught in her lies again. Good reporting CNN. Let's see how well her highness does when the Peter Paul fraud trial gets some air time.

    March 6, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Talk about the pot calling Obama black!!

    March 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. TS

    Oh lordie, here we go again. Next up John McCain's campaign calls Iran to tell them that we will only bomb them "a lil bit"

    March 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Sean McM

    You will find out the truth Hillary........this sounds like a very, very childish copycat game from spineless Obama.

    March 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Sherry in Kentucky

    Well, now. Doesn't Ohio have pie on it's face now?

    March 6, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. April in Texas

    Normal operations as usual Clinton denies all that can and will hurt her. She uses the media for her but critisizes when it goes against her.
    I would like Obama to address this issue and see who actually is right..

    Obama '08

    March 6, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. Hildog

    oh yeah! clinton = same old washington politic

    March 6, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. cp

    Bush lied to the American people and we voted for him twice
    Hillary has been lying to the American people and we will vote for her

    how did we come to be so dumb

    March 6, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. Alice, California

    I'm glad Hillary can smear Obama with false accusations about Canada and it will be all over the news while this story remains mixed in on the ticker. "Unlike the Obama campaign," Hillary? Why won't she ever admit when she's wrong? Talk about a smear campaign. I will never want her as my president.

    March 6, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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