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. Frank



    March 6, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Chris

    I want a front-page APOLOGY from CNN for NOT covering this story fairly.

    AND I want CNN to confront Hillary about this EVERY day until the truth comes out! Someone is lying and it ain't the Canadians!!

    March 6, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Latina from Texas

    Hillary is being called out by Canada... this is what she gets for trying to swiftboat Obama!!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. DORIS

    Whatever. Bottom line we all know it happened.

    March 6, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |

    You mean to tell me, it was her giving the old "wink, wink" and had that elaborate press conference talking about "what would you do with this story if it was me being accused"....I guess we'll see Ms. Dishonest but the people in Ohio likes this type of mess.....unbelievable....

    March 6, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Patrick, NYC

    The TRUTH finally comes out! It makes total sense that the Clintons would have done this, because of the ties they had to the Canadian people during their administration. It's shocking they tried to put it Obama. There was no ground for the Obama team to do this. Shame on you Hillary!!!

    I'm glad you are finally EXPOSED for what you are, a LIAR! Remember the say: "What goes around comes around!"

    OBAMA 08!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. SK

    The Question is why has this come out so conveniently after the March 4th Primaries. Why is the bastion of journalistic values, CNN, been so silent and have not folowed it up rigorously? So is this not Media Bias? against Sen. Obama..People from PA please wake up and realize who wil bring real change and inspire us all Americans to stand up against special interests and lobbyist.

    March 6, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. C.K. Steele

    Wow!! Hopefully Pennsylvania will learn the lesson that Ohio didn't. I can't believe the levels that Hillary will stoop to in order to steal the nomination. I'm starting to believe that she intends to damage Sen. Obama so badly so she can hand the White House to McCain. And then she believes that she can arise as the Democratic Party's savior in a 2012 run. Utterly sinister!

    March 6, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Claire from Texas

    Of course she denied it. That's what the Clintons always do.

    She sent a smear campaign out on Obama. Let the American people see truth. Obama is truth! Clinton is full of lies.

    I wonder how stupid Ohio feels now.

    OBAMA '08!

    March 6, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Deb, IN

    CNN what are you all trying to pull here? If this was Clinton instead of Obama don't you think it would have come out when the original story broke. Or don't you all verify the info before going public with it?

    March 6, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    hehehehehe, the truth finally is coming out.

    The Clintons are pack of criminals, win at any cost. Freaking "you know what"

    March 6, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Brian

    I just realized, at the top of the CNN Politics page, they have a quick link for both Hillary Clinton and John McCain, but not one for Barack Obama. Did they just run out of room, or are they trying to keep people from learing the real story about the real candidate for change and vision for the country?

    *wonder if they'll actually post this?*

    March 6, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Pete in Canada

    I don't get why, but anything sensible that I am commenting on regarding this story is getting censored....hmmmmmmmmmmm.
    Thank you to all the Americans who have been picking up on this latest twist of the story plot!
    As a Canadian I REALLY want to know if and how the Clintons may have manipulated our Government and/or our media!!

    March 6, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Lilia, from PA


    NO I knew it from day one. That is why I will never vote for HILLARY I rather vote for HELL because I know what I would find there. HILLARY IS THE MOST DESIVING FIRST LADY THERE EVER BEEN.

    That is why PENSILVANIA is going to give her a taste of her own HELL

    PENSILVANIA FOR OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    March 6, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |

    More lies ,more lies what's going on in this country?

    how do we people like HRC running for the most important position in our country

    March 6, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Chris in Atlanta

    This is sad. I want to be proud of the first woman president of the USA, but if this is the path Senator Clinton chooses to win her party's nomination, I don't know if it's worth it.

    March 6, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. CanadianUpset

    I live in Canada and I can tell you this controversy is doing the headlines of all news. The Canadian government is VERY UPSET about the Clinton's campaign doing....

    March 6, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Thomas

    It's trully appaling how Hillary Clinton is willing to do anything to win at all costs. Shame on her and her supporters! I am so absolutely disgusted than even though I have been a life-long democratic voter there's no way I could bring myself to vote for her if she ends up being the nominee. I'm truly astounded like the depths to which she has sunk has alienated me and so many other voters to do the unthinkable and vote for McCain.

    March 6, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Canuk

    Stephen Harpers chief of staff Ian Brodie
    has been accused of being the source of the CTV News report. Brodie also allegedly told CTV reporters that people from the Clinton camp told Canadians to take her NAFTA concerns with "a grain of salt." reporters heard him say it about her!
    she can deny this all she wants it was reported from the very beginning because I read that before it even hit the US news

    March 6, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Lonny

    How about leading with this story on your NEWS?

    This was UNBELIEVABLY unfair to Obama! Right before the Ohio primary Clinton lies about this when someone from her OWN campaign went and did the same thing!!!!!

    I bet there are a lot of irritated people in Ohio right about now who wish they could vote again.

    March 6, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. As Per Plan

    Just hours after the results were back from Ohio/Texas, Obama's people were saying that their strategy was the erroneous belief (festered by a republican smear campaign in the '90s) that the Clinton's were not credible. Sure enough now this story comes out that it was really Hillary, and not Obama that made the comments about NAFTA. Well, Obama supporters, try thinking for a second. 1) Why would Obama admit it if he didn't do it? 2) Why would Hillary play it up if she new that it was really her that was involved? Can you morons be any' dumber? This is clearly nothing more than what Obama's "brain trust" claimed they were gonna do, just spread lies and innuendo in an attempt to get the gullible, automaton Obama cult to stop using what little brains they have. Why don't you Obama supporters do America a favor and move to Canada, you won't be missed.

    March 6, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Kenneth

    So now we need to do a Re-Vote in Ohio! Just kiddin ya'll. If this comes out to be true about the Clinton camp, it is over for them because she has already ragged on Obama about this very openly.

    March 6, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. sw

    Good try, Obama! but bring out some facts! It just happened that after a day Obama saying he will attack Clinton, and all those non-true allegation comes out; but you have to have something to support it! when clinton brought out his flip-flop on the NAFT issue, there is a memo to prove it, even that, Obama first lied and said no such meeting occured.
    Nice try of following other's tactic, but you have to have proof to support it, can't just spread rumors.

    sorry, not working.

    March 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. HD for Obama

    It does NOT matter. Hillary can NOT win the pledged delegate count without "cheating" and using superdelegates and/or MIchigan/Florida.

    If she "wins" this way, then more Americans will not trust her (which is her biggest weakness). Which means the republicans will win the big prize in November because of her stubborness.

    The DNC will lose a generation of voters and the republicans will gain my vote.

    March 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. jd

    Well, too late for Obama in OH. When will people learn that the Clinton's are masters of skullduggery!

    March 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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