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. Texas4Obama

    Just wait until the PETER PAUL vs. CLINTONS lawsuit hits the media – that will be the end of the Clintons and their Clinton machine!

    Obama '08 – the candidate with integrity.

    March 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Thomas

    It's truly appalling 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 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. CA boomer for CHANGE

    Thank you CNN for following through on this story. Please be fair by giving this new information the same attention on-air that was given to the original story just days before the recent primaries.

    March 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. ivagrey

    Guess Hillary wishes she had that "magic wand" right about now ... Oh wait, it's busy filling out her tax returns.

    March 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Dh

    Whats up with that
    ms Hillary. Something doesnt
    smell right.

    Obama!! 08

    March 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    Uuuuhh! I am loving this. God is on your side Obama. Keep hitting the clinton pinata, more scam will come out for all to see. God works in mysterious ways, it took loosing Ohio for all Clinton scum to come out. Ha ha!

    Obama '08!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Vincent

    this is a typical OBAMA TACTIC.

    when he plagiarized, their campaign served furiously to find Hillary doing the same thing.

    Obama teamed winked winked at a foreign government, and now is lying to the American people to take the fire out of their own mistake.

    March 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Jane, College Park

    I knew the Clinton's had something to do with it :

    Imagine: How is it that Obama's adviser was invited to tour the Canadian Consulate, and they asked him about Nafta, and immediately, it was leaked to no one else but the Clinton campaign, and Hillary did not let it go – This was a set up.

    I hope Sen Obama now realises with whom he is dealing. Karl Rove is a saint compared to the Clintons.

    I just knew they had something to do with it.
    If it looks dirty, smells dirty, tastes dirty, sounds dirty – It is the Clintons

    March 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. LENA

    thanks for cheating the ohio voters

    THANKS

    March 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Cornel

    Wowsers... Not surprised. Damage has already been done though. Good luck in Pennsylvania.

    March 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Clintonfatigued

    This must be part of the vast "leaf-wing" conspiracy.

    Add it to the right-wing, media-wing, left-wing, sexist-wing, poor wittle ol' me-wing, my husband was a draft dodging chicken-wing conspiracies.

    Ready to mislead from day one.

    March 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. LatinoNation

    Obama still needs to give up the goods with his friend "Tony" Rezko! thers more to his story you can almost feel it So I hope CNN dose not just drop it because we would like to know ??

    March 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. dustin

    The Clintons lie (again). The press falls for it (again). Round and round we go.

    When did journalism die and where can we send flowers?

    March 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. carmen

    You should also know that yesterday in Parliament, our Prime Minister Harper, said that this incident had unfairly influenced Mr. Obama's campaign in the last couple of weeks. CNN needs to give this story more coverage and get to the bottom of it.

    March 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Robert Holmen

    Ohio voters ... do you want a "do over"?

    March 6, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Margaret

    what a nice way to deceive the voters in Ohio and Texas
    Clintons are crooks

    March 6, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. sam

    AHAAAAA Darth Vadik its politics of course they are going to deny it but you have to think yes Obama's campaign admit it that one of his people met with the canadian you have to ask your self WHY.

    now they want to turn it on Hillary you see AHHHHHHHAAAAAAA

    March 6, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Frank Esper

    Why am I not surprised. She is the one going back on her word...and knowing this would get into the press, she strikes first by blaming her opponant for discretions made by her campaign

    March 6, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. Cindy

    My my my... the plot thickens...

    So who's got the smoking gun, and why did this only surface now, after the Texas Ohio primary?

    Don't worry Hillary, you have plenty of time to spin it before the Pennsylvania primaries...

    March 6, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. YO

    Hillary you are a LIAR!!!

    Take it with a grain of salt.

    March 6, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. melissa

    OK Hillary: Obama's a liar, the Canadian government is a liar, everyone is out to get you. If you are going to label yourself as a fighter at least have the courage to own up to your smear campaign. You make us voters sick with your double-standards.
    I was a Hillary supporter but after watching her morals and stablility unravel in the midst of her obsessive desperation to win, I am now rooting for Senator Obama. He is the most qualified of the 3 candidates and he will get my vote!
    Obama 2008!!

    March 6, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Yes We Can

    Leave the Drama up to MAMA and Vote OBAMA!

    March 6, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Veronica

    Obama... too much two-faced double talking and you got caught and it was bye-bye to Ohio and Texas.

    March 6, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. Kenney

    Over the past two weeks the Clinton campaign has referred to Obama's campaign as Karl Rove and Ken Starr tactics. They must be doing something right. $55million in February. WOW. He can't take a punch, hogwash. The media is so biased. Please stop trying to link Obama to the Rezko trial unless the media starts linking clinton to Norman Hsu and McCain to his indicted co-chair congressman from the same state. The media builds you up and tries to take you down. Hold tough Obama.

    March 6, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. Hillary friends in MA

    If it was so innocent, why couldn't Obama give a straight answer?

    Obama had alread flip flopped on NAFTA! A few weeks ago he was saying that he'd never get rid of it, due to further job loss that would occur, but then at the debates, he said he'd get rid of it... Y'all need to stop worring about Hillary and start worrying about your own campain's ethics.

    Better yet, now that someone threw a bomb in Times Square, it sort of makes that 3 AM phone call commercial seem less like the politics of fear, and more like a reasonable question.

    March 6, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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