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. Nita

    I was wondering when you guys were going to report this...I was almost getting upset with you all at CNN...

    CNN, When are you going to report the "Leak" that was unfair to Obama and contrary to the best interest of the Canadian government????

    Please post my comment

    OBAMA 08!

    March 6, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. FBuchholz

    CNN – This better lead the headlines tonight or you and Wolf might as well start calling yourselves the Clinton News Network.

    Pennsylvania, please wake up and end this!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. RYL

    Despite Obama's "HOPE", he is incapable of "CHANGING" the politics as is, and worse, he starts to play the same politics. So, just words!

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

    I do not understand why the rules do not apply to the Clintons and the scores of people that believe their lies. C'mon! Scandles, adultry, tax records ... just lies on top of lies.

    I am a Republian and I have stepped up for Obama. I was one of the new donors to make his $55M last month and one of the 90-some percent to volunteer for his campaign. What she is doing to him, her party, and this country is ridiculous.

    I love my country and will not stand idly by while she destroys it.

    March 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Bernice


    I knew Hillary's butt was in this somehow!!!!!
    It's just a matter of time before we find out she was a part of this SET UP!
    She is a liar, cheat and tearing the party apart.

    Obama is doing his best to run a clean race all the while having to fight and answer to the nastiness of the Clinton's.

    I'm listening to the Reality checker now as I write and guess what? Hillary lied about "HER EXPERIENCE" or should I say stretched the truth. That's just it she has this way of thinking she is above everyone simply based on the fact that Bill was president and we should just accept her for that. All the more reason we need to see those papers from the White house. THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDIN.

    March 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. More lies

    Wow it was really hard for me to even find this article on CNN's website. Why are they not reporting more on this? And didn't anyone find it odd that the original accusations against Obama "magically" surfaced right before the Ohio and Texas primaries? Duped once again by politics...does democracy really exist when politicians use the American people as pawns in their little games?

    March 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Sam

    AHAAAAAAAA Darth Vadik what justice you are talking about he did met with the canadian you have to ask your self WHY before you start talking about justice now they are trying to turn the table on Hillary but wont work because if you are not the president yet why you send your people to meet with other country WHY.

    March 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. happy

    We here in Ohio don't pay attention to the news we are to busy voting for losers . We are the state tghat put GW over the top the last time so please forgive us for voting for Hillary

    March 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. jen

    CNN why is'nt this on your front page??? Are you afraid of the big bad Clinton campaign??? Please stop allowing the Clinton campaign to force you into partiality. If we dont have the media who do we have?? If Hillary wins the democratic nomination i will vote for McCain.
    We are just SICK of her negative slick-talking sneaky tactics.
    Obama for President!!

    March 6, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Nicole Toronto Canada

    It is a big story here in Canada, don't worry though we will get to the bottom of it, CBC unlike CNN actually reports 'news'.

    March 6, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. kathleen


    OBAMA from day 1, I believed. because I did not forget.
    Cattle investment scandal and the Clinton's took the money
    and ran.
    Vince Foster.
    The People that had to go to jail for them, a zillion misgivings.
    Lets go to the internet and find HILLARY CLINTON SCAMS.COM

    March 6, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. sarra

    I am ashamed of you guys which bickereing she said he said is this how we electing our next president why don't you learn from republican they have manner and only critsized on the issue they don't attack personal on their candidate but here when it comes to democrates instead of crtisize about their stand on the issue i am tired of seeing this personal attack so grow up people !!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Linlo

    I feel sorry for the people in Ohio. They've been duped. This doesn't surprise me. The Clintons were the ones who ushered NAFTA in and then went about saying what a success it was. It makes sense that they were the ones doing the "wink wink nod nod", all the while trying to spin it the other way. WAKE UP AMERICA – WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.

    March 6, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. brian

    All Bill had to say was: 'Yeah, I did her, I did her right here in the oval with the blue dress on.' and all would have been forgiven... Can these two ever tell the truth?

    March 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Rick

    Oh it looks like Hillary is up to it again, runs right along with NON-DISCLOSURE of her TAX RETURNS. We need change from the Washington Status Quo and the behind the scenes Lies.

    March 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Arlene NY

    This may have been done by the Obama camp to smear Hillary.
    I say that because last week I searched Canadian News and read for myself that the story was about Obama. All Canadian news sources I checked said OBAMA!

    March 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. the108

    I only hope this deceit gets as much media attention as the lies spread about Obama. He denied it, too but no one was giving him any air time in the days leading up to Tuesday.

    Personally, I expected this.

    I feel bad for Ohioans who were tricked. They had a right to vote based on FACTS. That right ewas stolen from them by the very person they checked on their ballots.

    March 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Jon

    WOW. She is Bush Jr. in a pantsuit.

    March 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Diane Sakulich

    And this isn't a screaming headline on your website because?????
    Look, we all know the Clintons don't play fair. Hillary only wants to play by the rules she makes. She only likes to wear the shoe on ONE foot.

    I have voted Republican since I first started voting almost 25 years ago and for the first time believe it is possible to have a government by the people, for the people, with Obama as president.

    Shame on you–the media– for not giving this story the major attention it deserves!!

    March 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Arni

    CNN and the media in general, here is your chance to dig and find truth.

    Here are the questions:
    1) Was it Austan Goolsbee talking as Obama's campaign strategy?

    2) If it was his opinion, why was it recorded as campaign memo, then leaked? Will the AP reporter tell the truth?

    SNL hype, deranged-amnesic-schizophrenic media and short-lies-doubts by Clinton campaign is causing all this losses?

    Will media kill Obama's campaign? Even when he may win Texas, it is counted as loss! (final delegate count, which measures success), is not out yet.

    All I am asking is media be fair, intelligent and thoughtful.

    Arni, Austin, TX

    March 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Sarah

    To all of the people that believe Hillary did this you are foolish. Obama put this false info out because he did it and got caught. He can't even make up his own accusations!
    The Obama campaign has already admitted to the meeting, he is just trying to turn his own guilt on her.
    All of this between both dems is getting pretty pathetic, McCain is looking better every day.

    March 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Mark

    I hate to say this but there just does not seem to be a dirty, manipulative, 100% deceitful trick that Sen. Clinton's campaign will not stoop to in order to win. More and more to me it's clear that they are BushCo wearing blue.

    Sickening. Just totally, totally gross. Come on people, get real. We'll have a woman president within the next few years. There are plenty of great up and coming ones out there. Just not her. Someone with morals and ethics, please.

    March 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. ty, Illinois

    The Obama campaign admitted Goolsbee and consulate officials had spoken. Why does this make Clinton a lier?

    March 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Dawn

    And the truth comes out. If Obama does not want to go negative. There are many of his supporter who will put the "scoop" on the clintons out there!!

    If Obama wants to take the high road, he can. There are many of us that know the truth.

    Billary have a history of fraud, secrecy and illegal activity.

    Foriegn Policy experience! Hah!

    March 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Marc

    Show me some proof instead of irresponsible reporting. Obama for VP '08.

    March 6, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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