June 27th, 2008
03:34 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain pushes free trade at Ohio auto plant

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/27/art.mccainad.ap.jpg caption="McCain campaigned in Ohio Friday."]LORDSTOWN, Ohio (CNN) - John McCain took his free trade message into somewhat hostile territory Friday, telling a group of Ohio automobile workers that free trade is “in the best interests of the United States of America from a macro sense and in the long term.”

“I understand the pain” of families affected by manufacturing job losses, McCain said, but he added that many “labor intensive jobs” were not coming back to America.

Instead, he said his job re-training proposals coupled with an “emphasis on new technology” in the automotive sector would boost employment.

McCain, battling a slight cold, was responding to an employee at the Lordstown General Motors plant who asked him what he would to make trade agreements “a little bit more fair.”

The presumptive GOP nominee said he does not believe “that every trade agreement is totally fair” and promised to “do everything in my power to make sure that trade practices practiced by our trading partners are fair and equitable.”

Still, the senator insisted that free trade was a net boon for the economy and called for approval of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement because “they have been helping us a lot in the war on drugs and they are a good government.”

It is “one of the realities of life,” McCain said, that “when we practice protectionism and we erect barriers to products from other countries, they do the same to us, and it leads to economic consequences.”

McCain told reporters he had met with union leaders at the plant to discuss NAFTA and said he would be "glad to streamline" the dispute mechanisms included in trade agreements.

Filed under: John McCain • Ohio
soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. David, Silver Spring, MD

    "I understand the pain," said John McCain. "If it weren't for Cindy's millions, I'd be worried about the economy, too."

    June 27, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Observer in Observing, MI

    Dellusional old fool says jobs are not coming back to America, so get over it. Go back to school for additional training and maybe there will be a job for you when you're done. What's that you say? How will you feed your family in the interim? Eat Cake!

    Anyone who votes for this clown is asking for a circus. As an ardent supporter of Obama who "knows" Obama will win, part of me wants to see another republican administration because it will spell the death of the republican party once his terms up. DISASTER!

    Dems 4 McCain, PUMA and the rest of you morons please vote for McCain so we can put republican ideologies to bed, once and for all. I so wish there was a way to progress without you, but fate has determined that we drag you along while you kick and scream like children in need of a vaccination.

    June 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Upon Further Review,Texas

    Thanks John for lowering the wages of all AMERICANS for your Global Agenda.We can look forward to becoming a THIRD WORLD NATION under your policies.I guess working folks should be happy when they get a top wage of $7.00 per hour while rich scumbags make millions.

    June 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. New Day

    Next, he plans to go to Vermont to propose a ban on maple syrup.

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Enlightened Voter

    He doesn't have a clue. Republicans, you should be ashamed that this guy is representing you.

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Casey in CA.

    McCain would say anything to get his straight talk express back on track. The American public knows that this so-called Maverick and self-proclaimed straight talker is full of it.

    B.S. that is... um, that first letter stands for BUSH. You know what the second one is.


    June 27, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Becky

    Jim, good one! McCain should just work in Iraq! He's said it before that he cares more about foreign relations and that we here in America can wait on our own issues for the time being. What a neocon he is!!!

    June 27, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Frantz (Atlanta)

    Who is running this guy's campaign? He has not solidified the consevative base. And now he is promoting free trade in Ohio?

    June 27, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    And John McCain,,,,,,,,you are the clone of G. Bush....just older.

    June 27, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Igor

    Carter might not have been a good or a great president but at least he was a president unlike McCain and one thing is for sure Carter will always be a better president then Bush jr was/is and a far better president McCain will ever be if he can manage to cheat himself to the white house like bush did in 2000.

    June 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Bill-C-Bus OH

    Takes a either a large set or lack of gray matter to say this in a place that has been demolished by poor trade agreements. i am guesing the latter. I watch everyday as the area I grew up in eastern Ohio (including the WV Panhandle and Western PA) melts away due to the trade agreements of Reagan. It is now the Rust Belt cause all the factories are closed and rusting away.
    The Republican party really needs to wake up and start to focus on the wallets of everyday Americans who have to pay them (from our tax money) so their wallets are filled. If we are all unemployeed, how is that going to work.

    Anybody but McSame in '08

    Obama '08

    June 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. tidho

    want a job?
    join the army

    June 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Go John Go

    John has already admitted he doesn't understand economics. Now he's wielding words like "macro" and "protectionism"...and predictably, making no sense.

    He apparently doesn't understand politics either, by preaching free trade to the crowd in an Ohio automobile plant.

    His ignorance is bliss for the Democrats.

    June 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Doris,Memphis,TN

    No John McCain, I say No, No, No!
    Rock Amy W.

    June 27, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Brad - California

    Free trade? Um, wake up John; that's just a part of our problem. For nearly 8 long years we have had a president who cares more about every other nation than he does about Americans, and you are no different.

    We as a nation have obligated nearly a trillion dollars for dumps like Iraq and Afghanistan while their hatred of America continues to grow, while they continue to come to us with hands outstretched for more, while we allow our own country to crumble. That is a crime.

    What country have you been living in? You are no more than an elitist all dressed like a common candidate.

    June 27, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Former Republican25

    McCain, are you out of options?

    June 27, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Matt

    At least McCain is honest about it.

    The democrats brought you NAFTA and push Free Trade more than the Republican, then point at big business and blame them.

    I can't believe union workers are dumb enough to continue to vote for democrats.

    June 27, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. Jon

    Please, ladymary, show many ANY politician that has had to choose between food and paying bills. When a politician tells you that he "feels your pain," obviously he is just empathizing with you.

    Free trade and energy independence are two extremely important issues facing this country in the next decade, and I think that McCain is the better suited to address both those issues.

    June 27, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    I agree with Obama Supporter from FL. You can have the same trade policy that McCain advocated today without all the other undesirable stuff just by voting for Obama. I plan to do just that.

    June 27, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Onlooker, WA

    Funny how there is no support for McCain in this forum from his followers. Don't they agree with him?

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. CNN = Jerry Springer

    "McCain, battling a slight cold,..." Who gets a cold in June? Seriously, if I were a Republican I would pay close attention to who the VP running mate will be. I never commented on McCain's age before, but the bandages on his head the other day and a cold in June don't make him appear very healthy, even though he takes weekends off to rest.

    Also, isn't he copying Obama in going to a plant that would be against NAFTA like Obama went to Detroit to promote fuel efficiency? I guess that move by Obama was significant even though McCain wants to say Obama doesn't take any risks and is a 'typical politician.'

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |


    He is George Dubya. I can not believe he actually believes that free trade is great. Tell that to the blue collars trying to eek out a living cause some (I won't say anything racist ) one from another country who calls himself Scott, but you know it aint his real name is doing his job for a couple of pennies a day.

    How do you feed your family on this repugnant bull$%^t ?

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Glenn

    McCain's age and poor health are already catching up with him. That is why he has to go home on weekends and recoup his energy. Just think like what it will be for this old man, if elected,....on call 24/7 for 365 days a year for four years. He will never last beyond the first year. A disaster waiting to happen.

    June 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Free trade isn't so free when it's unfair. When the rules are this lopsided, we can't win, so we might as well not play until the rules are straightened out. That's what Obama and Hillary want to do.

    June 27, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. ANGIE

    mccain doesnt understand what some if not most of the american people are going through with his rich wife and his 5 houses how could he have a clue this is a man that said PEOPLE SHOULD GET A SECOND JOB IF THEY CANT AFFORD THEIR MORTGAGE well you know what mcbush most people already work 50 to 60 hours a week and they are still struggling and were lucky we have one job so mccain why dont you pick one of your five houses and go retire there we will be better off without you!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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