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. obama will win georgia

    the straight talk express is headed straight to neverland.

    June 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. J in Houston

    15 billion a year guaranteed buys you nothing.

    3 million dollar prize for accomplishment has everyone fighting for it.

    That is the spirit of America, not handouts, paychecks. You don't get paid before you complete the task. Giving the auto industry money will not keep work here. Lowering corporate tax rates, opening up foreign trade, expanding infrastructure, and lightening regulation WILL. Look at the reasons companies moved to Mexico and Canada. Those are the ONLY same reasons they will come back.

    June 27, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Whatever you do, don't veto the working man's beer. ...

    June 27, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. Brian Phoenix AZ

    Where is this guy from??? Deneb 4??? How many more jobs does this clown plan on outsourcing? This clown has no idea of the the U.S. economy but "it's not too important". I can only wonder what our economy would be like if we spent 1 billion $$$ per week here in the US on our standard of living rather than eleswhere (like on an unholy war brought to you by Dubya). How many new schools could we have built? How many new teachers, doctors, nurses, etc could we have trained? How about our own infrastructure? Highways, bridges, agriculture? And just for the record Mcsame....you ain't even carrying AZ now.

    June 27, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. ERNEST NUNEZ

    McCAIN GOT THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION BY DEFAULT, ROMMEY WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER CHOICE.
    I WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR McCAIiN 2004, BUT NOT NOW BECAUSE WALKS IN THE SHADOW OF PRESIDENT BUSH.
    MAYBE CARTER WAS NO THE BEST PRESIDENT WHEN HE WAS IN OFFICE, BUT HE HAS PROVED HIS METTLE WITH ALL THE HELP HE HAS DONE FOR THE POOR.
    I WOULD LIKE TO SEE TOUGH GUY McCAIN ROLL UP HIS SLEEVES AND POUND NAILS ALL DAY LONG.
    I LOST ALL RESPECT FOR THE MAN WHEN I READ A STORY ON HIS BAD TEMPER AND HOW HE TREATED HIS WIFE.

    June 27, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Shelly in IL

    And still more jobs loss, the troops will never come home and the economy failing even more. And this is what the people want!

    June 27, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Nia - Phoenix, AZ

    I thought he was against NAFTA...unless I'm wrong as two left feet...?

    June 27, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers

    I'd like to hear what plans to retrain and re-integrate displaced workers our esteemed Dem. Mr. Hussein Obama has.

    So far all I've heard is pie in the sky and little reality.

    These people are dealing with reality–not industries that don't even exist yet.

    Get a grip. Who'd talking straight and who's just talking.

    McCain is talking straight.

    June 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Candy - West Virginia

    'Many Labor Intensive Jobs are Not coming back to America', yeah, that's because you and your republican buddies made sure of that. Thanks Mcidiot, america appreciates that.

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. saga for Obama

    "i understand your pain he says".....what a joke. ask Cindy if she understands the pain of all of Budweiser employees will be feeling when they loose their jobs?
    ask the mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and children of th e13 soldiers that lost their lives this week in Iraq if you understand their pain.
    ask the elderly and the poor who cant afford food AND gas if you understand their pain

    you understand our pain, you just dont care about it.

    VOTE NO ON MCCAIN...we can not afford 4 more years of BUSH

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Michael in Seattle

    And Hillary supporter want to vote for this guy cause she didn't get the nomination.

    June 27, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. Jon

    Glenn is right - that Bush, McCain, and GOP have caused all of America's economic woes. They made people buy houses that they couldn't afford, and they made the lenders accept no proof of income for the loans! I bet McCain has been buying up foreclosed houses with all his wife's money so he can sell them once the economy picks back up, (which can of course only happen if Obama becomes President!!).

    June 27, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. puff

    Hey at least he isn't deaming the women by calling them Sweetie and putting them on hold. Where is your Nobama at all these town halls. The girlie man is too afraid to be asked a question that he has not been pre-programed to answer.
    Nobama is a joke, he will lose in a landslide to McCain
    Hillary Supporter for McCain 08

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

    He's 100% RIGHT! The economy isn't his strong point.

    Does McCains comment even make sense??

    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.”

    fyi McCain – manufacturing jobs AND technical jobs are moving overseas.

    June 27, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Mike - Texas

    At least McCain is telling the truth.

    OBama told the American people that he would renegotiate the NAFTA treaty while at the same time telling the Canadian and Mexican officials not to worry about it. Remember, it was posted right hear on CNN. Very shady dealings if you ask me.

    June 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Know the facts

    McCain doesn't "understand the pain." In fact, he doesn't even know how much a tank of gas costs today! How can we trust McCain to lead on an issue when he's completely out of touch with it? (search: "John McCain doesn't know the price of gas" to read his quotes)

    June 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Andrew Anderson

    A vote for Mccain is a vote for the rich. Such as his wife.

    June 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Ivan

    He understands the pain???????????
    He has a 100% disabled pension($80,000) from the war.
    He has the best 100% paid for health plan in the country that he does not want to have the country to have. He is worth millions and his wife about 100 million and he He understands the pain?

    He needs to uderstand the pain of loosing.

    June 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Nick

    All this fluff about making things fair. America doesn't want a subjective answer like "fair". That could be interpreted any number of ways. Obama tells us who he is going to tax and who he isn't. Telling us exactly what you are going to do is fair.

    June 27, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. John

    McBush has got to be the second dumbest nominee ever, take that back I think Bush may be even smarter then McBush. Keep talkin McBush, you are guarenteeing a Obama/Clinton win. Democrats will rule the next 16 years. Thanks GOP for screwing us and making us mad for so long you won't be in power for a long... long time.

    June 27, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. MD FOR OBAMA

    No one in their right mind will take the VP spot with McCreepers.

    Oh I forgot, I bet Leiberman is biting his nails waiting for the call for the VP slot.

    Leiberman(Independent for Israel) goooo big blue and white!

    NOT!

    June 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. FactCheck

    Four more years of NAFTA and CAFTA. Anyone who votes for McCain deserve exactly what they are going to get.

    June 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. tina

    Go Home McShame! By the way we noticed that you were not at work today to vote on the GI Bill, however you are trying to take credit for it. I did not forget that you have been opposed to this from the beginning. What a disgrace to Veterans you are!

    June 27, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. CB

    IN OTHER WORDS:

    "I WILL DO NOTHING".

    (BTW – tell me how a guy with 8 homes and a private jet "feels our pain"?!)

    June 27, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Caycee, Pearl City Hawaii

    McCain doens't know what "a good government is" considering his voting record for Bush policies. Given his track record, he obviously is out of touch with reality.

    June 27, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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