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. ls

    McCain doesn't feel the pain. How can he? McCain doesn't have to worry about how he is going to make ends meet at the end of the month.

    There are people crying each day, worrying how they are going to provide for their family, because of a lost job.

    If McCain were to walk on my job, I'd get up and go take my break, and return back after he has left. I wouldn't give McCain one second of my time.

    June 27, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Will in Richmond, VA

    Free trade, but no free labor.

    Educate our children to compete in this global economy. Allow PhD's to stay in the sates and work instead of returning to their homelands taking hard earned American education to another economy. Produce more goods that the WORLD needs so our exports will rise. Hold interest rates stable so our dollar can recover and push some of these gas prices down.

    And for all that's holy, make cars that don't break down.

    Americans CAN compete.

    June 27, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Ilona Proud Canadian

    John McCain, I have to hand it to you! It must have taken some guts to say what you did in front of those blue collar workers!

    But, you STILL DON'T GET IT. MANUFACTURING JOBS ARE DISAPPEARING EVERY DAY. People are losing their JOBS, HOMES, HEALTH CARE, AND ON AND ON, WHILE YOU AND YOUR WIFE CINDY, HAVE IT ALL, HOW CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THEIR PAIN?

    How can you stand before these people, and tell them in one breath "I UNDERSTAND THE PAIN" then in the very next breath, you tell them many "LABOUR Intensive JOBS" are not coming back to AMERICA! You are lucky that you did not get Booed, but then maybe you did!

    June 27, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. dkroll

    McCain 2008. I mean President McCain!!!

    June 27, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Bill Whitley

    es, Sen McCain does understand the "pain" because he has been involved with ordinary citizens for all these years he has been with the government. That is the reason he wants to try to fix things. He has authored and sponsored many bills that have tried to help Americans.

    Obama has done nothing but talk/talk/talk.

    June 27, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Maksym

    His comments should be viewed as an insult to intelligence of every working American.

    I can not believe this man could say those things with straight face.

    June 27, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Bill Whitley

    Yes, Sen McCain does understand the "pain" because he has been involved with ordinary citizens for all these years he has been with the government. That is the reason he wants to try to fix things. He has authored and sponsored many bills that have tried to help Americans.

    Obama has done nothing but talk/talk/talk.

    June 27, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. aaron from minneapolis

    If we Americans were smart we would only buy "Made in USA" and import our product around the world. Our country is rich with resources and right now we're sending all of our money out the door to other countris. No to NAFTA, no to CAFTA and NO TO JOHN MCCAIN.

    POW? He was the ranking officer, he had to "volunteer" to stay behind or he would've gone home against the "code of conduct" and would have been labeled a coward by the Navy.

    June 27, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Nova from NV

    the man talking free trade in Ohio where they lost many jobs maybe because of it. Only John McCain would have the guts to tell it like it is. Obama on the other hand, is totally deceiving to the Ohio people when his rep talked to Canada about the free trade deal.

    June 27, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. A CANUCK

    I read all the stuff in the Ticker today about Mc Cain .............and I just have to say it............he's a funny old fart !!!!

    June 27, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Shasta

    Hopefully the workers became more hostile when told by McCain that he feels their pain.

    June 27, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Dee

    "battling a slight cold"? At least the poor old man will have the weekend to recuperate. Bless his heart!

    June 27, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Texas Trail Dog

    Right on McCain you have the economy in mind. Obama has no ideal what to do.

    June 27, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Jennifer C.

    Yes, green energy labor jobs are coming to the U.S. – hold on mid-Atlantic
    states.

    June 27, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. kathe oakland, california

    McCain talking about re-training folks with "new technology"??? Please give me a break. From a man who does not know how to use the computer?

    McCain is full of it and of course he is for free trade and of course he does not want American workers to have any hope for the future except by offering that he will make sure "free trade" is fair?????

    And who does McCain think he is critizing former President Carter. You have gone too too far McCain – Carter is a better man sitting down than you will ever be with your boring, lying, confused talk!

    McCain, your whole campaign so far has been about critizing everyone except your own LOUSY, DISHONEST, DIVISIVE President Bush.

    You talk about a bandaide on your head – YOUR WHOLE CAMPAIGN is a band-aide waiting to be snatched off by Democrats.

    GO OBAMA/WEBB

    June 27, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Natalie

    As I said before my comment was so rudely deleted, they are VERY united! They're both playing for the team, which includes the people of the United States.

    Also, I will post on every blog that has an opening CNN so you can continue to delete my comments if you want to. The PUMA Pac founder, Darraugh Murphy, is a Republican!!! She donated $500 to McCain's campaign in 2000, voted for him in the MA Republican primary (have to be a Registered Republican or "unenrolled" to do so), and did not contribute financially to any democratic candidate's campaign. All the while she claims to be a lifelong democrat! Who's drinking the kool-aid now PUMA people? You've been bamboozled by the Rush Limbaugh in a dress!!!

    Obama/Clinton '08

    June 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Rob indetroit

    John mccain is lousy . he would be a poor president. you are the one who can't keep a promise ,ask your first wife.will you please stop talking about Nam your like Rudy who had 911. you see what that got him. nothing . if barack is smart he will not get drawn into a debate, he's winning . mccain is old and crazy my freinds.

    June 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Peter

    He's desperate. He's losing in the polls. He's trying to get as far as possible from Bush. McIdiot cannot connect with conservatives because he's a closet liberal. Let him talk. Soon he will sound just like Bush and he is bound to lose some red states during the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. Ha! Ha!

    June 27, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. M

    If you put a tax or tariff on a product, who pays for it? The consumer. You, me, your next door neighbour, the person who supposedly lost their job because of free trade. Let the economy take care of itself and quit taxing it.

    June 27, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Crush Rush

    PATRICK HENRY, I bet you never worked a day in your life,your probably just another oil barron.

    June 27, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Trollmaster

    If free trade is so great, how come the economy is doing so lousy?

    More of the same failed free trade agreements are not the answer, and McCain is not the right person to solve the problems affecting the average American.

    June 27, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Ira Fischer

    I thought John McCain wanted to win in Ohio-what could be thinking?

    June 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. The Surly Scholar

    If McCain empathizes so genuinely with the modern economic anxiety of common people, why did he appoint Phil Gramm as his chief economic adviser?

    Keep in mind that Gramm has lobbied for foreign banks who have only been exacerbating the increasing weakness of the dollar, and actively voted AGAINST a recent bill that would have protected borrowers from the kind of predatory lending that caused the subprime mortgage crisis and the accompanying economic downturn.

    Based on that alone, it's clear that John McCain cares nothing for the economic hardships of the American people. He, along with all his fellow Keating Five goons, should be rotting in jail for their corruption.

    June 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Ian

    Yeah, Ohio's only lost a quarter of a million jobs since Bush got in office. They won't mind more of the same.

    June 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. vj

    detroit deserves him .... how long can we run cars in gasoline ?

    June 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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