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. Mike

    You go McCain!

    You've got my vote, if gas goes to $10 a gallon, you still have my vote!

    I would ride a skateboard to work before voting for Obama.

    Obama has no clue, vague talk with no substance.

    June 27, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Michael

    These moronic comments don't seem to include Obama's "overheated rhetoric" he used during the campaign, i.e. "NAFTA is a disaster." Now, of course, he is all for it. I've noted an interesting corollary between Obama supporters and the use of something other than standard English or bumper sticker philosophy. I wonder why.

    June 27, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Trollmaster

    If NAFTA is so great, then how come we have the same amout of illegal immigrants from Mexico sneaking into the United States?

    And the war on drugs is a proven failure as well. Why is McCain sticking to outdated failed policies? In fact why is he even running? He may as well give his concession speech right now.

    June 27, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McShame calls former Pres. Carter "a lousy commander in chief" which means Bush is the best commander in chief and that's why he supports him. Ohio and nobody else should want McCain as a leader because the whole world knows Bush is the worst president in history but McCain supports him.

    June 27, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. xddy4u

    Free trade is a joke. Before Clinton signed NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) into law, the auto industry and related industries were booming. Now Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio are almost "ghost" states when it comes to industry. Remember NAFTA was a GOP thing, Clinton upset the plot by winning the election. Signing NAFTA was supposed to had been Bush's(Sr.) crowning achievement. McCain have the nerve to talk about free trade. The only thing free, is american jobs being freely given abroad. Wake up America, vote Obama. At least he have a heart for the working man, the GOP don't give a d–n about the working man.

    June 27, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. A nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Hey , I like John's message. He is appealing to me.

    I wish you could see him as I do. He is straight forward and will tell it like it is.

    He won't give a cotton candy speech with no substance. No, McCain is the real deal. He is a true patriot and will defend our country and our values. He is not some limp wristed senator from Illinois who bowls a 39 and thinks that is good. Give me a break.

    We live in a great country and I don't want to see Obama's changes. We don't want to return to the Carter days and the heavy rolls of the Welfare Queens in their cottage industry of taking never ending handouts.

    June 27, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. INDEPENDENT WHITE WOMAN

    (CNN) — John McCain directed his trademark straight talk toward a former president, flatly calling Jimmy Carter a "lousy" commander in chief...........YOU are an IDIOT.......ONE thing you and MR Carter have in COMMON is OLD AGE ............BUSH is not as low as you are although he is responsible for 4,000+ killed in IRAQ ....Talk about the issues that matters and not the name calling ........What leadership Position did you hold in the NAVY ..............RESPECT for a FORMER President is automatic.....if you disagree with his policy but name calling.............Deep BOTTOM .................YOU OLD FART!!!!

    June 27, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Sandy - PA

    Every 4 years so (election ears) we hear about these so called "job-retraining" proposals. Yet they never seem to materialize after the elections. Instead, jobs leave the US by the million annually and go to India and China, while at the same time, we continue to import millions of foreigners from around the world for the sole purpose of taking American jobs under programs like H-1 and L-1.

    McCain is part of the problem. He has backed the current administration on every issue that has sent our jobs overseas and brought all these foreign workers here. And Hillary Clinton is no friend of the American Worker, either – look up TATA Consulting.

    We need Obama, he is the only one who sees it different. Clinton and McCain have been playing the game too long.

    June 27, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Wisconsin

    McWar feels your pain. There was this one time that his trophy wife's bank account went under 100 million, talk about hard times.

    Maybe McWar can find a way to rip down President Carter for this one.

    June 27, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. Jean

    Sure he feels the pain...with his wife providing him an income of over 6 mil a year! He has no idea what it is to try to live on a normal Americans' wages.

    This is the same guy who pushed to send a 35 -40 BILLION dollar contract for the airforce's re-fueling planes to be built in France in order to "save" (he says) taxpayer dollars. Of course he didn't see the harm in sending our tax dollars to Europe instead of keeping them here nor did he take into account the loss of thousands of jobs at Boeing. Then there we are, exporting our technology...again. Smart, very smart....a deep thinker indeed. Hey! Where are these jobs we are all to be re-trained to do??

    June 27, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. DJ, Los Angeles

    McCain's interpretation of free trade is more unfair trade deals such as NAFTA, outsourcing more jobs to India and China at the expense of American workers, and giving more tax perks to big money lobbies that send jobs overseas.

    June 27, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Jon

    Americans want to whine about jobs being sent overseas, but then they also want cheap goods imported from overseas and sold at Walmart. Well, which is it? We can thank ourselves, not Bush or the GOP, for creating a demand for goods so cheap that they could in no way be manufactured here. Next time you buy a shirt that says, "Made in China," you can thank yourself for sending jobs overseas.

    June 27, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Phil, FL

    Hey Peter Hamby – you keep cutting my remarks. Free campaigning for Mc What's his name again?

    June 27, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. john h

    The senator should be investing in our auto companies investing in new products that really compete with the Japanese engineering. US cars are not durable, and the US auto companies cheapen parts, and beat up their suppliers to do more for less. If we engineer and produce better cars, we get a world market – please no more beating up US labor – it's the management and philosophy!

    June 27, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Phil, FL

    Hey Peter Hamby, McCNN – you keep cutting my remarks. Free campaigning for Mc What's his name again?

    June 27, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Neutral

    The Colombia Government is a "Godd Government"???? I hope McCain has no plans of mimicing such a good government here in the US - Please no!!! Why does McCain say these kinds of things? Is he cursed?

    June 27, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Sandy - PA

    Every 4 years so (election years) we hear about these so called "job-retraining" proposals. Yet they never seem to materialize after the elections are over. Instead, jobs leave the US by the millions annually and go to India and China, while at the same time, we continue to import millions of foreigners from around the world for the sole purpose of taking American jobs under programs like H-1 and L-1.

    McCain is part of the problem. He has backed the current administration on every issue that has sent our jobs overseas and brought all these foreign workers here. And Hillary Clinton is no friend of the American Worker, either – look up TATA Consulting.

    We need Obama, he is the only one who sees it different. Clinton and McCain have been working the system too long.

    June 27, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Rob indetroit

    you go to a midwest state pushing free trade. I think mccain needs a long nap.

    June 27, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Rob indetroit

    the old man lost it.

    June 27, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Darth Vadik, CA

    FREE TRADE DOES NOT WORK

    THAT IS WHY 100 OHIO AND PENNSYLVENIA FACTORIES HAVE CLOSED IN THE LAST 20 YEARS

    BUY AMERICAN?

    EVEN FORD IS MADE IN MEXICO

    WHY?

    SO A FEW BIG FAT WHITE GUYS CAN GET RICHER, AND THEY DONT EVEN HAVE TO PAY THE "DEATH TAX"

    CONGRADULATION IDIOTS

    BRING BACK THE TARIFF SYSTEM

    REMBER THE MOVIE GUNG HO, IT DOESNT HAPPEN ANY MORE YOU JERK , i mean McCAIN

    McCAIN SHOULD JUST SHUT UP

    June 27, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. James, SC

    Didn't he just come back from Canada where he told the folks there that he will NOT change anything about our trade agreements??

    So now he tells the folks in Ohio that some trade agreements need to change.

    June 27, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. Joe

    go home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mcshame

    June 27, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Tim

    Well as bad as former president Carter may have been, no president tops the incompentence of the current president!

    June 27, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. Phil, FL

    CNN may as well change their name to FOXJr. It's all for McWarmonger. All the way, all the time.

    June 27, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Neutral

    The Colombia Government is a "Godd Government"???? I hope McCain has no plans of mimicing such a good government here in the US — Please no!!! Why does McCain say these kinds of things? Is he cursed?

    June 27, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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