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. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    Perhaps our American workers will remember McCain's comforting words in "a macro sense" when they lose their jobs.

    Oh yeah, he really does know their pain ... especially when he goes back to visit his $100 million wife in Arizona.

    June 27, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. E.N

    Its interesting that when the truth is revealed to us we somehow overlook it. James Carville a prominent journalist made it clear the political thatre behind the nominating process for the Democratic party. Meaning the entire process was planned. Duly McCain's – a patriot having served this great country well in war – general elections loss is a tactical one for the greater good. As Larry King live stated: if we do not involve our emotions in the political process, perhaps we could see more clearly. America is maturing as a result of visionaries like Bill, Hillary, McCain and the Bushes, and very soon Obama. These are political revolutionaries serving a great country.

    June 27, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Jeff - Illinois

    NEOCONSERVATIVES HAVE DEMONSTRATED OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT THEY ABSOLUTELY DESPISE BLUE-COLLAR AMERICANS. WHY DO SO MANY PERSIST IN VOTING FOR THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT TO DESTROY THEM?!

    "FREE TRADE" is nothing more than a Manchurian Candidates cover name for "Destroy American Lives"

    June 27, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Beverly, NYC

    What will you be re-training people to do, get jobs in India and Mexico? Since we know you will look the other way when your buddies in big business get tax breaks here while sending jobd overseas.
    But you understand their pain, really. When was the last time you had to decide between paying for high blood pressure medication and utility bills. Do you even know how to budget?

    I get it now you have to say one outrageous thing a day to get free publicity, 84 mil isn't what it used to be.

    June 27, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Richard

    Go McCain!

    June 27, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Richard

    Our country is such a mess.
    McCain is the only candidate that can bring us together.
    He's a maverick, a superstar.

    June 27, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Glenn

    Hey everyone! Did you hear McShame's comment about President Carter. He called Carter lousy. Man, this comment sure speaks poorly for the so-called war hero, McBush, and so much for his so-called honor and his above board election campaign. I see that Karl Rove has convinced this poor old man to attack every Democrat. Sure is early to be this desperate. I can see a repeat of the 1964 Goldwater defeat and GOP disaster. All Republican candidates appear to be distancing themselves from this loser! Don’t call Carter lousy. Look at Bush and remember that McBush voted 95% on all of Bush’s policies, actions and lies. And McCain is trying to tell us he feels our pain! Who is he trying to fool?

    June 27, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Mike M.

    Give 'em hell, John! You're a plain speaker, just like Truman. You say it the way it is and let the chips fall where they may. That's what I want in a president: honesty, integrity, courage.

    June 27, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Jon

    James, SC – your reading comprehension skills need some work. Unless you read another article, McCain did not tell anyone in Ohio that the trade agreements would need to change. He did promise to “do everything in [his] power to make sure that trade practices practiced by our trading partners are fair and equitable.”

    So McCain, unlike Obama, has not changed his stance on free trade, and if you read any objective analysis of NAFTA, you will see that it has helped America as a whole.

    June 27, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Gene

    Mike... you said it all....

    "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."

    Shows you'd rather vote for someone who would ruin our lives than to vote for Obama.

    You deserve to be labled as a criminal against this country... voting to purposely ruin this company even knowing that McCain will continue to do just that.

    June 27, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Laidetea

    O.K. McShorter, you said enough. I am convinced that you will not be president next year or any years. YOU ARE DONE.

    June 27, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. jimmy velman

    NEITHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HAS THE ELECTION LOCKED UP.. IT IS A LONG, LONG WAY TO NOVEMBER.
    DEMOCRATIC UNITY IS FAR FROM A REALITY UNTIL THE VP RUNNING MATES ARE NAMED BY BOTH CANDIDATES

    June 27, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. judy, Wisconsin

    Check out the web site: Vietnam veterans against John McCain.
    It's unbelievable! In addition, he's now wearing a rug.

    June 27, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. William, from Cali!

    Enough of this; "pander"; from both sides......................the American people need more than; this back-and-forward, "Reality side-show soap opera", that we are getting every day. Some people are really in "dire straits" here, so stop the pandering for my vote......................By Nov. , it want matter!

    June 27, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. ANGIE

    GO AHEAD PEOPLE VOTE FOR THIS IDIOT AND WHEN YOU HAVE NO JOB CANT FEED YOUR KIDS AND NO CAR TO FIND A JOB AND POSSIBLE LOSE YOUR HOME WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO THEN BE HERE POSTING WHY YOU HATE JOHN MCCAIN!!!!!!!

    June 27, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. In the fold

    That does it for me I am back IN THE FOLD , Convinced that Only Obama the almighty one has all the answers. He will get my job back from Mexico. He will provide me and my family with health care. He will lower the price of oil and build refineries so that the gas is cheaper. Paradise, Paradise in America. We will all live in harmony.

    Oh My God I just woke up from a bad dream. Obama was elected.
    Thank God it was only a dream.

    June 27, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Phil, FL

    McCain is very very very scarey.

    June 27, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. arnoldray

    What McCain proposed is GREAT, and it is working. It was designed to get us motivated, brainstorming ideas and discussing it. I think the old man has much wisdom. Instead of talking about how we are going to tax innovation to death, like barack wants, let’s start innovating. Barack says new ideas, reach for the stars, yes we can. But as soon as we start actually doing it, him and his supporters come right out and say "No, we can't". Sounds pretty two-faced to me. Before one starts shooting down everyone’s dreams, he needs to live up to his own potential. I have not heard ANY new ideas from that fool barack, he just craps on everyone else’s ideas and efforts, and has nothing to offer other than HOPE. McCain is not just hoping it will happen, he is out making it happen and I am a democrat that supports Mac all the way now. I now see who just is going move this country in a positive direction, unite us and get us motivated again. Mac is back, and he has this democrats vote. McCainocrats, let's unite around this guy. He obviously is the one that has what it takes, walk, not talk.

    June 27, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. McLiar !!!!

    McCain.....Iunderstand 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.......LYING OLD FART!!!!

    June 27, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. aaron from minneapolis

    I like it, Obama paints McCain to be like Bush. And now isn't it fun that old man McCain is taking the same strategy and comparing Obama to Carter who had low approval ratings. McCain has no original thoughts.

    June 27, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. DMAC in ID

    Just what retraiing is he thinking?? Not everyone can go into the medical professin or want to work in the service indrustries. Why not work on trying to get manufacuring jobs either back or new manufacturers to take the place of the ones that left. Lets get back to
    Made in America" products.

    June 27, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. Janet, American via Canada

    Free Trade has hurt both USA & Canada! Both economy's are tied together, and if one loses the other loses jobs!

    Just like all the off shore jobs left the USA , Canada lost the same!
    One only has to realize that USA has over 300M people Canada only has 31M! Therefore, it doesn't take much for the economy in Canada to drop!

    So whatever the Politican say is just another B.S. Story, wether in the USA or Canada, we both have the same old stories and lies regarding the economy!

    India, China, and other off shore slave labour from the Coporations who charge triple the cost of merchandise, while making billions for their own pockets!

    June 27, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Leigh

    "...said he would be "glad to streamline" the dispute mechanisms included in trade agreements."

    Doesn't that mean re-negociate? Isn't that the very thing he was criticizing Obama for?

    IDIOT!!!!

    June 27, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Sherri

    I do not think he understands the "pain" we are in at all. He is extremely rich, he has insurance, he has a pension, he has security...no there is no way he understands the pain of the economic times we are living in. He is arrogant and out of touch with this comment.

    June 27, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. hmmmmm.....smells fishy

    well....we will see if the folks in Ohio can see as well......Mc Cain.....just keep Bush in office then

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