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. Proud American

    America watch youselves with this old fool. McCain stands for all this is wrong with America right now. McCain=Bush!!!

    June 27, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. Republican Joe

    Here is a fair trade agreement. You tell other countries that want to trade with the US that they will set the perimeters. You bring 100 million worth of product into the US we will send that same amount into your country. You set the taxes and tarriff rates and whatever they are thats what we will charge also.

    June 27, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Darren

    Well, give McCain credit for one thing – he was able to find an open GM plant in the United States.

    June 27, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. mare

    Reps. McCain set out to break Our Unions–lost jobs, lost industries, lost manufacturing shipped over seas! Start new jobs $8.00 hr– no unions– so we can start over with lower wages. Take it or leave it attitude–

    June 27, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Cynthia

    He feels our pain – oh, that is empathizing with us. We don't want empathy – we want results.

    My questions to CNN is at age 72 is McCain receiving social security in addition to his Senate salary? Just wondering.

    June 27, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. Teddy California

    He is pretty brave. He could talk about something else without opposing free trade. Both Clinton and Obama tried very hard to trash free trade in order to win voters in Ohio. McCain is indeed a different politician, a straight talker. But when the economy is not good (3 consecutive weeks of steep stock market decline!), he is likely to lose. If Democrats have a better candidate than Obama, McCain is sure to lose. Fortunetely for McCain, Democrats are going to nominate someone with very little experiences. McCain still has a fighting chance and I would give McCain 45% chance to win the Presidency despite problems with Republicans and Bush.

    Almost half Americans still think Obama does not have enough experiences. Obama has a few months U.S. Senate experience (other times, he has been running Presidency) and a few years State Senate experiences and a few years community service experiences. He has no other experiences at all including those in private sectors. People will hestitate to give the world only superpower to such an unknown figure. If Obama was a stronger candidate, McCain should be 20% behind, not only 4 or 5% behind. Since he clinched nomination, the oil price is keeping rising, the stock market has been tanking for three weeks in a row. Obama only got moderate boost to lead only by 4%?

    June 27, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Jake Jamahl, Atlanta

    As McCain's drops lower and lower in the polls his true colors emerge. Wishing for an attack on America to help his chances, disregarding and disrespecting Obama's public service, calling a great American Jimmy Carter,"lousy", embracing the hateful right-neck anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish preachers, tying himself to Bush's failed policies are all losing propositions for an America that desires change.

    John, ya coulda been a contenda…..

    June 27, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. arnoldray

    Mac is talking truth. Obama is now a trade advocate. He was for it then against it and is now for it again. If you can't see a liar when he lies to you, then I would consider you lying to cover his lies. Are you people all on drugs? Obama tells you lies on an hourly basis and you try to lie his way out of it. And PLEASE............quit pulling out the AGE-CARD !!! Wisdom comes with experience and time. I will always respect my elders, that is a quality trait in any civilized culture. I will bet you people are the same low lives that will not help and older woman accross the street or even open the door for her, but snatch her purse and laugh while you run to the drug dealer to spend the stolen money. Just quit the age discrimination, how would you like it if we discriminated against you for being sick in the mind. GOD, what a bunch of evil in these people.

    June 27, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Cindy

    Who would have thought of an old coot battling a cold? Maybe the cold meds are making him say all the flip flops from day to day. Not even week to week.

    **Is McShame going to scare the Ohio citizens with gay neighbors like Rove did in 2004?

    June 27, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. LA

    McBush is just a goofy little old man who needs to start working on his bucket list.

    June 27, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Patrick

    This is why I love John McCain, he isn't afraid to tell people what they don't want to hear. You think Obama would tell them the same thing to their faces? Of course not, he would pander to them and tell them free trade is the cause of all their problems whether it was true or not. I love the Straight Talk Express.

    June 27, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. km

    The problem isn't free trade...it is closing the tax breaks to companies who ship our jobs overseas. Our workers end up competing against lower wages to workers in other countries ON TOP OF government incentives that benefit companies to ship the jobs out. That is just nuts.

    June 27, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. mare

    McCain was "in" a war with thousands of POWs, so are all are brave men and women, we are proud and respect, honor all, not just you McCain! But that gives McCain no experience to become President ! McCain says he has the experience–Westly Clark 4 Star General– his whole life was dedicated and still is career expert–He says himself– McCain that gives you no experience!! McCain did he not vote NO on the GI Bill for Vets?

    June 27, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Frank Lee

    Shows how savvy this dinosaur is – walk into an auto plant tell the workers how happy you'll be to send more jobs across the border.

    No wonder he is disliked by both parties.

    June 27, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. John

    Double talk:

    Every trade agreement is not totally fair....BUT

    Insisted that free trade was a net boon for the economy and called for approval of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement...which is not fair for Ohio & Penn.

    June 27, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Texan for Progression

    We are in the condition that we're in because it was by design. Our current president is and has always been heavily vested in oil and energy, which is what lead him/us to Iraq. Now look at the profits being made by oil/energy companies. Oil has always been his focus. Now, it's clear that McCain's focus is on foreign affairs and his story (including his ancestry) is one of military and war. If you think his history coupled with his focus won't play out in war, you are delusional. What's sad is that, much like with Bush, our domestic situation will go neglected while he pursues his personal agenda. Now to be clear, I don't pretend to know what that agenda is, but I do strongly believe that to carry it out, will involve military intervention.

    June 27, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. Reality check

    Someone ask mcCain how its possible to be competetive against countries like China whose workers receive peanuts for pay, have no benefits, work in unsafe conditions where environmental concerns are nonexistent, and cannot complain lest they lose their jobs if not their lives. People who believe America can compete and win in such a business environment are fools and Bush and McCain are included.

    June 27, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. Terrence (Winsotn Salem, NC)

    Okay, there goes the Ohio. Keep talking McCain. You're doing great. LOL

    Obama 08

    June 27, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. Mike

    Yea John that means we should expect more outsourcing of jobs since that would be good for corporate profits for the wealthiest in the country.

    June 27, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. seanm

    Straight talk my foot. McCain should be fighting for Americans to have jobs. Instead he is out there sending over our jobs to foreigners because they "helped us in the war on drugs"? Are you kidding me? Is he running for President of the USA or Colombia?

    June 27, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. John in Virgina

    It is painfully obvious that the only thing this fool has said that is true is that he knows nothing about the economy. The United States is a consumer spending based economy. If any intends to repair it, they better think about how to get those blue collar workers re-employed. As long as they can not spend, everything will continue to slide further down the toilet. The trade agreements must be renegotiated and jobs from new energy policy implemented. Electrical grid and rail transportation infrastructure need serious work too. All McCain can do is look at them and say "Your job isn't coming back." McCain was not a good student (even with the little bit of education he has), he was not a good pilot, he was not a good husband to Carol, and he will not be a good president.

    June 27, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  22. arnoldray

    You two-faced hypocrits call Mac old then you worship Mandela. What a bunch of liars.


    June 27, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  23. Kell Ca

    McBush is an idiot

    June 27, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. Bush-Wacked!

    You know, it has occured to me why Hilary's supporters would rather vote McCain than Obama. Say anything, be everything, or just flip flop your way right into the White House. Yea right. The morons that vote for these bozos best remember that they get the government they deserve. So when the pandering ends and you are worse off than today, don't be one of those remorseful voters in a few years and expect sympathy from me. Oh yea, and experience? If George Bush and Company and the current Congress (both parties I am afraid) represent what experience can give us – it is time for a change.


    June 27, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. Rave

    Mccain can push anything... but Obama will push McCain away in Novemeber.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    June 27, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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