June 27th, 2008
03:34 PM ET
15 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. Kell Ca

    someone please tell McWar to just shut up!

    I mean really, do people really even listen to him. What we need is 4 for yrs of the same.

    NO thanks McWar

    NO thanks!

    vote Obama!

    June 27, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. Cevin, WI

    American workers need to learn to compete against foreign workers, plain and simple. The government doesn't send jobs overseas. Employers do because the labor is so much cheaper in terms of hourly wage and benefits. American workers have consistently negotiated a standard of pay that is out of step with what can be gained overseas or in Mexico. If you want to keep manufacturing jobs in the US, workers have to be committed to producing the highest quality product possible, and producing as many of them as possible. Even with the rising cost of shipping, language programs for managers, foreign IT support, learning how to establish a footprint in a foreign country, etc, it's still cheaper to produce in foreign countries. Cheap laborers in other countries are willing to punch a clock for low wages, what makes the American worker think that companies would rather have someone punch a clock for a high wage? Everytime a candidate panders to the American worker and just tells them what they want to hear, they're doing more damage than the guy who isn't afraid to talk straight and say, "No, the jobs aren't coming back." What a politician CAN do is work to make sure that the other countries are playing fair, that they're not using slave labor, child labor, or things of that sort. That has to be negotiated, unless you want a one-world government policing everyone.

    June 27, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Ken

    That pressure from behind you're feeling from McCain is not "free trade" - he's pushing something else your way....did you get a kiss first?

    To all you [R] kool-aid drinkers: you guys enjoy your "push" time with McCain.

    June 27, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Chris in Va.

    Selling out MORE Americans just like you sold out your country and fellow POW's. You should not be running for president but upon arrival back in the U.S.A. should have been promptly tried for treason. TRAITOR!!!!!

    June 27, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. simply_kris,NE

    "McCain, battling a slight cold" – with due respect, how much longer?

    June 27, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. McCain Means The Same

    Have you ever noticed that all the post that deal with Hillary and Barack fill up really fast? And the McCain post stay open forever. I think that's a sign of how things will go in November. His messages put me to sleep and I don't for one minute think he's the candidate of change. What do you honestly think John McCain will change, his sleeping habits?

    Obama, who will hit the ground working hard for us.

    June 27, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. skunkrat The Marine

    Hey Mightingale Sing, McCain only had twenty one (21) combat hours that included flight to and from target. not very much by any standard. He spent the rest of his time defending America as a POW. There were many POW, so i guess we should make them all President. Defending America; that's what members of the Military do you idiot.
    McCain did what thousands of us did but he is no hero. He was awarded a lot of medals that he did not earn or deserve. Please cut the HERO crap, it didn't happen.

    June 27, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Just Sayin..

    What an idiot! That's like walking into a biker bar and Harley riders are gay! I can't wait till nov to see this sorry old man lose...

    June 27, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Chris in Va.

    How devoted of Cindy McCain to go to Vietnam last week check book in hand to pay hush money to the Vietnameese government to keep evidence of Mc Traitor's treason against our country filed away. At least Benedict Arnold had the decency to not show his face again after the Revolution. You sir have no decency, and are a traitor.

    June 27, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. kathleen

    Don't trust the man. He reads everything off the teleprompter and
    now has recently is reading notes. Not good at that either.

    McCain forgot where he came from. Don't care about the economy
    or the people it affects. Just pretends. Who wants a man for President
    that hangs, "with the fat cats". He'll change alright! In saying what the
    American "people" want to hear. PLEASE! Not another mistake. Please, and did the evangelicals vote for BUSH. GOOD JOB!

    June 27, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. jim

    Man I sure wish we had a good choice but we dont. The republicans are insane to have picked this man. I dont like either one I'm staying home . GOD bless america we are going to need it .

    June 27, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. kathleen

    And the Catholics? Did they vote for Bush. And Pat Robertson spoke
    so highly of Bush when he was running. With his eyes closed, everyday, he said, We know who to vote for??? WINK! Wink!

    From a Catholic.

    June 27, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |

    he said his job re-training proposals coupled with an “emphasis on new technology” in the automotive sector would boost employment...



    June 27, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. AJ

    McCain and the Rich Republicans have no worries. They get everything free. That is the main reason for their lack of understanding. They can charge the gas and repairs to company credit cards. They get sweetheart deals on cars, homes, vacations, you name it. They still are thinking of the 'Trickle Down Theory' that Reagan/Bush pushed on us. If you want to build up America, you have to build the foundation first. The middle & lower income workers need better benefits & pay. We need 40 hour weeks (or less). We need Straight Talk. A Plan of Action and have the plan executed from our elected officials.

    June 27, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. RW, NC

    "Outsourcing is good for the Economy"

    -John McCain

    Please. You people that hate Obama, get past your racism and see that our economy is at stake here.

    Obama '08!

    June 27, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Darth Vadik, it's the greed of the unions that killed American manufacturing. If they had allowed US plants to modernize and become more efficient, they would have lost some jobs. By forcing inefficient work rules into contracts, they are losing ALL the jobs. If you could pay a foreign worker the same in a day as you pay a union worker in an hour, and get a better product, why wouldn't you do that? Also, independent trade groups have concluded that NAFTA has had a small net POSITIVE effect on the US economy.

    June 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. sarah

    at least mccain tells the truth about those jobs being gone for good. oblahblah just babbles on endlessly about hope, as in "i hope they believe this change crap, cuz i dont have a real plan"

    June 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. skunkrat The Marine

    I figured it out; Archie Bunker is running McCain's Campaign and Mr. Magoo is his deputy. I take that back, they could do a better job. Does this Idiot realize how many potential vote he lost today by attacking President Carter. He call Carter a lousy President while endorsing the worst President in history. Bush and his Gang are real WAR CRIMINALS and McDumb goes after Jimmy Carter. Someone tell the old FOOL to shut up. he would have scored more points by criticizing BUSH.
    I wish that I could feel sorry for the Republicans but I Can't, they deserve this stomping that's coming in November.

    June 27, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. kathleen

    The Prestigious ST. LOUIS COMPANY being sold to overseas company. But they plan no changes!!!! Like jobs, unions. No changes!
    Wonder who Missouri will vote for with the most awesome Company in St. Louis being "sold" on the Block to be "removed" from sight. Oh, is that what the stockholders want? Money? ALL for MONEY adding to their own fortunes.Forget the workers and the jobs.

    June 27, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. DM, Arlington TX

    This Man McCain is not looking for a Job to feed his family nor is he looking for health insurance is has money from the VA and the Senate to finance his Health care cost as well as the money from his wife.

    Hell, he just shipping your jobs over seas you won't miss a pay check elect John McCain he really cares for you family...

    Don't he????

    June 27, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. Mike

    In 1992, Clinton said similar things about free trade and about retraining workers in America. I have a feeling most of you Obama supporters would have backed Clinton then. It is actually a good moderate position, which should resonate with independent voters, and it is one that McCain has been fairly consistent on.

    Oh, and don't even bring up the Keating Five scandal, unless you want to discuss Tony Rezko. In each case, the candidate in question exercised poor judgment but likely did nothing illegal. So let's just ignore both scandals, because neither one helps us much in comparing the two candidates.

    June 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. Bob

    Let's see,, so far these "free trade" agreements have cost America many thousands of blue collar jobs, our manufacturing ability has been seriously diminished placing us in peril if a real war ever breaks out. We now have lead painted toys for our children and unsafe food to eat. The dollar is losing it's strength around the world. Our national security is compromised by "globalists" who care nothing about our safety as long as the conduit through which imported trash makes it's way to American markets remain open. We've created a small army of wealthy businessmen who have little ability for business and much talent for exploitation.

    Unless you're one of the few who benefit economically from trade agreements, there's not much to be happy about. If I were receiving consolation from McCain, I'd be angry enough to spit in his face. Much the way our government spits in ours when it facilitates the rape of America.

    June 27, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. bernice

    Is this a joke like, I haven't beat my wife for weeks. That Sen. McCain told a reporter earllier???

    June 27, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  24. andrew s. rostolder

    when i read the head line "mcain calls former pres. lousy, i thought you were talking about bush (boy blunder)... carter may have been a lousey pres. but did no where near the damage that this bufoon has done. my great grand children will be paying the tab for boy blunder and darth cheny.............

    June 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. Peter E

    Free trade... isn't that what led us to the huge China trade deficits? Isn't it also what we continue to deny European companies whenever we feel like it?
    We are really inconsistent around the world about trade.

    June 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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