Obama the Politician– Suddenly, NAFTA Looks Like a Grand Idea
Obama Flyer from Ohio Daily Blog
He may have been anti-NAFTA a couple of months ago…
But despite his “overheated and amplified” rhetoric during the Democratic primary, Barack Obama now says that free trade may not be such a bad idea after all.
CNN Money reported:
The general campaign is on, independent voters up for grabs, and Barack Obama is toning down his populist rhetoric – at least when it comes to free trade.
In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine’s upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee suggests he doesn’t want to unilaterally blow up NAFTA after all.
“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.
Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,” he answered.
What Obama says now is that he believes in “opening up a dialogue” with trading partners Canada and Mexico “and figuring to how we can make this work for all people.”
That tone stands in marked contrast to his primary campaign’s anti-NAFTA fusillades. The pact creating a North American free-trade zone was President Bill Clinton’s signature accomplishment; but NAFTA is also the bugaboo of union leaders, grassroots activists and Midwesterners who blame free trade for the factory closings they see in their hometowns.
The Democratic candidates fought hard to win over those factions of their party.
Is anyone really surprised by this?
UPDATE: Obama the politician is scheduled to meet with union leaders this week.
Which Obama do think will show up?
As the Wall Street Journal says, “Just words.”