President Obama touted a proposed free trade agreement with South Korea today by saying it would help create jobs in the United States, a day after the U.S. government announced that the unemployment rate had jumped to 9.8%.
“We have to do more to accelerate the economic recovery,” Obama said as he urged Senate ratification of the “landmark trade deal” with South Korea.
The proposal will support “at least” 70,000 new jobs, and “is a win for American workers,” Obama said, particularly auto makers, manufacturers, and farmers.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the unemployment had risen from 9.6% in October to 9.8% last month. Obama did not comment on the new jobless numbers Friday because he flew to Afghanistan to deliver holiday greetings to U.S. troops.
Advertisement - story continues below
But, that is not what Barack Obama said when he was campaigning for president.
In October 2008, during the third presidential debate, Obama spoke out against the Korean free trade agreement.
OBAMA: For far too long, certainly during the course of the Bush administration with the support of Sen. McCain, the attitude has been that any trade agreement is a good trade agreement. And NAFTA did not have enforceable labor agreements and environmental agreements.
And what I said was we should include those and make them enforceable. In the same way that we should enforce rules against China manipulating its currency to make our exports more expensive and their exports to us cheaper.
And when it comes to South Korea, we’ve got a trade agreement up right now, they are sending hundreds of thousands of South Korean cars into the US. That’s all good. We can only get 4,000 to 5,000 into South Korea. That is not free trade. We’ve got to have a president who is going to advocate on behalf of American businesses and American workers and I make no apology for that.