Obama Adviser Did Talk about NAFTA Despite Campaign’s Denials

by Sean Hackbarth

Barack Obama

The brand of Sen. Barack Obama as political messiah and bringer of a new politics began crumbling today over comments by an adviser about NAFTA:

Barack Obama said Monday that his campaign never gave Canada back-channel assurances that his harsh words about the North American Free Trade Agreement were for political show — despite the disclosure of a Canadian memo indicating otherwise.

According to the memo obtained by The Associated Press, Obama’s senior economic adviser told Canadian officials in Chicago that the debate over free trade in the Democratic presidential primary campaign was “political positioning” and that Obama was not really protectionist.

The adviser, Austan Goolsbee, said his comments to those officials were misinterpreted by the author, Joseph DeMora, who works for the Canadian consulate in Chicago and attended the meeting.

In Carrollton, Texas, Obama told reporters: “Nobody reached out to the Canadians to try to assure them of anything.”

Asked why he had appeared to deny a report last week that such a meeting had taken place, Obama said: “That was the information I had at the time.”

Obama put himself up on that precipice. Enticing swoons and affection with oratory he claims is more authentic than the politics of the past. The tough part is living up to it. Obama rose up in the wild and woolly world of Chicago politics. How long did he actually think he could live up to the expectations of New Political Man?

In a post partially titled “Politics as Usual” Big Tent Democrat writes,

Now it appears, the Obama camp accepts the meeting DID occur and NAFTA WAS discussed, but not in the way portrayed in the meeting. Riiiight. Thank Gawd for the Obama Rules.

Ed Morrissey sums it up well,

Team Obama wants people to think that their candidate represents a new kind of politics. Instead, we see the same lies and obfuscations that Barack Obama likes to accuse others of indulging. They got caught talking out of both sides of their mouths, and after that they tried stonewalling and lying to make the story go away.

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26 Responses to “Obama Adviser Did Talk about NAFTA Despite Campaign’s Denials”

1

LOL! This is the best you guys have?

Here’s how it’s going to play out. The right-wing outrage machine is going to try to make a huge deal, thinking that you’ve caught Obama in some kind of “gotcha”. And you’re going to fall flat on your faces, because Obama has the magic power to make people realize that politicians are human beings, that they don’t possess infinite knowledge over everything their subordinates are doing at all time, and even that it’s possible for a politician to change his or her mind in the face of new information.

Thank Gawd for the Obama Rules.

Which rules are those? The rules where it’s completely ok not to have released your tax records and everybody thinks you’re still a viable candidate after losing 11 primaries in a row? Oh, wait, those are the Clinton rules. Are the Obama rules where you can court the endorsement of a racist, anti-semetic, Catholic-hating religious bigot and nobody says a peep about it? Oh, wait, those are the McCain rules. The Obama rules are where a scary black man that nobody’s given a damn about in 20 years comes out with some kind of endorsement, and suddenly you have to denounce (and reject!) him three times before the cock crows on national TV.

2

This should make the “is he prepared to be president” question clear and well answered. You can give Obama the doubt concluding he will surround himself with people who are knowlegable and thoughtful….wrong. Goolsby shows that Obama will surround himself with inept people that don’t have a good clue as to how to deal with foriegn governments. For gods sake this is Canada america lite can you imagine if Obama made a mistake like this with Russia or China Or N. Korea. UHHHHHH i’m shuttering right now. All of that is the underbelly of this thing on the surface what bothers me is I doubt Goolsby was acting unilaterally it is most likely Obama was aware of what was happening and let it happen. Obama is about as ready to be president as Arnold Ziffle.

3

Also I’d like to note that the same conservatives who complain about Supreme Court justices consulting international law don’t seem to raise a peep when a Canadian politician attempts to influence an American election.

Why is that, I wonder?

4

Canada has already backed Obama’s claims, and apologized for the misunderstanding they caused. end of story.

5

Canada has already backed Obama’s claims, and apologized for the misunderstanding they caused. end of story.

How much you wanna bet we don’t hear much about that in the press?

6

erik, I don’t think so. The Canadian government is being accused of leaking the memo on purpose.

7

Sean, you need to be better informed:

Although Mr. Harper has for days brushed aside allegations that his government interfered in the U.S. presidential campaign, yesterday he promised to “get to the bottom” of the matter and said laws may have been broken.

“It is not in the interest of the Government of Canada, and the way the leak was executed, Mr. Speaker, was blatantly unfair to Senator Obama and his campaign,” the Prime Minister said in the Commons.

“We will make sure that every legal and every investigative technique necessary is undertaken to find out who exactly is behind this.”

Sounds like an apology to me.

8

Q: How can something be ‘leaked’ when it was, as AP reported, “…widely distributed within the Canadian government.”

This is consulate stuff, not exactly state secret material.

There are several levels of lies/deception going on here, all of which begin with Goolsbee.

To begin with, there are not one but two references to Obama’s intentional obfuscation in the de Mora memo:

In the introduction, the memo states that Goolsbee, “was frank in saying that the primary campaign has been necessarily domestically focused, particularly in the Midwest, and that much of the rhetoric that may be perceived to be protectionist is more reflective of political maneuvering than policy,”

Later in the memo the contention is repeated: “He cautioned that this messaging should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.”

Goolsbee, who says the discussion of NAFTA lasted “two or three minutes”, admits the rest of the memo is all good and correct, yet claims of the political positioning issue, “In no possible way was that a reference to NAFTA.”

Read that again and realize what Goolsbee is actually saying.

He is admitting that he DID discuss “political positioning” with the consulate.

So, the question is, at what point in the discussion did Goolsbee talk of Obama’s “political maneuvering”?

9

According to the Globe and Mail, there’s a question about whether or not the conversation was with Obama’s campaign or Clinton’s!

From last night:

Mr. Brodie, apparently seeking to play down the potential impact on Canada, told the reporters the threat was not serious, and that someone from Ms. Clinton’s campaign had even contacted Canadian diplomats to tell them not to worry because the NAFTA threats were mostly political posturing.

The Canadian Press cited an unnamed source last night as saying that several people overheard the remark.

The news agency quoted that source as saying that Mr. Brodie said that someone from Ms. Clinton’s campaign called and was “telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt.”

The story was followed by CTV’s Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not the Clinton’s, had reassured Canadian diplomats.

Mr. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report.

There was no explanation last night for why Mr. Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign. Robert Hurst, president of CTV News, declined to comment.

Ridiculous. And sort of sadly hilarious, that the only black mark anyone’s been able to stain Obama’s campaign with is he-said-she-said anecdotes that may or may not even have occurred.

Like Chet said way up top: This is the best they’ve got?

Of course, i’m still waiting for the media to pick up on any of this. I suppose i’ll just have to keep waiting.

10

>>> According to the Globe and Mail, there’s a question about whether or not the conversation was with Obama’s campaign or Clinton’s!

heh! Good one, DJ!

Never mind the consulate’s memo. Disregard Goolsbee’s (and Canada’s) confirmation. Ignore the admission of Oba-wan Campaign (after denying it).

>>>This is the best they’ve got?

Oh, there’s going to be so much more. SO much more. For starters, there’s this little trial going on in Chi-town right now….

>>> Of course, i’m still waiting for the media to pick up on any of this.

Why would you expect differently from our leftist mainstreamers? They refuses to report anything that looks bad to Obamamama.

But up dere, you hoser, it’s the bee’s knees.

11

Never mind the consulate’s memo. Disregard Goolsbee’s (and Canada’s) confirmation. Ignore the admission of Oba-wan Campaign (after denying it).

Yeah, the memo, which, like i said, is anecdotal. “I spoke to someone who said this.” Oooooo.

As far as admitting/denying/being flustered/what have you coming from the Obama camp, that just tells me that there was mass confusion in the campaign. Which isn’t a good thing, sure, but hardly damning.

For starters, there’s this little trial going on in Chi-town right now…

Yeah, still waiting to hear that Obama’s been connected to any wrongdoing. Trust me, i’m keeping my ears open; the cynic in me wouldn’t disbelieve a smoking gun connecting Obama directly to something illegal. But, again, i have yet to hear anything other than “Rezko helped Obama buy some property.” Oh noes! Stop the presses!

Why would you expect differently from our leftist mainstreamers? They refuses to report anything that looks bad to Obamamama.

Uh, are you high? The whole NAFTAgate thing makes them look bad, even though it’s all anecdotal and speculative.

12

“Them” being the Obama campaign, if i need to clarify that.

13

But, again, i have yet to hear anything other than “Rezko helped Obama buy some property.”

It’s not even clear in what sense Rezko “helped.” Obama bought a small piece of Rezko’s adjoining lot at regular market price, to build a house.

Nobody can seem to figure out where the scandal is, here. Maybe MjM can tell us (I doubt it.)

14
15

Am I surprised someone from Clinton’s campaign talked to the Canadians? No. Speaking out of both sides of their mouth is the Clinton way.

With Obama I’m glad we got a glimpse that’s he’s as much of a politician as anyone. New Political Man he isn’t.

16

>>>Yeah, the memo, which, like i said, is anecdotal.

A 1300-word official document, complete with introduction, describing the events of a particular meeting, and written with first-hand knowledge, is hardly anecdotal.

Lines like “was frank in saying” and “He cautioned that” are specific descriptions, not casual observations.

And the fact that A) Goolsbee diputes only two small phrases in the entire 1300 words, and B) that de Mora felt it necessary and important to mention and explain Obama’s “political maneuvering” twice, is telling me that Goolsbee is lying.

>>> But, again, i have yet to hear anything other than “Rezko helped Obama buy some property.”

So you haven’t heard of the $11-Grand in kickback cash?

You will.

>>> Uh, are you high?
Not for many many years.

>>> The whole NAFTAgate thing makes them look bad,

S’what I’m sayin. And why is that? Because no part of the story can be told without the Oba-wan denial/admission part. So they don’t tell it at all (or hide it on page 12).

>>MSNBC has finally picked up the Globe and Mail story.

Most fascinating!

You deny the first-hand writings of a Canadian diplomat yet willing suck up the complete hearsay of “an unnamed source”.

The most glaring error in the story: “…that call to the Canadian embassy…” – MSNBC

To Wit: no call – by anyone – was placed to the Canadian Embassy. This is why the embassy in Washington was correctly able to deny that they were contacted.

17

UPDATE!

MSNBC – First With Last Week’s News!

The Clinton Connection was debunked a week ago.

February 28, 2008 12:09 PM

ABC News’ Jennifer Parker Reports: A senior Canadian Embassy official in Washington, D.C. disputes a report by the CTV Canadian television network that an Obama campaign staffer telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, to reassure him that campaign rhetoric against NAFTA should not be taken seriously.

“It didn’t happen,” said Roy Norton, who heads up the congressional, public and intergovernmental affairs portfolio for the Canadian embassy.

Norton said none of the three campaigns for Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, or Sen. John McCain have contacted the embassy.

“Neither before the Ohio debate nor since has any of the U.S. presidential campaigns called Ambassador Wilson or the Canadian embassy to raise NAFTA,” he said.

18

So you haven’t heard of the $11-Grand in kickback cash?

You’re delusional, MjM.

19

Norton said none of the three campaigns for Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, or Sen. John McCain have contacted the embassy.

“Neither before the Ohio debate nor since has any of the U.S. presidential campaigns called Ambassador Wilson or the Canadian embassy to raise NAFTA,” he said.

So why are even discussing this? Apparently nothing happened?

20

>>> So why are even discussing this?

Because Oba-wan’s contact with Canadian diplomats occurred at the Chicago consulate…. not the Washington embassy.

The two are entirely different entities yet both diplomatic in mission.

chester wimpers>>> You’re delusional, MjM.

Well, I guess that $150K of Rezko money that Obamamama’s campaign has turned over to charities just kinda came from out of the air.

21

Well, I guess that $150K of Rezko money that Obamamama’s campaign has turned over to charities just kinda came from out of the air.

No, it came from a mobbed-up guy, and Obama got rid of it, like pols are supposed to do when they’re the unwitting beneficiaries of dirty money.

Non-story. What does that have to do with kick-backs? Because that’s the part you made up, MjM.

22

>> What does that have to do with kick-backs? Because that’s the part you made up, MjM.

Prosecutors have evidence that $11,000 of Obama campaign cash came directly from kickback schemes.

Rezko has personally donated almost $80-grand to Obamamama while also being the prime fund raiser for an additional $150grand+

And one has to wonder why Obama paid Rezko’s wife (wink wink) $104,000 for that little piece of land than it was appraised at $40,500.

And one has to wonder why, at the behest of Rezko, Obama also hired the son of long-time Rezko business associate, Rezko COO, and fellow extortionist Joseph Aramanda, who also donated $11,000 to Oba-wan’s campaign.

And one has to wonder why Obama did these things while knowing of the ongoing Rezko investigation.

And I haven’t even gotten to Nadhmi Auchi yet.

23

Correction:

“…$104,000 for that little piece of land than it was appraised at $40,500.”

should read…

“…$104,000 for that little piece of land that was appraised at $40,500.”

24

And one has to wonder why Obama paid Rezko’s wife (wink wink) $104,000 for that little piece of land than it was appraised at $40,500.

That’s your scandal? That Obama paid more than market price?

How does that add up in your little mind, MjM? If you’re going to bribe a politician, typically you pay him, not the other way around.

25

>>> That’s your scandal? That Obama paid more than market price?

Yes. Interesting, isn’t it?

…that Obamamama’s purchase of the Kenwood mansion – at $300,000 less than the asking price of $1.9 mill – could not have occurred unless the adjacent lot was also purchased at full price at the same time.

…that Rezko bought the adjacent lot so that Obama could purchase the mansion, but the purchase was made in wife’s name in order to protect assets from the federal seizure.

…that six months after these purchases Oba-wan then paid Rezko’s wife (wink wink)
$104,000, or $60,000+ extra, or 2.5 times the appraised value, for the small piece of vacant land.

…that this all occurred while Obama knew Rezko was under federal investigation in one of the biggest criminal fraud cases in Illinois history, one that reaches all the way to the governor’s office.

…that Rezko’s wife (wink wink) then sold the vacant lot to Rezko laywer, Michael Sreenan, netting a $50,000 overall profit.

Interesting, indeed.

26

Yes. Interesting, isn’t it?

Not really. Obama paid 1/6 of the original sale price for 1/6 of Rezko’s property. Not really that interesting.

…that Obamamama’s purchase of the Kenwood mansion – at $300,000 less than the asking price of $1.9 mill

False. The asking price was not discounted for the Obamas – confirmed by the sellers – and they offered the highest price.

…that six months after these purchases Oba-wan then paid Rezko’s wife (wink wink)
$104,000, or $60,000+ extra, or 2.5 times the appraised value, for the small piece of vacant land.

Right. Obama paid more than the appraisal value, instead thinking that it would be fairer to pay 1/6 of the original price for 1/6 of the lot.

I’m not seeing the scandal, unless Obama’s sense of fair play is somehow “scandalous” to the perverted conservative mind.

…that Rezko’s wife (wink wink) then sold the vacant lot to Rezko laywer, Michael Sreenan, netting a $50,000 overall profit.

I’m not seeing the Obama connection. There’s no there there, MjM. It’s not “interesting”, that’s just your word to imply scandal where there is transparently none at all.

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