AP Obtains Memo of Obama Aide’s NAFTA Conversation
“The facts of our story are accurate.” – Greg McIsaac, Communications Manager, News Information and Current Affairs, CTV
There was a reason CTV stood by their story (then re-confirmed it) when I asked them about it last
week. You know, when everyone else, including Obama and his team, as well as
the traditional media (and the Obama blogs) were ignoring it or saying that
there was nothing there. Cable network, blogs and the media blasted headlines that
the CTV story had been debunked when it hadn’t at all. The AP now has the evidence. A memo they obtained that proves top Obama
adviser Austan Goolsbee did indeed reassure the Canadian government about
NAFTA. Of course, Goolsbee is denying their characterization to the AP, with
the Obama team holding his hand while he talks to them and tries to walk the story back.
Mind you, the Canadians
are pro-NAFTA all the way. Let’s also remember that NAFTA helps some areas of
our country, while others suffer. It’s a tough conversation in a primary campaign,
but what it shouldn’t inspire is out right lying, which is exactly what happened
in this case. If Obama believes what Goolsbee told the Canadians he should just say so. But of course he’s not going to do that with Ohio on the line.
The memo obtained by the AP was widely distributed within the Canadian government.
It is more than 1,300 words and covers many topics that DeMora said were discussed
in the Feb. 8 ”introductory meeting” between himself, Goolsbee and the consul
general in Chicago, Georges Rioux.
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,” the memo’s introduction said.
”On NAFTA, Goolsbee suggested that Obama is less about fundamentally changing
the agreement and more in favour of strengthening/clarifying language on labour
mobility and environment and trying to establish these as more `core’ principles
of the agreement.”
Goolsbee said that sentence is true and consistent with Obama’s position.
But he said other portions of the memo were inaccurate. … ..
… .. The Canadian memo said that when Rioux ”asked whether we could expect
to hear more of this as the elections progressed, Goolsbee thought not. In
fact, he mentioned that going forward the Obama camp was going to be careful
to send the appropriate message without coming off too protectionist.
Obama denied the meeting outright to reporters last week, as did Obama’s team.
Now that the memo has surfaced, they know this is very bad news, leaving Goolsbee
up to his neck in trouble:
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said Goolsbee’s visit was not as an emissary
from the campaign, but as a professor from the University of Chicago. He was
not authorized to share any messages from the campaign, Burton said.
Burton, who was on the call while Goolsbee described his visit to
the AP, said, ”It all boils down to a clumsy, inaccurate portrayal
of the conversation.”
Asked if he agreed with Burton, Goolsbee said he did.
Goolsbee is now on a very short leash, while denying everything. The thing is, knowing the Canadians are seriously pro-NAFTA, you’d think someone as smart as Goolsbee would be emphatic when relating any information about U.S. trade policy under an Obama presidency. We’re supposed to now believe the Canadians misinterpreted what Goolsbee related to them?
In the end this is really about trust and about Obama saying one thing
flat out to reporters, when something else had obviously gone down. Unless he’s
going to say that he didn’t know what Goolsbee was doing, which is even worse.
Regardless, what you’re left with is double talk. You know, that stuff old time city pols do when no one is
looking, while presenting another image in public to people at election
time to get their vote. Politics as usual, baby. Hope just left the building.
It’s been replaced by bait and switch.