FactCheck.org posted a story today taking on the now-infamous mailer sent out by the Obama campaign criticizing Hillary Clinton's stand on NAFTA.1 Up to now the debate over the mailers has been muddied by Clinton's cagey stance on NAFTA itself. The argument has focused on the Obama mailer putting quotes around the word "boon" which Newsday now admits was its summation of her position, not a direct quote.
All this begs the question -- what is (and more to the point, was) her position on NAFTA? Team Hillary has been flogging the Newsday article which only suggests that Obama should distance himself from quoting her as saying "boon." They have not offered an alternative history of Hillary's position on the trade agreement.
The FactCheck article sheds a little dark on the matter:
- We frankly find Clinton's past position on NAFTA to be ambivalent. Bloomberg News reported last year that Clinton "promoted her husband's trade agenda for years." Bloomberg quoted her at the 1998 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as praising corporations for mounting "a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of Nafta,'' and adding, "It is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun."
- On the other hand, Clinton biographer Sally Bedell Smith says Clinton privately argued against NAFTA inside the White House and was "not very much in favor of free trade." [Click through for an extensive Bedell Smith quote]
I don't want to condemn a candidate simply based on whom she is married to. On the other hand, we do have the right to ask what policy baggage the Clintons would bring with them if granted a second stay in the White House.
1If you need a reset, here goes. After Jeff Coryell originally posted the mailer in which, New York Newsday ran a story admitting that it had paraphrased a key quote -- that Hillary claimed the agreement was a "boon: to the economy. Campaigning in Cincinnati yesterday, Clinton called Obama out for the mailers.