CTV Sticks by Its Obama Story

In Ohio on Tuesday, Barack Obama told a debate-audience that he favors opting out of NAFTA if the agreement isn’t re-negotiated so as to help more Americans keep their jobs.  Wednesday, CTV reported:

"Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama’s campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA….

"The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value."

Thursday, one Canadian official denied that the conversation took place. Another Canadian official seems to disagree. Today, CTV reports:

"The Obama campaign told CTV late Thursday night that no message was passed to the Canadian government that suggests that Obama does not mean what he says about opting out of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated.

"However, the Obama camp did not respond to repeated questions from CTV on reports that a conversation on this matter was held between Obama’s senior economic adviser — Austan Goolsbee — and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago.

"Earlier Thursday, the Obama campaign insisted that no conversations have taken place with any of its senior ranks and representatives of the Canadian government on the NAFTA issue.

"On Thursday night, CTV spoke with Goolsbee, but he refused to say whether he had such a conversation with the Canadian government office in Chicago. He also said he has been told to direct any questions to the campaign headquarters…." (CTV-2)

It’s interesting that Mr. Goolsbee did not deny having had the conversation with the Canadian official.

CTV also mentioned sources saying that Hillary Clinton had sent a similar message to Canada, but her campaign "flatly denied it."

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is making an issue of Obama’s alleged double-speak, which is understandable if McCain feels that he’ll be running against Obama in November.  CTV continues:

"On Thursday, the Canadian embassy in Washington issued a complete denial.

"’At no time has any member of a presidential campaign called the Canadian ambassador or any official at the embassy to discuss NAFTA,’ it said in a statement.

"But on Wednesday, one of the primary sources of the story, a high-ranking member of the Canadian embassy, gave CTV more details of the call. He even provided a timeline. He has since suggested it was perhaps a miscommunication.

"The denial from the embassy was followed by a denial from Senator Obama.

"The Canadian government put out a statement saying that this was just not true, so I don’t know who the sources were," said Obama.

Sources at the highest levels of the Canadian government — who first told CTV that a call was made from the Obama camp — have reconfirmed their position."

Apparently, this issue is still open.  Can’t someone provide phone records that clearly indicate whether or not Obama campaign operative Goolsbee had a conversation, on a given day, with a Canadian embassy official in Chicago?

Reportedly, U.S. telecom companies have a knack for providing such records (for a fee).

If CTV’s report is accurate the question becomes: Did Obama’s campaign adviser mislead a Canadian official or did Obama mislead American voters who watched Tuesday’s debate?

A presidential candidate’s capacity for truthfulness is at stake.

Instead of campaigning
for one candidate or another, our media should intensely probe this issue until they discover whether the CTV report is accurate.  Period.

We consumers who watch (or read) their reports and buy the products that the various media outlets advertise deserve at least that much.

Captain Ed has more.

CROSS-POSTED AT BUCK NAKED POLITICS

         

Author: DAMOZEL

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15 Comments

  1. I am satisfied that both Clinton and Obama are champions of free trade with the addition of adjustments that soften the excessive impact on communities.

    Ultimately strengthening the US safety net with guaranteed health care, education and SS will liberate free markets to optimize productivity and reallocate resources.

  2. Paul, you make a good point, BUT Damozel's piece is not about the merits of NAFTA or which candidate supports NAFTA (they said the same thing at the Ohio debate).

    The point is that a candidate MAY have misrepresented his actual position to the voters — and that the media should quickly find evidence that shows whether or NOT the CTV report was accurate.

  3. Ultimately strengthening the US safety net with guaranteed health care, education and SS will liberate free markets to optimize productivity and reallocate resources.

    I believe more US cars are built in Canada because of the reduced costs for Canadian auto plants because of the health system in Canada.

  4. “The point is that a candidate MAY have misrepresented his actual position to the voters — and that the media should quickly find evidence that shows whether or NOT the CTV report was accurate.”

    Isn't that the responsibility of CTV? It seems all they have to do is name these unnamed canadian government sources.

  5. Davebo, yeah, I suppose it is CTV's responsiblity to name sources — unless, like so many American media outlets, it got the story based on confidentiality. (Frankly, I don't like that way of playing it, but our media does it all the time.)

    Just days ago, for example, Matt Drudge strongly implied that the Clinton campaign had circulated the “dress photo” — and he kept his source confidential (i.e., didn't share the email address with media outlets).

    Major U.S. media outlets strongly implied that they believed Drudge, because Clinton's campaign didn't deny the allegation strongly enough. At lease one person at TMV used that reasoning to turn a speculation into a virtual conclusion.

    Given that Goolsbee hasn't flatly denied having had the conversation with the Canadian official, don't you WANT to know whether CTV's report is true?

    Given how newsworthy the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of CTV's report is, doesn't our media have an obligation to try to find out?

  6. I made an editing error in another comment but have corrected it.

  7. I'm mostly focused on McCain now and no longer think about Clinton. But I have to ask about the big logic gap here. As you say, “CTV also mentioned sources saying that Hillary Clinton had sent a similar message to Canada, but her campaign “flatly denied it.” So CTV is telling the truth about Obama. But they're inaccurate in the case of HRC, based solely on the word of her campaign. Case closed.

    Hmm.

  8. Unfortunately for you janine, two threads still dangle from the coat you are buttoning up. Goolesby being named, but then refusing to deny. Can't the man articulate the words, “no, I did not”? Secondly, the Clintonistas did not dawdle around as long in coming to the flat denial. Timing and appearances must sync up as well to make the lie convincing.

  9. The issue is not just that a candidate may be lying to the voters: that would be bad enough, but it's also pretty common. The issue is, the candidate who's doing the lying is running on the strength of his being “a new kind of politician.” If this story is true, Obama has just made his entire campaign a cynical fraud.

    None of Obama's supporters seem to get this, though. Like a battered wife defending her husband, some of these folks seem to be able to look the most cynical dissembling in the face and ask for more. Astonishing.

  10. The rampant bias in all of these comments including my own is hysterical.

  11. So I read this, and other articles on this subject, and think…hmmmm….nothing “change” oriented here. Then I see Obama supported Lieberman for senate while Hillary supported Lamont, the party's nominee, and we all know how the netroots hate, HATE, Lieberman…right? Then I see Obama wont rule out the use of Blackwater or other third party security forces overseas while Hillary has introduced a bill to do just that, and I start to think….WTF?????

  12. “Like a battered wife defending her husband”

    More like a smitten finance not sweating the small stuff.

  13. More like a groupie.

  14. It looks like TMV has turned into Spin City as well right now.

  15. BY TMV, I'm mostly referencing the comment boards.

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