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."
"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.
CROSS-POSTED AT BUCK NAKED POLITICS