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Morning Update: New NAFTA Jousting

by campaign2008
March 4, 2008

The Clinton and Obama campaigns continued to put forth conflicting rhetoric on the subject of trade just ahead of today’s Democratic nominating contests in Ohio and Texas. In a press conference Monday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) defended himself against allegations that Austin Goolsbee, an economic adviser to his campaign, privately assured Canadian officials that he does not really intend to alter NAFTA. Goolsbee did meet with the Canadian consulate, Obama said, but the Canadian embassy “has confirmed that he said exactly what I have been saying on the campaign trail.” Obama has said he would renegotiate NAFTA to include enforceable labor and environmental standards. The Clinton campaign claimed Obama was making “false denials” about Goolsbee’s meeting.

Obama and Clinton also commented Monday on the situation in Colombia. The recent killing of a senior leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) “must not be used as a pretense to ratchet up tensions or to threaten the stability of the region,” Obama said.

Clinton called Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s order to send troops to the Colombian border “unwarranted and dangerous.”

Sen. John McCain (R-TX), who could lock up the Republican nomination in today’s contests, commented Monday on the results of the Russian elections, which he called “yet another step away from democracy in Russia” and a “tragedy of history.”

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