The "Gold Standard" Of Flip-Flops

- June 27, 2016

New Video Shows Clinton's Effusive Praise For TPP As The "Gold Standard In Trade Agreements"



  • As Secretary of State, Clinton heaped praise on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling it the "gold standard in trade agreements," publicly supporting the trade deal at least 45 times and taking a "leading part in drafting" it.
  • Now that she's campaigning for President, Clinton has shamelessly flip-flopped, claiming she opposes the very "gold standard" trade deal she fought to create as Secretary of State.
  • Clinton's TPP flip-flop has been slammed by as "damning," "a classic political decision," and "one of the more brazen flip-flops in recent political memory."
  • Clinton has even implied that she might flip-flop again on TPP, saying that she only opposes the trade deal now and is open to switching if "changes" are made.
  • Throughout her more than twenty years in Washington, Clinton has flip-flopped on numerous trade deals from TPP to NAFTA to KORUS to the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, saying she opposes them on the campaign trail before supporting them in office.



As Secretary Of State, Clinton Called The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Deal The "Gold Standard" In Trade Agreements, Took "A Leading Part In Drafting" TPP, And Publicly Expressed Support For It At Least 45 Times

As Secretary Of State In November 2012, Clinton Called TPP The "Gold Standard" In Trade Agreements, Saying It Includes "Strong Protections For Workers." CLINTON: "So it's fair to say that our economies are entwined, and we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner. This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Techport Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, 11/15/12)

Click To Watch

As Secretary Of State, Clinton Took "A Leading Part In Drafting The Trans-Pacific Partnership." "She's pressed the case for U.S. business in Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other countries in China's shadow. She's also taken a leading part in drafting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade pact that would give U.S. companies a leg up on their Chinese competitors." (Elizabeth Dwoskin and Indira Laksmanan, "How Hillary Clinton Created A U.S. Business-Promotion Machine," Bloomberg , 1/10/13)

As "One Of The Leading Drivers Of The TPP When Secretary Of State," CNN Found That Clinton Spoke In Favor Of The Trade Deal At Least 45 Times. "But as members of the Obama administration can attest, Clinton was one of the leading drivers of the TPP when Secretary of State. Here are 45 instances when she approvingly invoked the trade bill about which she is now expressing concerns." (Jake Tapper, "45 Times Secretary Clinton Pushed The Trade Bill She Now Opposes," CNN, 6/15/15)

After Leaving The State Department, Clinton Touted Her Support For TPP In Her Memoir Hard Choices, Saying TPP Is "Important For American Workers" Because They Will "Benefit From Competing On A More Level Playing Field." "One of our most important tools for engaging with Vietnam was a proposed new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would link markets throughout Asia and the Americas, lowering trade barriers while raising standards on labor, the environment, and intellectual property. As President Obama explained, the goal of the TPP negotiations is to establish 'a high standard, enforceable, meaningful trade agreement' that 'is going to be incredibly powerful for American companies who, up until this point, have often been locked out of those markets.' It was also important for American workers, who would benefit from competing on a more level playing field. And it was a strategic initiative that would strengthen the position of the United States in Asia." (Hillary Clinton, Hard Choices, 2014, p. 77)

Now On The Campaign Trail, Clinton Has Shamelessly Flip-Flopped, Claiming She Opposes TPP

In October 2015, Clinton Reversed Course, Now Publicly Saying She Opposes TPP. "After months of delicately avoiding expressing an opinion on the controversial trade deal, Mrs. Clinton said the agreement in its current form did not meet her high bar for protecting American workers, the environment and advancing national security." (Amy Chozick, "Hillary Clinton Opposes Obama's Trade-Pacific Trade Deal," The New York Times , 10/7/15)

On The Campaign Trail Clinton Says She Would Reject "Bad Trade Deals…Including The Trans-Pacific Partnership." CLINTON: "We'll say no to bad trade deals and unfair trade practices including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which does not meet my high bar for creating good paying jobs." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Raleigh, NC, 06/22/16)

Click To Watch

Clinton Even Tried To Delete Instances Of Her Support For TPP From Her Memoir About Her Time At The State Department

In Hard Choices, Clinton Spoke Favorably Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Deal, Including How As Secretary Of State She "Worked Hard" To Convince Other Nations To Join The Trade Deal. "So we worked hard to improve and ratify trade agreements with Colombia and Panama and encouraged Canada and the group of countries that became known as the Pacifica Alliance - Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile - all open-market democracies driving toward a more prosperous future to join negotiations with Asian nations on TPP, the trans-Pacific trade agreement." (Hillary Clinton, Hard Choices, 2014, cclxxiv)

But In A More Recent Paperback Version Of Hard Choices, Clinton's Mention Of Her Work To Bring More Nations Into TPP Talks Has Been Deleted. "At the same time, a review of the hardback edition of her memoir as secretary of state, 'Hard Choices,' compared to the paperback - first noted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) - finds that segments of the book where Clinton describes an effort to convince American countries to join the TPP negotiations have been left out. We encouraged 'all open-market democracies driving toward a more prosperous future to join negotiations with Asian nations on TPP, the trans-Pacific trade agreement,' the original version of the book reads in a two-page segment discussing a 2009 conference in El Salvador. Those two pages have been cut from the paperback version of the book, according to CEPR." (Clark Mindock, "Hillary Clinton State Department Memoir omits TPP Reference In Paperback Edition," The International Business Times , 6/7/16)

Clinton's Flip-Flop On TPP Has Been Slammed By As "Damning," "A Classic Political Decision," And "One Of The More Brazen Flip-Flops In Recent Political Memory"

In October 2015, CNN's Erin Burnett Said That Clinton Spoke Out "No Fewer Than 45 Times" In Favor Of TPP, Saying "That's Pretty Damning." CNN ANCHOR ERIN BURNETT: "Gloria, let me start with you. According to CNN, Hillary Clinton spoke out no fewer than 45 times, let me just say that again, 45 times in favor of this trade deal that this week she says she's against. That's pretty damning isn't it?" CNN'S GLORIA BORGER: "Yeah, I think it is. And when you look at her words, and again, here we are, parsing Hillary Clinton's words, she said as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it. So, does that mean at a certain point, she can say, well, okay, that was then and this is now if she believes that during a general election she might want to switch a little bit? I think it is pretty damning." (CNN's " Erin Burnett OutFront," 10/8/15)

Former Clinton White House Advisor David Gergen Agreed Clinton's Flip-Flop Was The Reason Why People See Clinton As Dishonest And Untrustworthy, Saying "She Was For The Trade Deal As Secretary Of State, Now She's Against It." CNN ANCHOR ERIN BURNETT: "And David, to this point, this seems to be part of the reason people rate Clinton as dishonest. A poll the other day looked for the top four word associations for Hillary Clinton. This has been done before. It was done again a couple of days ago. Liar, dishonest, untrustworthy, fake were the four words. This would seem to be part of the reason why." FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE ADVISER DAVID GERGEN: "Well I think that's right, I must say, flip-flopping happens a lot in politics, but given her narrative, her prevailing story that you can't trust her, this is going to play into that narrative. I think Gloria's right, it is damning. It's not the only issue on which she's flip-flopped. She was for the trade deal as Secretary of State, now she's against it." (CNN's " Erin Burnett OutFront," 10/8/15)

Click To Watch

Former Obama Adviser David Axelrod Said Clinton's Move Was "A Classic Political Decision, That You Can Flip-Flop If You Flop Over To The Popular Side Of An Issue." CNN'S JAKE TAPPER: "A lot of Obama administration officials shaking their heads when Hillary Clinton first staging intimating that she might vote against this trade deal, that as you know, she really helped push when she was Secretary of State. Are you surprised?" FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER DAVID AXELROD: "No, not really. Look, I think this is kind of a classic political decision that you can flip-flop if you flop over to the popular side of the issue, and I think that's the calculation she made. The great risk though is that her great liability in this race so far has been this sense that she's inauthentic, and that's of course Bernie Sanders strength, or one of his strengths. And so, this lurch on this issue opens her up to another charge inauthenticity and I think you may hear some of that on the stage on Tuesday." (CNN's "The Lead," 10/8/15)

Click To Watch

The Washington Post Editorial: Clinton's Trade Flip-Flops Are "Transparently Inconsistent" And "Insults The Electorate's Intelligence." " Ms. Clinton's dash for the tall grass is transparently inconsistent with the position she embraced as Mr. Obama's secretary of state. 'Our hope is that a TPP agreement with high standards can serve as a benchmark for future agreements - and grow to serve as a platform for broader regional interaction and eventually a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific,' she wrote in an October 2011 cover story for Foreign Policy magazine. Indeed, given this well-known record, her avoidance now rather insults the electorate's intelligence." (Editorial, "Hillary Clinton, MIA On Trade, " The Washington Post ," 5/12/15)

Former Governor Martin O'Malley (D-MD), Now A Clinton Endorser, Described Clinton As An "Architect" Of TPP While Criticizing Her Flip-Flop In October 2015. CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT DANA BASH: "You mentioned leadership. Hillary Clinton has shifted left on several policy issues over the last couple of weeks and months. The biggest was this past week on a pretty big trade deal that she once called the 'gold standard.'" FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: "And that she had worked for and was probably an architect of." (CNN's " State Of The Union," 10/11/15)

Click To Watch

Salon's Jack Mirkinson Said Clinton's Opposition To TPP Is "One Of The More Brazen Flip-Flops In Recent Political Memory" Due To The "The Jaw-Dropping Transparency" Of Her Political Motivation. "Nothing says 'election season' quite like politicians dumping their long-held policy stances overboard in a desperate gambit to gain votes, but you have to hand it to Hillary Clinton. With her recently-announced opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, she's making one of the more brazen flip-flops in recent political memory. What's so amazing about Clinton's newfound opposition to the highly controversial deal is the jaw-dropping transparency of the move." (Jack Mirkinson, "Memo To Progressives: Hillary Clinton Is Lying To You," Salon, 10/8/15)

Politico Magazine's Bill Scher: "While Hillary Clinton Is Probably Lying About Her Newfound Opposition" To Obama's Trade Agenda, She Is "Simply Doing What Every Democratic Presidential Nominee Has Done On Trade For The Past Three Decades: Campaign One Way, Govern Another." "While Hillary Clinton is probably lying about her newfound opposition to President Barack Obama's trade deal, that doesn't tell us much about her character. She is simply doing what every Democratic presidential nominee has done on trade for the past three decades: campaign one way, govern another." (Bill Scher, "Hillary's Free Trade Fake-Out," Politico Magazine, 10/8/15)

Leave It To Clinton To Keep The Door Open To Flip-Flopping Again On TPP When Campaigning In Front Of Pro-Trade Organizations

Shortly After Her TPP Flip-Flop In October 2015, Clinton Told The Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce That She Was "Against [TPP] Now" But Was Open To Flip-Flopping Back If "Changes" Were Made. MODERATOR: "So you're evolving on the issue?" CLINTON: "No, I am against it now, but we'll see whether there is any kind of significant changes. I mean look if the congress tomorrow adopted my entire you know working wage agenda I'd be pretty excited about that, but I think that will have to wait 'til I'm actually there as President." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce, 10/15/15)

Click To Watch


Financial Times Editorial: TPP "Is Not The First Time Mrs. Clinton Has Spoken From One Side Of Her Mouth When In Office And From The Other Side When Out Of It" On Trade. "This is not the first time Mrs Clinton has spoken from one side of her mouth when in office and from the other side when out of it. When she was running against Mr Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, she said that she would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 'to take out the ability of foreign companies to sue us because of what we do to protect our workers'. After joining Mr Obama's administration in 2009, she reversed course and supported similar "investor-state dispute settlement" provisions in the TPP." (Editorial, "Hillary Clinton, The TPP And The Trust Problem," Financial Times, 10/8/15)

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

FLIP: In 2003 In Her Book "Living History," Clinton Praised NAFTA, Calling It An Example Of The Economy "Reaping The Benefits, Not The Burdens Of Globalization." "Creating a free trade zone in North America- the largest free trade zone in the world- would expand U.S. exports, create jobs and ensure that our economy was reaping the benefits, not the burdens of globalization." (Hillary Rodham Clinton, Living History, 2003, p. 182)

FLOP: In August 2007, Clinton Said "NAFTA And The Way It's Been Implemented Has Hurt A Lot Of American Workers." QUESTION: "Let's move on to another important topic for this audience in particular, the subject of trade. Senator Edwards had touched on this, Senator Clinton. Over the weekend, this past weekend, you expressed some disappointment that NAFTA, in your words, did not realize the benefits that it was promised - it promised, rather. How would you fix it?" CLINTON: "Well, I had said that for many years, that, you know, NAFTA and the way it's been implemented has hurt a lot of American workers. In fact, I did a study in New York looking at the impact of NAFTA on business people, workers and farmers who couldn't get their products into Canada despite NAFTA. So, clearly we have to have a broad reform in how we approach trade. NAFTA's a piece of it, but it's not the only piece of it." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, AFL-CIO Presidential Candidates Forum, Chicago, IL, 8/7/07)

  • After Promoting Her Husband's Trade Agenda For Years And Lobbying For The Passage Of NAFTA, Clinton Moved Away From Her Husband's Policies During Her 2008 Campaign. "Clinton promoted her husband's trade agenda for years, and friends say that she is a free-trader at heart. 'The simple fact is, nations with free-market systems do better,' she said in a 1997 speech. Now, she is moving away from her husband's policies by opposing a trade deal with South Korea and raising questions about NAFTA. 'We just can't keep doing what we did in the 20th Century,' Clinton said in a March interview." (Kim Chipman and Nicholas Johnston, "Edwards's Stance On Trade May Attract Union Support," Bloomberg , 8/7/07)

U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS)

FLIP: At A 2007 AFL-CIO Townhall, Clinton Told Union Members Said She Would Oppose A Free Trade Agreement With South Korea Since It "Put American Jobs At Risk." "Senator Hillary Clinton says she will oppose ratifaction of the U.S. free trade agreement with South Korea. Clinton says the agreement would harm the U.S. automotive industry and put American jobs at risk. 'Trade agreements need to be fair if they're going to work,' the Democratic candidate president said in Detroit, Michigan before a townhall meeting hosted by the AFL-CIO." (Jamie Crawford, "Clinton Says Trade Deal Would Cost U.S. Jobs," CNN's Political Ticker, 6/9/07)

FLOP: But As Secretary Of State, Clinton Said Convincing Congress To Ratify The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement Was One Of Her "Top Priorities." CLINTON: "I am pleased to report that KORUS is currently ready for review by the United States Congress. This is a high, if not a top -- I think it is probably one of my top priorities for the next months. We are determined to get it done, and I believe we will. We will need your help. It will be important to keep making the case to both of our respective legislative bodies." (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The American Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, Seoul, South Korea, 4/17/11)

FLIP: Once Campaigning For President Again, Clinton Announced That She Opposed The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. CLINTON: "I think that there are still a lot of unanswered questions, but for me, it really comes down to those three points that I made, and the fact that we've learned a lot about trade agreements in the past years. Sometimes they look great on paper. I know when President Obama came into office, he inherited a trade agreement with South Korea. I, along with other members of the Cabinet, pushed hard to get a better agreement. We think we made improvements. Now looking back on it, it doesn't have the results we thought it would have in terms of access to the market, more exports, et cetera." (PBS's "News Hour," 10/7/15)

Colombia Free Trade Agreement

FLIP: In 2008, Clinton Told Communication Workers That She Opposed A Free Trade Agreement With Colombia, Pledging To Defeat It And Claiming She Would Do "Everything I Can" To Reject It. "Speaking about the Colombia trade deal at a Washington meeting of the Communications Workers of America union, Clinton proclaimed: 'As I have said for months, I oppose the deal. I have spoken out against the deal, I will vote against the deal, and I will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.'" ("Clinton Reiterates Opposition To Colombia Trade Pact," Los Angeles Times, 4/9/08)

FLOP: But As Secretary Of State, Clinton Said "We Are Absolutely Committed To Passing The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement." CLINTON: "And of course, we are absolutely committed to passing the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement to open new markets and create jobs and opportunities for both of our peoples." (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Remarks With Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin , Washington, DC, 5/31/11)

Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)

FLIP: Clinton, On The Day CAFTA First Passed The Senate In 2005: "This Is A Sad Day For Supporters Of Free And Fair Rules-Based Trade." CLINTON: "This is a sad day for supporters of free and fair rules-based trade. Our relationship with our Central American neighbors is a critical one. The right CAFTA deal would strengthen ties between the U.S. and these nations. I urge the Administration to reopen the CAFTA negotiations and re-establish the broad, bipartisan coalition for trade."(Secretary Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 6/30/05, S. 7731)

FLOP: As Secretary Of State, Clinton Touted Her Efforts Relating To CAFTA And Said "We've Worked To Promote Growth And Create Jobs Through … Multilateral Pacts Like NAFTA And CAFTA-DR." CLINTON: "In our region, prosperity has widened in recent decades. We've worked to promote growth and create jobs through sound fiscal policy, bilateral trade agreements, multilateral pacts like NAFTA and CAFTA-DR, and institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank." (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Pathways To Prosperity Ministerial, San Jose, Costa Rica, 3/4/10)

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