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Re-Living Hillary’s History: As Obama Discusses Trade Overseas, A Look At Hillary Clinton’s All-Over-The-Map Stance

- April 24, 2014

As Obama Visits Japan To Start His Trip In Asia, One Issue, The Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Will "Rise Above The Rest." "President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will tackle a number of issues during Obama's state visit to Japan, but one issue rises above the rest: whether the two countries can resolve enough of their economic differences to help unlock a broader trade deal across the entire Asia-Pacific region. The United States and Japan are among a dozen countries that have spent nearly four years negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an ambitious effort to create a free-trade zone that would stretch from North and South America to New Zealand and Asia." (Juliet Eilperin and Chico Harlan, "Obama Seeks To Use Japan Trip To Unlock Broader Asia-Pacific Trade Deal," The Washington Post , 4/22/14)

The Atlantic Headline: "How Obama's Free-Trade Push Could Put Hillary Clinton In A Tight Spot." (Ben Schreckinger, "How Obama's Free-Trade Push Could Put Hillary Clinton In A Tight Spot," The Atlantic , 2/21/14)

ONCE A SELF DESCRIBED FREE TRADER, HILLARY CLINTON RAN FROM FREE TRADE THROUGHOUT HER 2008 CAMPAIGN

In 2003, Clinton Praised Free Trade For Allowing The U.S. To Reap "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)

  • In 1997, Then-First Lady Clinton Promoted A Free Trade Agenda Stating "Those Nations Which Have Lowered Trade Barriers Are Prospering More Than Those That Have Not." CLINTON: "The simple fact is: Nations with free market systems do better. Look around the globe: Those nations which have lowered trade barriers are prospering more than those that have not." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks To The Corporate Council On Africa, Chantilly, VA, 4/21/97)

As A Senator, Clinton Moved Away From Free Trade Beginning With Her Vote Against CAFTA

In June And July Of 2005, Clinton Twice Voted Against CAFTA, Which Expanded Free Trade To Some Of The Poorest Countries In The Western Hemisphere. "Passage of the bill that would implement a free trade agreement between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and a separate pact with the Dominican Republic. It also would eliminate customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations within 10 days." (S. 1307, CQ Vote #170: Adopted 54-45: R 43-12; D 10-33; I 1-0, 6/30/05, Clinton Voted Nay; H.R. 3045, CQ Vote #209; Adopted 55-45: R 43-12; D 11-33; I 1-0, 7/28/05, Clinton Voted Nay)

  • The Wall Street Journal : Clinton's "No" Vote Was "The Biggest Surprise" And Showed She Was Abandoning "The Path Of Her Husband As She Seeks The White House In 2008." "The biggest surprise, at least to us, is the no cast by New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. We'd have thought that a modest trade-opening deal with a few poor countries was an ideal chance to continue her march to moderation and demonstrate to business that she'd follow in the path of her husband as she seeks the White House in 2008. Apparently not." (Editorial, "Democrats And CAFTA," The Wall Street Journal, 7/7/05)

CLINTON QUICKLY SHIFTED AGAINST FREE TRADE AS THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS APPROACHED

After Promoting "Her Husband's Trade Agenda For Years," 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)

Los Angeles Times In 2007: Clinton Praises NAFTA In Front Of Free Traders And Slams NAFTA In Front Of Big Labor. "Appearing before free-trade supporters, she [Sen. Clinton] has praised the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement, which is loathed by many unions. But speaking to a union audience as a presidential candidate, Clinton said NAFTA hurt workers." (Peter Nicholas, "Clinton's 2008 Lead Is Clear, Though Her Policies Often Aren't," Los Angeles Times, 10/4/07)

  • As A Presidential Candidate, Clinton's Stance On Free Trade Was "A Tricky Proposition." "For Clinton, free trade is a tricky proposition. Her husband is often identified with NAFTA, which as president he ushered into law despite union opposition. And labor is unhappy about successor trade deals ratified under the Bush administration, some with Sen. Clinton's support." (Peter Nicholas, "Clinton's 2008 Lead Is Clear, Though Her Policies Often Aren't," Los Angeles Times, 10/4/07)

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder: Is Clinton "Modulating Her Language To Adapt To The Populist Vapors Of The Democratic Base?" "[H]as Clinton really become a fair trader? Or is she modulating her language to adapt to the populist vapors of the Democratic base? A case can be made for the latter - and in this case … Clinton (and Barack Obama) face a reality that the Democratic base lives elsewhere. The rhetoric changes and carrots are offered: Periodically reviewing trade agreements, as Clinton wants to do, isn't the same thing as cancelling them; a temporary pause is not the same thing as a permanent moratorium until labor standards can be brought up to snuff; adding oversight to enforce current law is...adding oversight. Proponents of this view note that she supports expanding NAFTA to include Peru ... as did Obama." (Marc Ambinder, "Clinton's NAFTA Reversal," The Atlantic, 11/16/07)

In 2007, At A Union Event, Clinton Called For A "Time Out" On Free Trade Agreements, Pledging To Pursue "Smart Trade." "Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton told union activists Monday she would call a 'time out' on trade agreement if she wins the White House to see if the deals are draining jobs from the U.S. 'I am going to do everything I can to move toward smart trade,' said Clinton. She promised to appoint an official to ensure that trade agreement provisions designed to protect labor and environmental standards are enforced by groups such as the World Trade Organization and the International Labor Organization." (Mike Glover, "Clinton Woos Labor," The Associated Press, 11/12/07)

Clinton Even Turned Against Her Husband's Signature Trade Deal, NAFTA, Despite Having Consistently Supported It In The Past

Clinton Said NAFTA, Signed By President Clinton, Had "Hurt A Lot Of American Workers." SEN. CLINTON: "I had said that for many years, that NAFTA and the way it's been implemented has hurt a lot of American workers." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, AFL-CIO Presidential Candidates Forum, Chicago, IL, 8/7/07)

Clinton Began to Consider NAFTA "A Mistake To The Extent That It Did Not Deliver On What We Had Hoped It Would…" SEN. CLINTON: "Look, NAFTA did not do what many had hoped, and so we do need to take a look at it and we do need to figure out how we're going to have trade relations that are smart, that give the American worker and the American consumer rights around the world. … NAFTA was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would, and that's why I call for a trade timeout when I am president." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, CNN Democratic Presidential Debate, Las Vegas, NV, 11/15/07)

Clinton Said NAFTA Had To Be "Adjusted." "Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton distanced herself … from one of her husband's signature white house achievements, saying NAFTA should be reassessed and 'adjusted' and any new free trade agreements postponed." (Susan Page, "Clinton Seeks To Re-Evaluate NAFTA," USA Today, 10/9/07)

FLASHBACK: In 1998, Then-First Lady Clinton Praised The Passage Of NAFTA, Pledging To Continue Free Trade Advocacy: "It Is Certainly Clear That We Have Not By Any Means Finished The Job That Has Begun." "At the 1998 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she praised corporations for mounting 'a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of Nafta.' She added: 'It is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun.'" (Kristin Jensen and Mark Drajem, "Clinton Breaks With Husband's Legacy On Nafta Pact, China Trade," Bloomberg, 3/30/07)

  • In A 1996 Campaign Stop In Texas, Then-First Lady Clinton Touted NAFTA "Saying It Would Reap Widespread Benefits In The Region." "Meanwhile, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stumped in the heavily Democratic lower Rio Grande valley. In Brownsville, she touted the president's support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying it would reap widespread benefits in the region." ("Clinton Campaigns In Texas," United Press International, 11/1/96)

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