The "Gold Standard" Of Flip-Flops

- November 14, 2015

Today Marks The Anniversary Of Clinton Proudly Touting The Trans-Pacific Partnership As The "Gold Standard" Of Trade Agreements, An Agreement Which She Now Opposes As A Presidential Candidate


  • Today marks the 3-year anniversary of Hillary Clinton proudly touting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as the "gold standard in trade agreements."
  • Despite leading negotiations on the TPP as Secretary Of State, Clinton has flip-flopped against it as a presidential candidate amidst pressure from the liberal wing of the Democrat party.
  • Clinton's "absurd" flip-flop had been heralded as "unbelievable" and has left Americans with an "unnerving" feeling about a possible Clinton presidency.


On November 15, 2012, Clinton Proudly Said That The "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." 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)

  • 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)
  • Clinton "Owns" The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Despite Her "Increasing Ambivalence About Its Details." "The deal is one of the most ambitious items left on Barack Obama's White House bucket list. But his former secretary of state owns it too, even though she has expressed increasing ambivalence about its details and could soon disown it outright, as some in her circle have suggested." (Victoria Guida, "Will Hillary Clinton Flip On Trade?" Politico, 10/5/15)

Former Obama Adviser, David Axelrod, Said Of The TPP That Clinton Was "There When This Thing Was Launched" And Clinton "Was Extolling It When She Left." "'The fact is, she was there when this thing was launched and she was extolling it when she left,' David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Mr. Obama, said Tuesday. 'She's in an obvious vise, between the work that she endorsed and was part of and the exigencies of a campaign. Obviously, her comments plainly weren't helpful to moving this forward.'" (Michael Shear and Amy Chozick, "Hillary Clinton Walks The Line Between Presidential Ally And Aspirant," The New York Times , 6/17/15)

Click To Watch

Clinton Touted The Trade Deal On 45 Separate Occasions

CNN Headline: "45 Times Secretary Clinton Pushed The Trade Bill She Now Opposes." (Jake Tapper, "45 Times Secretary Clinton Pushed The Trade Bill She Now Opposes," CNN, 6/15/15)

In January 2013, Clinton Praised The Trans-Pacific Partnership As A Deal That Offers "Great Economic Opportunities" To Participating Nations. "We also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we shared perspectives on Japan's possible participation, because we think this holds out great economic opportunities to all participating nations." (Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, Remarks With Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida After Their Meeting , 1/18/13)

In July 2012, Clinton Said The TPP Would "Lower Barriers While Raising Standards On Everything From Labor Conditions To Environmental Protection To Intellectual Property." "So we're working on expanding it through a far-reaching, new regional trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would lower trade barriers while raising standards on everything from labor conditions to environmental protection to intellectual property. Both of our countries will benefit. And in fact, economists expect that Vietnam would be among the countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership to benefit the most. And we hope to finalize this agreement by the end of the year." (Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, Remarks With Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh After Their Meeting, 7/13/12)


However, Since Becoming A Presidential Candidate Clinton Has Flip-Flopped, Publicly Opposing The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Saying The Deal Has Not "Meet The High Bar" She Has Set. PBS's JUDY WOODRUFF: "So are you saying that as of today, this is not something you could support?" CLINTON: "What I know about it, as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it. And there is one other element I want to make, because I think it's important. Trade agreements don't happen in a vacuum, and in order for us to have a competitive economy in the global marketplace, there are things we need to do here at home that help raise wages. And the Republicans have blocked everything President Obama tried to do on that front. So for the larger issues….and then what I know, and again, I don't have the text, we don't yet have all the details, I don't believe it is going to meet the high bar I have set." (PBS's " News Hour," 10/7/15)

Click To Watch

Clinton's "Absurd" Flip-Flop On The TPP Was Widely Panned And Is Perhaps Her Greatest Flip-Flop Ever

Clinton's Flip-Flop On The TPP Is "Unbelievable" Because Of Her Previous Support, "The Wiggle Room She Left For Herself, And The Fact That She Hasn't Even Fully Reviewed The Trade Accord Because It's Not Public Yet." "This flip-flop isn't believable at all. For starters, there was the time as secretary of state when she said TPP 'sets the gold standard in trade agreements.' In her book, 'Hard Choices' (which she sent out to all the GOP candidates), she called TPP 'the signature economic pillar' of the Obama administration's strategy in Asia. And then there's the wiggle room she left for herself, as well as the fact that she hasn't even fully reviewed the trade accord because it's not public yet. 'I'm continuing to learn about the details of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, including looking hard at what's in there to crack down on currency manipulation, which kills American jobs, and to make sure we're not putting the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers. But based on what I know so far, I can't support this agreement,' she said in her statement yesterday." (Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann, "Why Clinton's Trade Flip-Flop Is So Unbelievable," NBC News' First Read, 10/8/15)

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 Motivations. "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's Jack Shafer: Despite Clinton's "Encyclopedic View" Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership, She "Pulled A Moonshiner's Turn" To "Skedaddle Away From It." "And who among us had a better vantage from which to assemble an encyclopedic view on the Trans-Pacific Partnership than Clinton? She praised it endlessly while secretary of state, but pulled a moonshiner's turn last week to skedaddle away from it." (Jack Shafer, "The Hole In Hillary's Flip-Flop Excuse," Politico, 10/14/15)

  • Clinton's Proneness To Flip-Flops "Promises To Make Every Day Of Her Presidency A Surprise." "No slave to ideology-even her own progressive ideology-she promises to make every day of her presidency a surprise. Unless, of course, new information intrudes." (Jack Shafer, "The Hole In Hillary's Flip-Flop Excuse," Politico, 10/14/15)
  • "The Constant Need For Re-Dos Appears To Indicate That She'd Make A Lousy Surgeon And A Bad 3 A.M. President." "The constant need for re-dos appears to indicate that she'd make a lousy surgeon and a bad 3 a.m. president." (Jack Shafer, "The Hole In Hillary's Flip-Flop Excuse," Politico, 10/14/15)

Vox's Ezra Klein: Clinton's Flip-Flop On The TPP Exposes Clinton's "Unnerving" Governing Philosophy. "I don't truly know what's in Clinton's heart - perhaps I'm wrong, and despite all evidence to the contrary, she holds all these positions deeply - but as a close reader of her record, I'm not convinced that Clinton, in office, wouldn't support policies like the Cadillac tax or negotiate trade deals like the TPP. And as someone trying to understand Clinton's likely governing philosophy, it's unnerving." (Ezra Klein, "Why Clinton's TPP Opposition Unnerves Me," Vox, 10/8/15)

The New York Times' David Brooks: Clinton Flip-Flop On TPP Proves She Will "Do Whatever She Needs To Do, Say Whatever Needs To Be Said And Fight For Whatever Constituency Is Most Useful At The Moment." "In order to navigate her way through the wilds of politics and the morass of an ungovernable nation, she'll do whatever she needs to do, say whatever needs to be said and fight for whatever constituency is most useful at the moment." (David Brooks, Op-Ed, "Hillary Clinton's Opportunist Solution!" The New York Times, 10/9/15)

Financial Times Editorial: Clinton's Flip-Flop On The TPP Is "Close To Absurd" And The Latest Example Of Her "Frequent Tactical Changes In Principle Wrapped In Rhetorical Equivocation." "During her political career, Hillary Clinton has acquired an unfortunately well-deserved reputation for frequent tactical changes in principle wrapped in rhetorical equivocation. This week's apostasy by the Democratic frontrunner for president concerned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the flagship trade treaty involving 12 Asia-Pacific nations on which an outline agreement was sealed this week. Mrs Clinton, while carefully not committing herself to full-blown opposition, said she was not in favour of what she understood the deal to be. This stance is close to absurd. As secretary of state Mrs Clinton was closely involved in negotiations for the very pact she is now against." (Editorial, "Hillary Clinton, The TPP And The Trust Problem," Financial Times, 10/8/15)

  • "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 It Comes To Trade Agreements. "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)


When Campaigning In Front Of Pro-Trade Organizations, Clinton Leaves The Door Open To Flip-Flop Back On The Trans-Pacific Partnership. 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)

Clinton's Tone On Trade Strikes A Similar Chord With Her Style In 2007, When Clinton Praised NAFTA In Front Of Free Traders And Slammed NAFTA In Front Of Big Labor. "Appearing before free-trade supporters, she 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 Is "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 TPP Is "Just The Latest In A Long Line Of Issues That Clinton Has Shifted Her Views On" Since Beginning Her Campaign. "The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is just the latest in a long line of issues that Clinton has shifted her views on in recent weeks, giving Democratic rivals like O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an opportunity to brand her as a flip-flopper on the eve of the first Democratic presidential debate." (Ken Thomas and Lisa Lerer, "Trade Deal, Keystone Open Clinton To Flip-Flop Charges,"The Associated Press, 10/8/15)

  • Clinton Recently Flip-Flopped On The Keystone XL Pipeline, A Project She Claims She Was "Inclined" Support As Secretary Of State. "Leading up to the Oct. 13 primetime encounter in Las Vegas, Clinton has announced her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, a project she said she was 'inclined' to support back in 2010 as President Barack Obama's secretary of state." (Ken Thomas and Lisa Lerer, "Trade Deal, Keystone Open Clinton To Flip-Flop Charges," The Associated Press, 10/8/15)
  • Clinton Is Also Justifying Her Flip-Flop On Gay Marriage, A Cause She Once Opposed "For More Than Two Decades." "She touted her support for gay marriage during a weekend appearance before the Human Rights Campaign - yet she opposed same-sex marriage for more than two decades in public life." (Ken Thomas and Lisa Lerer, "Trade Deal, Keystone Open Clinton To Flip-Flop Charges," The Associated Press, 10/8/15)

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