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A prominent Canadian medical professional reports to me, after he "leaped out of bed" to e-mail me:  "This story made headlines tonight in Canada in all major Canadian news networks. Barack Obama has been caught lying. Spread this as much as you can because it is true and factually supported.  I think the people of Ohio as well as the rest of America, deserve to know this."

Via News:

... 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, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

More from CTV's story, "Obama staffer gave warning of NAFTA rhetoric":

But Tuesday night in Ohio, where NAFTA is blamed for massive job losses, Obama said he would tell Canada and Mexico "that we will opt out unless we renegotiate the core labour and environmental standards."

Late Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign said the staff member's warning to Wilson sounded implausible, but did not deny that contact had been made.

Imagine, for a moment, that you're the head of state or diplomatic corps, or one of the chief politicians or government officials, for the hundreds of nations across the world. Wouldn't you read this article and wonder WHICH OBAMA you'll be dealing with, and IF he means anything he says?

The article contains quotes critical of both candidates' stands on NAFTA.  But it is only Sen. Obama's senior staff who called Canada's ambassador to the United States to -- wink, wink -- let him in on the real deal:  That his campaign rhetoric, especially in states like Ohio devastated by NAFTA agreements, was just that.  ALL TALK.  No cattle.

Imagine that YOU are one of those union members or factory workers whose jobs have gone overseas.  Imagine that you're hanging on to Barack Obama's "rhetoric" about NAFTA.  Imagine how you'll feel when you find out that -- wink, wink -- it was just campaign talk.

I'd be heartbroken.  I would feel utterly betrayed.

Remember the Machinists' Union president?  Do you recall his outrage at Sen. Obama's promises -- to the faces of machinists from whom he took hard-earned campaign donations -- to save Maytag jobs only to find out that Obama never spoke out for those workers.  And that Obama took donations from the top owners of Maytag and never once mentioned the workers' plight to those executives.

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I found the February 2, 2008 article from McClatchy/Chicago Tribune to which Buffenbarger refers, "Obama's fundraising, rhetoric collide: Union says senator did little to save jobs":

Maytag workers whose jobs were shipped to Mexico serve as consistent characters in Barack Obama's stump speech. He employs their stories in railing against corporations that use trade pacts to replace well-paid union workers with low-cost foreign ones.

It is a ready applause line for the Illinois presidential hopeful, one that he has been reciting almost verbatim since he was a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004, when appliance giant Maytag was in the process of shutting a refrigerator plant here, putting 1,600 people out of work.

But the union that represented most of those Galesburg workers isn't impressed with Obama's advocacy and has endorsed his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Its leaders say they wish he had done more about their members' plight.

What rankles some is what Obama did not do even as he expressed solidarity four years ago with workers mounting a desperate fight to save their jobs.

Obama had a special connection to Maytag: Lester Crown, one of the company's directors and biggest investors whose family, records show, has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Obama's campaigns since 2003. But Crown says Obama never raised the fate of the Galesburg plant with him, and the billionaire industrialist insists any jawboning would have been futile. [BUT OBAMA COULD HAVE TRIED, DAMMIT.]

Aide: Didn't know of tie

Obama's chief political strategist, David Axelrod, said late Thursday that the senator did not know Crown sat on Maytag's board until the Tribune noted it last September in a story about the closing of the Maytag headquarters in Newton, Iowa. ... READ ALL.

Did not know.  Did not care?

So much for the workers affected by NAFTA.  Wink, wink.  Obama thinks he can tell them one thing, and then do either nothing, or something else entirely.  Wink, wink.

We have written numerous articles at No Quarter on Sen. Obama's many misleading, or outright falsehoods, about NAFTA, including:

Lastly, I will leave you with Hillary Clinton's statement on NAFTA tonight in her extended interview aired on PBS Newshour's "Newsmaker" segment:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, as you know, a lot of the blame for losing these jobs has been focused on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. You talked about it at length in the debate last night.

You've said that you've long opposed it. Your critics say, well, it really hasn't been that long. Help us understand, when did you decide that NAFTA was not a good thing?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I had my doubts about it way back at the beginning of Bill's term, but I was working on health care. But David Gergen and others have apparently remembered a lot of the meetings we were in where I raised a lot of questions.

But it's hard to argue with the economic success overall of the Clinton years: 22.7 million new jobs, family income up $7,000 on average, more people lifted out of poverty than at any time.

So the impact of NAFTA and other trade agreements was not so obvious in the economy at large until the Bush administration, because they stopped enforcing trade agreements. They really stopped going to bat to try to keep jobs in this country. They gave more and more tax breaks to, you know, people who were not committed to growing the economy and jobs here.

So since I've been in the Senate, I have raised a lot of serious questions. And I've said, look, I have a plan to fix it. We've got to get core labor and environmental standards in the agreement. We've got to get better enforcement mechanisms. And we have to end the ability of foreign companies to sue over laws we passed to protect our workers.

There's no wink, wink in her statements. There's just the promise of a REAL plan -- not faux rhetoric -- to fix the problems.

There's no behind-the-curtains promise to an ambassador "that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value."

If I were one of those international leaders -- or I were one of those workers who'd lost his or her job, future, retirement, health care, and family stability to NAFTA -- I'd trust President Hillary Clinton to roll up her sleeves and get to work to help cure the complex problems of NAFTA.

Originally posted to SusanHu on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 06:03 AM PST.

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