Barack Obama's disciples keep blowing smoke and waving mirrors at the memo written by a Canadian consular official in Chicago, outting Obama's double-speak about NAFTA. But in spite of all the spin and wishful thinking, the memo won't go away.
This spin-doctoring comes in various flavors, the crudest of which is a diary on the recommended list with 500 recommendations on Daily Kos, CBC Exonerates Obama.
Weirdly enough, in this "refutation" of the story about Obama's lead economic advisor Austan Goolsbee talking to the Canadian consul and another consular official at the Canadian consulate in Chicago, the words consul, consulate, consular, and Chicago do not appear.
The "refutation" of a story about the consul never mentions the consul. It never mentions the consulate. Forget about Chicago! Forget about the Canadian consular official who wrote the memo.
Forget the memo!
Canada is seriously embarassed by the appearance of meddling in a U.S. election, and they really, really want it to go away, but nobody is directly contradicting the consul, George Rioux, or Joseph DeMora, the consular official who wrote the memo. The closest thing to a denial that Obama's disciples can find is an anonymous source in the Canadian Embassy in Washington, who says the memo may be mistaken.
An anonymous source says the memo may be mistaken.
So what? I can find an anonymous source who says the earth may be flat. "George Bush may be smarter than Einstein," according to an anonymous source.
Meanwhile, back in reality, the memo itself still nails Obama for bullshitting about NAFTA, and the facts don't change just because Obama's people hope they disappear and have the audacity to deny them.
So along with this update I'm republishing my original diary, "Obama's Big Lie About Nafta," which relies solely on direct quotes from the memo written by a Canadian consular official about a meeting between Obama's lead economic advisor and the Canadian consul in Chicago.
There is no serious dispute about the facts.
Barack Obama's lead economic advisor says that "Obama's tough talk on the North American Free Trade Agreement is just campaign rhetoric not to be taken seriously."
As reported in the New York Times today, Austan Goolsbee, who has been Barack Obama's economic advisor since Obama's Senate campaign in Illinois, told Canadian consular officials in Chicago that "much of the rhetoric that may be perceived to be protectionist is more reflective of political maneuvering than policy."
Obama's double-speak about NAFTA was revealed in a 1,300 word memo written by a Canadian consular official, Joseph DeMora, recounting a meeting between himself, Goolsbee and the consul general in Chicago, Georges Rioux.
The closing section of the memo specifically mentions Ohio:
"As Obama continues to court the economic populist vote, particularly in upcoming contests like Ohio, we are likely to see a continuation of some of the messaging that hasn't played in Canada's favour, but this should continue to be viewed in the context in which it is delivered."
So as Obama "continues to court the economic populist vote," we can expect to hear a lot more "campaign rhetoric not to be taken seriously," but it's "more reflective of political maneuvering than policy."
Goolsbee and the Obama campaign claim that Mr. DeMora's report of the meeting is "completely crazy."
So either Obama has been lying about NAFTA all along, or the Canadian Consulate in Chicago assigned a lunatic to report on a meeting with Obama's lead economic adviser.
Addendum: In the comments, "Thomas C" refers to a Globe and Mail story about who leaked the memo, and whether the Clinton campaign made similar assurances to Ian Brodie.
The Globe and Mail story affirms my account of the memo:
Days later, the leak of the internal Canadian diplomatic note revealed that Mr. Obama's adviser, Austan Goolsbee, spoke to Mr. Rioux on Feb. 8.
In a summary of the meeting written by Canadian diplomat Joseph de Mora, Mr. Goolsbee was described as indicating that Mr. Obama's NAFTA stand "should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."
The Globe and Mail also says that the possibility similar assurances were made by the Clinton campaign is based on "a terse, almost throwaway remark that Mr. Brodie made to journalists from CTV, according to people familiar with the events."
Since the story about the consular meeting with Mr. Goolsbee in the New York Times included actual quotes from the memo, a formal diplomatic document, instead of impressions about "a terse, almost throwaway remark," I went with the story that had a solid source, instead of a "story" that didn't.
On a different subject, readers without the functionality of "trusted users" to see hidden comments may be surprised to learn that out of 74 comments on this diary, 24 are now hidden.