June 22, 2008


McCain Defends Trade Pact: As Candidate Visits Canada, His Team Bashes Obama on NAFTA (Perry Bacon Jr., 6/21/08, Washington Post)

McCain said his visit to Canada was "not a political campaign trip," and his remarks centered on keeping relations between the United States and Canada strong. The Republican from Arizona did not refer to Obama by name and refused to take questions on political matters at a news conference after his speech, though he was accompanied by top political adviser Charles R. Black Jr. McCain spent much of his trip in closed-door meetings with Canadian officials.

Nonetheless, his comments on NAFTA invoked Obama's criticism of the agreement, and McCain's campaign attacked the senator from Illinois on the issue throughout the day, accusing him of changing his position after becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee.

"For months, Barack Obama said that he would 'make sure that we renegotiate' NAFTA, demanded unilateral changes and threatened to unilaterally withdraw if he did not get his way," McCain said in a statement released by his campaign. ". . . Now he claims: 'I'm not a big believer in doing things unilaterally.' "

Throughout his primary battle with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Obama was a strong critic of NAFTA, describing it as a "big mistake." He said he wanted to renegotiate the deal with Mexico and Canada to impose requirements on worker pay and environmental safeguards.

Obama's position was questioned after a report that adviser Austan Goolsbee had downplayed the candidate's rhetoric as "political maneuvering" in a meeting with a Canadian diplomat in Chicago.

Obama says he still wants to renegotiate parts of the deal, but he backed off of some of his harsh language in an interview with Fortune magazine published this week.

Becoming the Democratic nominee requires you to grovel before groups--like unions--whose position are opposite those of the American people and harmful to the country, which is why you have to run from them once you win the nomination. The big question is whether you'd then make the Bill Clinton mistake--governing like the part man rather than the national candidate--or whether you'd have sense enough to go Third Way from Inauguration Day. Senator Obama doesn't seem the canniest pol around, so it's easy to see him replaying '92-'94.

Whereas, truckling in the GOP primaries forces you to take morally proper and optimal political positions, Is Pastor Hagee Good for the Jews? (DAVID VAN BIEMA, 6/20/08, TIME)

Cutting ties with John Hagee has proved to be a lot easier for Senator John McCain than it has been for some of the very Jewish groups most offended by the conservative Evangelical pastor's statements about God and the Holocaust. McCain moved to dissociate himself from Hagee after a 1999 sermon was publicized in which Hagee claimed that God intended the Holocaust, and had prophesied it in the Book of Jeremiah. "And that will be offensive to some people," Hagee boomed. "Well, dear heart, be offended. I didn't write it. Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said, 'My top priority to the Jewish people is to get them back to Israel.' "

But where McCain cut ties with the Evangelical mega-pastor who had endorsed his candidacy, Abe Foxman, head of the anti-Semitism watchdog organization the Anti-defamation League, appeared more willing to forgive. The reason for Foxman's reluctance to abandon Hagee may have been summed up in a letter from the pastor carried on the ADL's website, in which Hagee points out, "I have devoted much of my adult life to combating anti-Semitism and supporting the state of Israel."

Hagee's support for the Jewish State — he also heads up the influential organization Christians United for Israel, and was a key speaker at last year's conference of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — has brought Israel millions, if not billions of dollars from Evangelical tourism, and it has delivered political support for a strong pro-Israel policy in Washington.

...though you may, mistakenly, dump them for the General.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 22, 2008 9:46 AM
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