Off-base on NAFTA and "Hillary Care"
UPDATED Monday 11:30 a.m.
I am at Manchester airport, on my way back to Baltimore, after a fascinating four days in the Granite State. I will file a wrapup report tomorrow. There have been lots of statements to fact check, several of which will take a little more time. Here are a couple of quick ones that caught my attention from Clinton's Town Hall meeting in Peterborough and a Mitt Romney "Ask Mitt anything" meeting in Salem.
The former president was asked about his support for the NAFTA trade agreement, which is not too popular around here. (Hillary Clinton now says she opposes it.) He did his best to distance himself from it, even though he supported it vigorously back in 1993, declaring that Congressional approval would mark "a decisive moment" in American history.
Today, his tune was very different. "NAFTA was largely a trade agreement with Canada and largely done when I got there," he told the Town Hall meeting. The first part of that statement is nonsense, as NAFTA applied to Mexico as much as Canada. It is true that NAFTA had been negotiated under Bush 41, but Clinton was a passionate supporter, and was key to persuading Congress to ratify the agreement in November 1993.
UPDATE: White House reporter Peter Baker (who also covered the Clinton White House) points out that Bill Clinton not only pushed NAFTA's passage through Congress but also negotiated labor and environmental agreements before doing so which, he said, satisfied his concerns -- concerns that he and his wife now raise.
Mitt Romney once again denounced "Hillary Care" and "socialized medicine" at a meeting with his supporters in Salem. He then proceeded to praise his own health plan for Massachusetts when he was governor, saying he wanted to introduce something similar throughout the nation. Romney's plan for Massachusetts is strikingly similar to the Clinton health care plan, complete with individual mandates and a ban on insurance companies excluding people for a "pre-existing condition."
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