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McCain Reminds Canadians of His Commitment to NAFTA, Criticizes Obama


From CBS News' John Bentley:

OTTAWA – While John McCain did not mention his rival's name directly here today, there was no doubt who he was referring to when he called NAFTA "critical to the future of so many Canadian and American workers and businesses." "Demanding unilateral changes and threatening to abrogate an agreement that has increased trade and prosperity is nothing more than retreating behind protectionist walls," McCain told the Economic Club of Canada. "If I am elected president, have no doubt that America will honor its international commitments -- and we will expect the same of others."

During the Democratic primary, Barack Obama told voters in Ohio he might renegotiate NAFTA. He backed off that statement recently. "Sometimes during campaigns rhetoric gets overheated and amplified," he told Fortune magazine recently. "Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself."

Despite his discussion of NAFTA and trade with Canada, McCain refused to address Obama directly afterwards at a press conference. "This has nothing to do with that or with any political campaign," McCain said. "Discussing it further would impinge on the purpose of my visit."

That didn't stop his campaign, though, from issuing a statement from their candidate. "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. Barack Obama knew better. America has not had a protectionist president since Herbert Hoover, but Barack Obama held his position anyway to further his cynical political purposes in the primary campaign. Now he claims: 'I'm not a big believer in doing things unilaterally,'" the statment from McCain reads. "The American people and our allies deserve better than calculated efforts to re-invent positions to sound less irresponsible."

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