Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wednesday roundup - Harper: Oops!

A good argument can be made that Barack Obama's mishandling of the NAFTA-Canada issue** cost him crucial votes -- not only in the close contest in Texas, but also in Ohio; even though Obama lost the Buckeye State to Clinton, it's reasonable to think that he could have had a better delegate showing with an effective response to the question of whether he really was sending the Canadians mixed signals about an Obama Administration's intentions regarding NAFTA.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Enter Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is none too pleased that someone leaked word of a meeting that took place between a Canadian trade official and an Obama surrogate on the issue. Harper wants heads to roll as a result of the leak, which Harper called "blatantly unfair."

**Need a primer on the NAFTA flap? I've got you covered. From the Reuters article:

The issue arose when Obama and Clinton said in a debate last week they would threaten to pull out of NAFTA -- which joins the United States, Canada and Mexico as trading partners -- unless its environmental and labor standards are renegotiated. Shortly after, a memo circulated that was written by a Canadian diplomat after a February 8 meeting in Chicago with Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee.

"He (Goolsbee) was frank in saying that the primary campaign has been necessarily domestically focused, particularly in the Midwest, and that much of the rhetoric that may be perceived to be protectionist is more reflective of political maneuvering than policy," the memo read.