Jack Kemp falsely asserted Clinton and Obama have "call[ed] for a halt to trade with Canada and Mexico"

››› ››› MEREDITH ADAMS

On Hannity & Colmes, Jack Kemp falsely claimed that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have "call[ed] for a halt to trade with Canada and Mexico." In fact, both have spoken of "opt[ing] out" of NAFTA if the agreement is not renegotiated.

On the March 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, 1996 Republican vice presidential candidate and Copley News Service columnist Jack Kemp falsely claimed that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have "call[ed] for a halt to trade with Canada and Mexico." He said: "Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are totally wrong in calling for a halt to trade with Canada and Mexico. Are you kidding me? They're our first- and second-largest trading partner." However, neither Clinton nor Obama has called for a halt to trade with Canada or Mexico. Both have spoken of "opt[ing] out" of NAFTA if the agreement is not renegotiated.

During the February 26 Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland, NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert asked Clinton, "Will you as president say we are out of NAFTA in six months?" Clinton responded, "I have said that I will renegotiate NAFTA, so obviously, you'd have to say to Canada and Mexico that that's exactly what we're going to do." Russert reiterated, "You will get out. You will notify Mexico and Canada, NAFTA is gone in six months." She replied, "No, I will say we will opt out of NAFTA unless we renegotiate it, and we renegotiate on terms that are favorable to all of America."

Responding to further questions from Russert, Clinton said:

CLINTON: It is not enough just to criticize NAFTA, which I have, and for some years now. I have put forward a very specific plan about what I would do, and it does include telling Canada and Mexico that we will opt out unless we renegotiate the core labor and environmental standards -- not side agreements, but core agreements; that we will enhance the enforcement mechanism; and that we will have a very clear view of how we're going to review NAFTA going forward to make sure it works, and we're going to take out the ability of foreign companies to sue us because of what we do to protect our workers.

Russert again asked, "Absent the change that you're suggesting, you are willing to opt out of NAFTA in six months?" Clinton responded, "I'm confident that as president, when I say we will opt out unless we renegotiate, we will be able to renegotiate."

Russert then asked Obama, "Simple question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, 'This has not worked for us; we are out'?" Obama replied, "I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton's answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has been happening so far."

From the March 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: But this is where I figure I agree with Senator McCain. I agree that he has been great on the war. I agree -- I love his "no new tax" pledge. I love his pledge to eliminate earmarks. I know he's not gonna nationalize health care. And I think we're gonna have better judges.

A lot -- the other areas we disagree on, so maybe I agree with him 70 percent of the time. How will he persuade the conservatives that he said at CPAC he needs to win this election?

KEMP: Well, you know, you -- you suggest every night that conservatism is just giant monolithic. It isn't. There are differences of opinion. For instance, I believe that John is right on immigration. He talked about people who are children of God, and they should be treated with respect. Throw the criminals out --

HANNITY: I agree with that, too.

KEMP: Wait, wait

HANNITY: Without breaking the law.

KEMP: -- throw the criminals out, but make sure we treat people humanely.

Number two, he's right on NAFTA. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are totally wrong in calling for a halt to trade with Canada and Mexico. Are you kidding me? They're our first- and second-largest trading partner.

John wants to cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 to 25, wants to expense all investment, and wants to make permanent a 15 percent capital gain tax, a 15 percent dividend tax, and a 15 percent estate tax. That would strengthen the U.S. economy.

Posted In
Economy, Trade
Person
Jack Kemp
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
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