ABC's Tapper distorted Clinton's comments on NAFTA

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

In a blog post, ABC's Jake Tapper wrote, "Campaigning in Indiana on Friday, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, claimed to have been a 16-year vocal opponent of NAFTA." But in the very comments Tapper cited, Clinton did not assert that she had "been a 16-year vocal opponent of NAFTA"; rather, she said she "spoke out" against NAFTA starting in 1992.

In a March 31 post on his Political Punch blog, ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper wrote, "Campaigning in Indiana on Friday, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, claimed to have been a 16-year vocal opponent of NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement]." But in the very comments Tapper cited, Clinton did not assert that she had "been a 16-year vocal opponent of NAFTA"; rather, she said she "spoke out" against NAFTA starting in 1992. As Tapper himself reported, Clinton said, "I spoke out against it starting in 1992 -- the president made a different decision. ... I think now with 14 years of experience under our belt, we can see that in some parts of our country there have been, perhaps, some economic advantages, but in other parts of our country, like where we are right here in northwest Indiana, it hasn't worked as it was promised, and therefore I think we need to renegotiate it."

Moreover, Clinton's comments are consistent with past comments -- previously reported by Tapper, but not included in his March 31 blog post -- by former presidential adviser David Gergen: "I was actually there in the Clinton White House during the NAFTA fight and I must tell you Hillary Clinton was extremely unenthusiastic about NAFTA. And I think that's putting it mildly. I'm not sure she objected to all the provisions of it but she just didn't see why her husband and that White House had to go and do that fight. She was very unhappy about it and wanted to move on to health care. So I do think there's some justification for her camp saying, you know, she's never been a great backer for NAFTA."

Tapper's blog post, headlined "Hillary claims she 'spoke out against' NAFTA starting in 1992," in full:

Campaigning in Indiana on Friday, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, claimed to have been a 16-year vocal opponent of NAFTA.

"I spoke out against it starting in 1992 -- the president made a different decision," Clinton said. "I think now with 14 years of experience under our belt, we can see that in some parts of our country there have been, perhaps, some economic advantages, but in other parts of our country, like where we are right here in northwest Indiana, it hasn't worked as it was promised, and therefore I think we need to renegotiate it."

Given that Clinton was the headline attraction at a pro-NAFTA meeting in November 1993 and was praising NAFTA in public throughout the 90s, the claim seemed interesting. When was she "speaking out" against it?

Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson says that Clinton argued against supporting NAFTA internally on the 1992 campaign before then-Gov. Bill Clinton decided to support it.

Would you consider that to be "speaking out against it"?

Posted In
Economy, Trade, Elections
Network/Outlet
ABCNews.com
Person
Jake Tapper
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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