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David Sirota

David Sirota

Posted: April 30, 2008 03:42 PM

ABC Digs Into Clinton Trade Hypocrisy - Clinton Campaign Responds With More Deception


On Monday, I wrote about Hillary Clinton airing an ad decrying the closure of a defense manufacturing factory that her husband, Bill Clinton, helped close by approving the sale of the company to a Chinese state-owned firm. Now, ABC News is running with the story, and uncovers some more ugly details. The Clinton campaign has responded not by fessing up, but by putting out more dishonest deceptions.

From Jake Tapper:

"A memo prepared for [Indiana Senator Evan] Bayh by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service earlier this year stated that the Clinton administration could have objected to the sale under CFIUS, but it did not...In 2000, also during Bill Clinton's presidency, Magnequench purchased from UGIMAG the factory in Valparaiso that manufactured the Neo magnets. President Clinton's administration took no steps to stop the purchases in 2000, either."

The sale was a pretty serious national security issue, not so much because the technology was sensitive, but because the sale means our military has to rely on foreign companies for critical weaponry. Here's Tapper:

The two Chinese companies were headed by the husbands of the first and second daughters of then-Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. One of those daughters was at that time "vice minister of China's State Science and Technology Commission, whose responsibilities included acquiring military technologies by whatever means necessary," according to David Cay Johnston in Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Corporations Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You With the Bill).

"Complaints about the sale of Magnequench were made to the U.S. government because of the military applications for the magnets," Johnston reports. "Still, the Clinton administration, an ardent proponent of globalization, approved the sale."

Around that time, Shingleton says, "there was talk about the national security issue and the loss of jobs because they were leaving. Some of the higher-wage jobs left immediately [in 2000]. I knew personally some people who were managers and who lost their jobs."

Not surprisingly, the Clinton campaign is compounding its deception with more deception as it tries to explain away this latest controversy. McClatchy today quotes Clinton spokesman Jonathan Swain claiming that "In 1995, when this group bought Magnequench, there were assurances made that production would stay in the United States." But as ABC recounts, the Congressional Research Service reports that the state-owned Chinese company that Clinton allowed to purchase Magnequench "promised to keep those Anderson, Ind., jobs in the U.S. only until 2005."

This is about as pristine an example of Clintonian deception and parsing as you are going to find. First comes the pander - an ad that conveys that signature Clinton bite-the-bottom-lip, feel-your-pain message of empathy and outrage. Then comes the revelation that the whole thing Clinton supposedly feels bad about was originally brought about by the Clinton administration, which she endlessly touts. And finally there is the lying - pretending that there were "assurances" that what happened wouldn't happen, when in fact those assurances were not what's being claimed.

With both Indiana and North Carolina being among the two worst-hit states by the Clinton-backed NAFTA/PNTR policies that this Magnequench controversy epitomizes, you would think this would make a perfect issue for Barack Obama to start talking about.

Join the book club for David Sirota's upcoming book, The Uprising, due out on 5/27.