THE BLOG
10/09/2007 04:58 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

BREAKING: Obama Says He Will Vote for NAFTA Expansion

"Obama said he would vote for a Peruvian trade agreement next week, in response to a question from a man in Londonderry, NH who called NAFTA and CAFTA a disaster for American workers. He said he supported the trade agreement with Peru because it contained the labor and environmental standards sought by groups like the AFL-CIO, despite the voter's protests to the contrary. He also affirmed his support for free trade."

The voter's "protests to the contrary" are exactly right. The AFL-CIO does not support the bill expanding NAFTA into Peru, and the much-trumpeted labor/environmental standards leave enforcement up to the Bush administration, rather than empowering third parties to enforce them (like corporations have the power to enforce investor rights provisions in these same trade agreements). Leaving enforcement to the Bush administration -- or any administration -- is the biggest loophole possible. It is precisely why corporate lobbyists have bragged to reporters that the standards are not enforceable.

Obama is the first presidential candidate to officially declare his/her support for the NAFTA expansion moving through the Congress. His announcement is not necessarily surprising, considering he was the keynote speaker at the launch of the Hamilton Project -- a Wall Street front group working to drive a wedge between Democrats and organized labor on globalization issues. His announcement comes just days after a Wall Street Journal poll found strong bipartisan opposition to lobbyist-written NAFTA-style trade policies.

Trade has been known to be a huge issue in Iowa (remember Dick Gephardt in 1988), so this announcement could very well ripple through the 2008 primary.