03/28/2008 02:48 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Clinton's NAFTA Attack Against Obama Is Unfounded

Since when is double hearsay admissible to prove truth ?

Hearsay is a statement made out of court and not under oath which is offered as proof that what is stated is true. The hearsay rule is declared in Rule 802 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The rule simply states that hearsay is inadmissible as evidence because of the unavailability of cross-examination to test the accuracy of the statement. There are numerous exceptions to the rule, however, mainly for statements made under circumstances that assure reliability.

If we remove the smoke and mirrors, NAFTA Gate is nothing more than a discussion about he said, that he said, that he said and at the end of the day, what he said, that he said, that he said was officially rejected as being untrue. Why then did Senator Clinton, an attorney with so much "experience," resort to using statements, the veracity of which are highly questionable, and amount to double hearsay to boot?

The response of each candidate to the unofficial Canadian memo is a gauge voters can use to determine the true character of each candidate. Senator Clinton's campaign said the memo proves that Senator Obama's campaign issued false denials about sending a private message to Canadian officials to disregard his criticisms of NAFTA. Senator Obama camp said it's all a misunderstanding, and the Canadian embassy in Washington says it regrets the whole thing.

On Tuesday, February 26, while debating in Cleveland, Ohio, both Senators Clinton and Obama took identical stands on NAFTA. Both agreed when pressed by NBC's Tim Russert that they would threaten to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA unless Canada and Mexico agree to new terms.

According to, on Wednesday, February 27, the Canadian television network (CTV) ran a story headlined, "Obama staffer gave warning of NAFTA rhetoric." Quoting anonymous sources, it said a top Obama "staff member" telephoned
Canada's ambassador to the U.S. to warn that the candidate's criticisms of NAFTA should not be taken seriously.

Curiously, Senator Clinton is alleged to have engaged in the same conversation with Canadian officials for which she casts dispersions on the character of Senator Obama. On February 27, she categorically denied that she made any such statements but engaged in a desperate media blitz about double hearsay statements regarding Senator Obama's. An explanation of why Senator Obama's denials are deemed false and the denials of Senator Clinton are accurate. Perhaps this tactic is nothing more than gamesmanship designed to divert our attention from the truth about her historical stand on NAFTA.

On Thursday, February 28, the Canadian embassy in Washington called the CTV story about Senator Obama "untrue": "The Canadian Embassy confirmed that at no time has any member of a Presidential campaign called the Canadian Ambassador or any official at the Embassy to discuss NAFTA. Last night the Canadian television network, CTV, falsely reported that such calls had been made. That story is untrue. Neither before nor since the Ohio debate has any Presidential campaign called Ambassador Wilson or the Embassy to raise NAFTA."

Despite the disseverment by the Canadian Embassy on Thursday, the Clinton campaign issued a press release headlined "NAFTA-Gate: False Denials from the Obama Campaign." The press release was issued on Monday, March 3 and lists various statements purportedly made by Senator Obama or his campaign staff denying any such contact between anyone from his campaign and Canadian officials. In a conference call with reporters, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said that "the Obama campaign conveyed to the people of Ohio one thing about NAFTA, and conveyed another thing to the Canadian government."

The ridiculousness of this unwarranted diatribe by the media and Senator Clinton is all too obvious. We have enough serious national and international issues with which we should be concerned and which make it entirely unnecessary to engage in a massive media blitz about false and trivial minutia. It is time to cease and desist from all that insults the intelligence of the American people. We have been victimized by lies and secrets long enough.

To further aggravate matters, the timing of the events that transpired wreaks of a political set up. Auston Goolsbee, an economics professor at the University of Chicago and the senior economic adviser to the Obama campaign Goolsbee said the meeting took place at the invitation of the Canadians, and lasted about 40 minutes including perhaps two to three minutes discussing NAFTA, according to the Associated Press (AP). The AP quoted Obama spokesman Bill Burton as saying that Goolsbee was not representing the campaign during the visit and was not authorized to share any messages from the campaign.

Thankfully, the Canadian government denounced the entire matter yesterday, silencing all of the political pundits who exhausted the air waves over the weekend. Senator Clinton's camp is silenced on the matter as well. The Canadian embassy in Washington officially said it "deeply regrets" the affair, and that "there was no intention to convey, in any way" that Obama was being inconsistent about NAFTA. The affair causes a row in the Canadian Parliament. Jack Layton, the head of Canada's New Democratic Party, accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party government of "interfering in the U.S. Democratic primaries ith false accusations trying to silence Barack Obama who simply wants to amend the NAFTA."

All facts are based on information from