03/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Camp: Clinton Owes Apology Over NAFTA Comments


Yesterday, with the release of Sen. Clinton's schedule as the former first lady, ABC reported:

One interesting event in Sen. Hillary Clinton's just-released schedules from the 1990s comes on Nov. 10 1993, when the former first lady was to serve as the closing act during a briefing on NAFTA, the trade agreement she now assails....

Two attendees of that closed-door briefing, neither of whom are affiliated with any campaign, describe that event for ABC News. It was a room full of women involved in international trade. David Gergen served as a sort of master of ceremonies as various women members of the Cabinet talked up NAFTA, which had yet to pass Congress.

"It wasn't a drop-by it was organized around her participation," said one attendee. "Her remarks were totally pro-NAFTA and what a good thing it would be for the economy. There was no equivocation for her support for NAFTA at the time. Folks were pleased that she came by. If this is a still a question about what Hillary's position when she was First Lady, she was totally supportive of NAFTA.

This contradicted earlier claims by Sen. Clinton that she had not supported NAFTA while in the White House, and it ran counter to her statements made during the heated run-up to the Ohio primary.

The Obama camp has wasted no time responding, with David Axelrod saying he has "to wonder if this was one of the reasons she was reluctant to get these records out there on a timely basis." He also called the issue a "question of character." Politico reports:

On a campaign conference call just now chief strategist David Axelrod said Clinton "owes an apology to the people of this country" for suggesting that she hadn't been involved in passing NAFTA when her schedules provide "direct, incontrovertible evidence that Senator Clinton was involved on this issue."

UPDATE: The Clinton camp has responded to Sen. Obama's camp demanding an apology:

Once again the Obama campaign is demonstrating that Senator Obama's words can't be trusted. Last year, Senator Obama said that he would not engage in personal attacks. Now, after losses in Ohio and Texas, the Obama campaign is explicitly attacking Senator Clinton's character. Instead of attacking Senator Clinton, Senator Obama should explain to the American people why his top economic policy advisor was telling the Canadians that his promise to fix NAFTA shouldn't be taken seriously. The fact is that independent accounts make clear that Senator Clinton did not support NAFTA and that she is the candidate Americans can trust to fix it.