From the Fact Check Desk: Despite Obama Claim, Clinton Never Called NAFTA a "Boon"

Trying to peel away some of Hillary Clinton's blue collar support, the Obama campaign has released a mailer hammering her for having supported NAFTA.

"Hillary Clinton believed NAFTA was 'a boon' to our economy," the outside of the flier says.

Inside the flier is more precise, saying:

"A little more than a year ago, Hillary Clinton thought NAFTA was a 'boon; to the economy. According to a Newsday issues rundown, 'Clinton thinks NAFTA has been a boon to the economy."

You can see the flier in full by clicking HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Newsday has now written about the controversy.

"Back in Sept. 2006, an abbreviated chart printed on Newsday's Spin Cycle page compared Hillary with her Democratic US Senate primary challenger Jonathan Tasini on a variety of issues. The issues chart included this:


"JONATHAN TASINI: Tasini favors scrapping the Bill Clinton-backed North American Free Trade Agreement, saying it drives down domestic wages.

"HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Clinton thinks NAFTA has been a boon to the economy, but voted against the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, saying it would drive jobs offshore."

So it wasn't Clinton who used the word "boon," but Newsday, the newspaper says.

But, writes the newspaper, it does "not have a direct quote indicating her campaign told us she thought it was good for the economy at that time. Also, for that matter, Clinton's campaign did not contact us to question the item after it appeared in print.

"Obama's use of the citation in this way does strike us as misleading. The quote marks make it look as if Hillary said 'boon,' not us. It's an example of the kind of slim reeds campaigns use to try to win an office.

"That said, we should have been clearer."

It seems pretty clear that Obama's campaign have been misleading on the word "boon."

Last month in the Myrtle Beach, SC, debate, Obama said, "I know that Hillary on occasion has said — just last year said this (NAFTA) was a boon to the economy."

Last November, Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod told CNN, "on this issue of NAFTA, just a year ago Senator Clinton said it was a boon to our economy and one of the great achievements of the Clinton administration."

On the other hand -- bigger picture -- opinion-writers who oppose NAFTA have argued that Clinton has clearly shifted on this issue from praising NAFTA to condemning it.

- jpt

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