A top Hillary Clinton aide from the State Department talked up the former secretary of state's support for the trade deal just yesterday in an interview with National Public Radio. The aide, who has been defending Clinton's policies publicly, is Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former director of policy planning at the State Department.
The NPR reporter asked, "Need to ask you a – it may sound a little impertinent question but it has come up on this program before – and much as I respect Hillary Clinton, it seems to be asked over and over and over again so I’d like to ask you. She was a wonderful boss and you give real tribute to her, give real props to her in working for her, but it’s often said that as Secretary of State she, the all the travel she did she accomplished nothing could put up on a marquee. There was supposed to be a new start with Russia, there were all kinds of things were in the works and here we are. I mean, what can she really advertise from her work as Secretary of State? And I say this also because we have Neil Ferguson on tomorrow talking about his book on Kissinger."
"On Kissinger! I’m happy to answer that question. I mean the first place there are, you know, she laid the groundwork for a lot of what now, frankly, John Kerry is harvesting. I mean without Hillary Clinton putting together this, the coalition to impose sanctions on Iran, you wouldn’t have an Iran deal. So she did that work and it was incredibly hard work. She also was one of the architects of you know, the turn to Asia. And just yesterday, people may not like the trade agreement with Asia, but her point was we have to focus on re-strengthening our alliances with Japan, with the Philippines, with Thailand, with Southeast Asian countries. And we have to engage China, but we also have to tough with China and that was a lot of Hillary Clinton’s work," said Slaughter.
Today Clinton released a statement saying that she opposes the trade deal she helped negotiate. Here's Clinton's statement:
“I’m continuing to learn about the details of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, including looking hard at what’s in there to crack down on currency manipulation, which kills American jobs, and to make sure we’re not putting the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers. But based on what I know so far, I can’t support this agreement.
“As I have said many times, we need to be sure that new trade deals meet clear tests: They have to create good American jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security. The bar has to be set very high for two reasons.
“First, too often over the years we haven’t gotten the balance right on trade. We’ve seen that even a strong deal can fall short on delivering the promised benefits. So I don’t believe we can afford to keep giving new agreements the benefit of the doubt. The risks are too high that, despite our best efforts, they will end up doing more harm than good for hard-working American families whose paychecks have barely budged in years.
“Second, we can’t look at this in a vacuum. Years of Republican obstruction at home have weakened U.S. competitiveness and made it harder for Americans who lose jobs and pay because of trade to get back on their feet. Republicans have blocked the investments that we need and that President Obama has proposed in infrastructure, education, clean energy, and innovation. They’ve refused to raise the minimum wage or defend workers’ rights or adequately fund job training.
“As a result, America is less competitive than we should be. Workers have fewer protections, the potential positive effects of trade are diminished, and the negative effects are exacerbated. We’re going into this with one arm tied behind our backs.
“I still believe in the goal of a strong and fair trade agreement in the Pacific as part of a broader strategy both at home and abroad, just as I did when I was Secretary of State. I appreciate the hard work that President Obama and his team put into this process and recognize the strides they made. But the bar here is very high and, based on what I have seen, I don't believe this agreement has met it.”
President Obama said today that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would cover "40 percent of the global economy." Obama also revealed that eventually the agreement will be made available to the public.
Last Friday, I moderated a panel at Hudson Institute titled, “Why is Qassem Suleimani Smiling? The Iran Deal and Sanctions Relief for Terrorists.” (See video of the event here.) The panel’s focus was not speculative—for instance, how the regime might spend the signing bonus promised by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or how the deal might moderate the regime, or reconfigure Iranian society—but rather looked at the regime’s actual behavior over the last 36 years. In particular, the panel discussed Iran’s acts of terror against Americans, especially servicemen and women.
A week ago, I suggested that—contrary to conventional wisdom and perhaps even to first-blush common sense—the GOP field might benefit from one or more new candidates. One of the well-qualified dark horses I mentioned was third-term Rep. Mike Pompeo from Wichita, Kansas.
Chuck Schumer is coming under fire from President Obama's former top political adviser, David Axelrod. The former advisor is using Twitter to question Schumer's decision to oppose Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.
"Facts are facts, and politics is politics. Schumer made a decision based on politics, not fact," Axelrod wrote in a tweet.
When Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he would vote against the nuclear deal with Iran, he didn’t just take a position -- he rejected every major argument President Obama has made on the agreement’s behalf. Schumer argues this is not a deal that prevents Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but one that brings it to the threshold of nuclear weapons capability. He states that its verification and enforcement mechanisms are flawed. Finally, he points out it provides Iran with tens of billions of dollars it could spend on subsidizing terrorism and other violent pursuits.
President Obama said that Iranian hardliners are "making common cause with the Republican caucus" in a speech today in Washington, D.C.:
"In fact, it's those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It's those hardliners chanting 'Death to America' who have been most opposed to the deal. They're making common cause with the Republican caucus," said the president of the United States.