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Rubio, Cruz and Kasich pretended they hadn't backed Obamatrade in yesterday's debate
Howard Richman, 3/11/2016
Julia Hahn of Breitbart is on the story (Rubio, Cruz, Kasich All Backed Obamatrade, Pretend They Didn’t at Miami Debate). Here are some selections. First, Marco Rubio:
At tonight’s debate CNN Moderator Jake Tapper asked Rubio: “If elected, will you support free trade deals even if it means the inevitable loss of U.S. jobs?”
In response, Rubio said:
I support free trade deals that are good for America… The problem is we’re a low-tariff country. To import something into the United States is not very expensive, but many of these countries we can’t export to because their tariffs are too high. And so I am in favor of deals that allow us to bring down those tariffs so that America can sell things to all these people around the world.
However, Rubio endorsed President Obama’s trade agenda. Rubio cast the critical 60th and deciding vote for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to fast-track President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement — a deal which Sen. Rubio said would be a “pillar” of his hoped-for presidency.
Jake Tapper then asked Cruz: “You were a supporter of the Pacific trade deal [TPP], but after taking some heat from conservatives, you changed your position. Why should these voters who don’t like these trade deals trust that you will fight for them all the time and not just in election years?”
In response, Cruz said:
Actually that’s incorrect. There are two different agreements. There’s TPA and TPP. I opposed TPP and have always opposed TPP, which is what you asked about. And when it comes to trade, look, free trade, when we open up foreign markets, helps Americans. But we’re getting killed in international trade right now. And we’re getting killed because we have an administration that’s doesn’t look out for American workers and jobs are going overseas. We’re driving jobs overseas.
However, Cruz voted to fast-track the TPP by voting for TPA on the first go-around. When TPA came up again in the Senate, Cruz changed his position to oppose it while under intense scrutiny from conservatives.....
Moreover, prior to casting his vote to fast-track TPP, Cruz penned an op-ed with now House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in the Wall Street Journal endorsing Obama’s trade agenda –helping give needed momentum for Obama’s new trade powers to be successfully enacted. In that op-ed, Cruz described the TPP as an “historic” agreement that “would mean greater access to a billion customers for American manufacturers, farmers and ranchers.”
This written statement seems to contradict Cruz’s declaration in tonight’s debate that, “I opposed TPP and have always opposed TPP.”
In tonight’s debate, Kasich similarly adopted talking points that seem to contradict his support for Obama’s trade agenda. Kasich told Tapper:
I grew up in a blue collar family. And the simple fact of the matter is that of course we’re sensitive about trade… my position has always been we want to have free trade, but fair trade. And I’ve been arguing all along that it is absolutely critical that when other countries break those agreements, we don’t turn the process over to some international bureaucrat who comes back a couple years later and says, “Oh, America was right,” and people are out of work. The fact of the matter is we have to have an expedited process. When people cheat, when countries cheat and they take advantage of us, we need to blow the whistle. And as president of the United States, I absolutely will blow the whistle and begin to stand up for the American worker. But we don’t want to lock the doors and pull down the blinds and leave the world. Because frankly, if we do that, prices will go up. People will buy less. Other people will be out of work. And we don’t want to see that happen. Trade, though, has to be balanced and we have to make sure that when we see a violation, like some country dumping their products into this country, believe me as president, I will stand up and I will shut down those imports because they’re a violation of the agreement we have and the American worker expects us to stand up.
However, Kasich has similarly been a supporter of Obama’s trade agenda, which economists say could have a significant impact on the nation’s manufacturing core. According to analysis from the Economic Policy Institute, in 2015 Kasich’s home state of Ohio lost 112,500 jobs due to the nation’s trade deficit with TPP countries....
[I]n November, Kasich said that “The trade agreement – the TPP – it’s critical to us not only for economic reasons and for jobs because there’s so many people who are connected to getting jobs because of trade, but it allows us to create not only economic alliances, but also potentially strategic alliances against the Chinese.”
The Breitbart article concludes by pointing out that Trump was the only one of the four who opposed TPP at the time it came up:
By contrast, Donald Trump’s campaign has previously argued that his Presidency is the only way to stop Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, writing in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News: “A Trump Presidency is the only guaranteed way to keep America out of this disastrous trade deal.”
It is not surprising that Senator Mitch McConnell has asked President Obama to wait to bring up TPP until after the election. Before the election, no candidate wants to be identified with it.
Comment by Ron V, 3/16/2016:
Once again, your artcle is dead on the money. Can anyone remember back in 1992, Ross Perot stated that when NAFTA was passed, we will hear a "giant sucking sound going south"! He was also right. Since 1992 our country has lost over 30 million jobs. NAFTA was a disaster when in came into existance and remains a disaster today. Now, with our trade deficit as the largest in the entire world, our apethetic congress and all attached to it, want to pass the TPP for yet another round of flooding our country with more imports and the loss of tens of thousands of American manufacturing jobs! Your articles on tariffs for trade balance are indeed right on spot also inorder to bring jobs back into America. I can see this even, from my laymans point of view, because it is with historic values as something that has been proven to work and is indeed very logical.