Pro-Nafta, McCain Delivers Bad News to Ohio Audience
Call him what you will, but McCain is no populist. He's continued to defend NAFTA to working class voters in midwest states, an area where, despite its actual number of characters, NAFTA does tend to be a "four letter word." Such a strategy might seem politically foolish, but without a Democratic opponant to challenge him at the moment, he has plenty of time to elucidate his views on the trade agreement.
Is Nafta a four-letter word?
No, Senator John McCain told an Ohio voter on Tuesday, he did not think so.
“I am prone on occasion to make a mistake,” Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, told Jack O’Connell, a retired labor leader, at a town-hall-style meeting at Youngstown State University. Still, he said, “last time I checked, Nafta has five letters, not four.”
Mr. McCain was responding to a question from Mr. O’Connell, who called Nafta, or the North American Free Trade Agreement, “a bad four letters,” then asked Mr. McCain what he thought of the deal. Mr. McCain’s answer made the crowd laugh, even if his more substantive response — the overall result of the trade agreement has been “a benefit to our country” — was politically unpalatable to many Ohio voters who blame the trade deal for lost American jobs.
Nonetheless, Mr. McCain kept up his free-trade-is-good message in this economically depressed city, a contrast to his Democratic competitors, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who both have called for renegotiating Nafta. Mr. McCain also repeated his message that lost manufacturing jobs would not return, a position that polls show may have helped him lose the Michigan Republican primary in January to Mitt Romney.