Hillary's NAFTA Pretensions

Forget about her claim to have dodged sniper’s bullets in Bosnia, or that she was named after Sir Edmund Hilary, or that she met a woman who was denied health care and died.

All of these Hillary Clinton fibs and exaggerations are basically harmless. But her current attempts to lie about her record and to pretend that she always opposed free trade agreements and disagreed with Bill on NAFTA is a serious distortion of her record as she searches for blue collar support in Pennsylvania.

Hillary was a strong supporter of NAFTA. Her official schedule reveals that she attended meetings designed to promote its passage and her memoir, Living History betrays no hint of any opposition to her husband’s key legislative accomplishment of his first two years in office — the ratification of NAFTA.

Hillary and I spoke frequently through all of 1993 and 1994 and together we plotted to help NAFTA ratification. She was deeply involved in the decision to enlist past presidents in supporting the bill and followed the vote count with heightening anxiety as it appeared closer and closer.

That she could totally reinvent her record, turn it around 180 degrees, and expect us to fall for it, shows her arrogance and her continuing belief that she can sell us on anything, no matter how obviously false.

Trade was no side issue in the Clinton administration; it was central to his key worldview — that he had to lead America to compete successfully in the new global economy. His refusal to submit to protectionism or to legislation to reduce layoffs — his commitment to the free market — was a singular badge of courage in his presidency. For Hillary to indicate now so fundamental a disagreement with a policy so integral to her husbands’ presidency is transparently phony.

And when Hillary entered the Senate, before she started to run for president, she was a reliable vote for free trade, supporting a host of bi-lateral agreements negotiated by her husband and by the Bush Administration. She even took the lead in urging the admission of China to the World Trade Organization, the key counter-protectionist step of the past two decades.

Hillary spoke at a meeting to promote NAFTA in November of 1993. Participants told ABC News that Hilary was “100 percent pro-NAFTA” and expressed “not a hint of waffling” on the deal. In 1996, she said that NAFTA was giving Americans a chance to compete. “That’s what a free and fair trade agreement like NAFTA is all about. I think NAFTA is proving its worth.”

And in 2002, the AP reports that she told the Democratic Leadership Council praising Bill’s economic policies: “The economic recovery plan stands first and foremost as a testament to both good ideas and political courage. National service. The Brady Bill. Family leave. NAFTA. Investment in science and technology. All of these came our of some very fundamental ideas bout what would work. The results speak for themselves.”

Does she really believe that we are about to forget history and buy that Hillary was opposed to NAFTA all along?

NAFTA has worked very well. It has improved Mexico and the United States. Without it, we would be burdened by millions of more immigrants from Mexico. It was one of the stellar achievements of the Clinton administration. For Hillary to try to sell us on a revised history speaks to her confidence that she can make us believe anything.

Dick Morris served as Bill Clinton's political consultant for twenty years, guiding him to a successful reelection in 1996. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Because He Could, Rewriting History (both with Eileen McGann), Off with Their Heads, and Behind the Oval Office, and the Washington Post bestseller Power Plays.

Copyright Eileen McGann and Dick Morris 2006. To obtain free copies of all of the columns and newsletters by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann for non-commercial use, please sign up at www.dickmorris.com.

Dick Morris is a Fox News contributor and author. His latest book is "Here Come the Black Helicopters: UN Global Governance and the Loss of Freedom." Visit his website: www.dickmorris.com and follow him on Twitter@DickMorrisTweet. Click here to sign up to get all of Dick's videos emailed to you.