Amanpour: Obama’s Anti-Free Trade Position 'Does Not Go Down Well' with Europe

July 25th, 2008 8:36 AM

Is Sen. Obama too protectionist for Europe? Maybe. If you were watching "CNN Newsroom" July 24 you may have caught Christiane Amanpour telling you why.

"[Europe] wants to see an [American] president committed to free trade," cautioned CNN Chief International Correspondent from Berlin, Germany, the site of a speech by presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

Amanpour pointed to Obama's wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement as a problem for the Illinois senator. She explained why on the July 24 broadcast during Obama's visit to Europe.

"But let me tell you a word of caution. The European top trade official for instance has said, ‘Listen Barack Obama quit that crowd pleasing rhetoric and get serious for instance on the issue of trade.' You know Barack Obama as a candidate has talked about renegotiating NAFTA. Well, that does not go down well in Europe, which believes in internationalism and globalism, in globalization," said Amanpour on the morning broadcast.

Amanpour also restated in the online version of the story that the top EU trade official offered caution to Obama on NAFTA, saying that he needs to be serious about a "U.S. commitment to free trade and unfettered markets."

European conservative leaders like President of France Nicholas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both embraced globalization as a part of policy.

But Obama's position on NAFTA is like change you can't keep track of.

Obama campaigned against NAFTA before the Ohio primary and criticized Democratic presidential rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) in a speech of supporting the deal. quoted Obama February 19 attacking Clinton on NAFTA saying, "She says speeches don't put food on the table. You know what? NAFTA didn't put food on the table, either."

"Ten years after NAFTA passed, Senator Clinton said it was good for America," Obama was quoted in the Associated Press February 24 as saying. "Well, I don't think NAFTA has been good for America - and I never have."

The Associated Press also noted that Obama also said that attempts to repeal the trade agreement "would probably result in more job losses than job gains in the United States."