OK, this is now becoming a *story.* [UPDATED]

CTV ups the ante.

By Moe Lane Posted in Comments (17) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

[UPDATE]: The actual story also includes a new report that Austan [oops!][double oops!] Goolsbee (Obama's economics guy) met with the Canadian consulate in Chicago. This is not replacing the existing narrative, merely supplementing it; they continue to claim that they have a source inside the Canadian Embassy. Interesting - and note that the response to the Goolsbee allegation was apparently no-comment. - Moe Lane

Taylor Marsh (who, by the way, is no doubt happily bemused that she's getting links from the Right that aren't mean at all) gives us the latest volley in what is promising to be increasingly less an American political story and more a Canadian one:


You can get up to speed here: essentially, CTV reported that Senator Obama's campaign (and possibly Senator Clinton's, for those steaming about it) called up the Canadian Ambassador to reassure Canada that no, they weren't going to junk NAFTA after all. Just politics, in other words. The Canadian Embassy has denied it, so has both campaigns - but CTV has not withdrawn the story, and has pretty much declared that the Canadian government is lying about this in order to avoid looking like it's interfering in a foreign election. They have not revealed their source, but have declared that they have reconfirmed the story.

Yes, see what I mean? We'll forget this in a day or two; the Canadians might not.

Read on.

The problem here is that CTV's version of the story is plausible, but essentially impossible to confirm without revealing the source. Walking through the plausible part first: it is hardly inconceivable to think that a political campaign might choose to, well, lie about its agenda in order to shore up hot-button votes. Those wishing to argue this point should meditate on Iowa, and the way that both parties seem to be on a four-year cycle regarding the promotion of ethanol fuels. NAFTA is a similarly hot-button issue in Ohio, at least among Democratic voters. It is also hardly inconceivable that a campaign might decide that they should pass a quiet word of reassurance along. True, it would be stupid of them to do so - as this story is currently demonstrating - but there's no rule that a campaign has to be smart. Lastly, CTV's suggestion as to why the Canadian Embassy is denying the story has one thing going for it: the Canadian government does not want to look like it's interfering in an American election. Neither our electorate nor theirs is likely to approve; and while it won't end in a war, it will cause headaches.

So, plausible: but impossible to prove, and that's a problem for a news agency. Personally, I see no reason why CTV shouldn't reveal its source, given that it essentially started this whole story and there's likely to be no classified information involved (if there had been classified information involved I of course would have not agreed with them running the story in the first place). In fact, if they do, then they've got the makings of a fine, ratings-increased scandal; one that, again, we'll stop noticing by next week, but one that should keep Canadians interested all spring. If they won't reveal the source, then they should retract the story: these have become serious charges, which means that they require serious evidence. And I say this, confident that various individuals will wholeheartedly agree with me.

A pity that more of them won't take the point that they should be doing the same thing when it's, say, the New York Times doing it, but then, I stopped expecting internal consistency from our opposite numbers roughly four years ago.

Moe Lane

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OK, this is now becoming a *story.* [UPDATED] 17 Comments (0 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

(a) I believe that this CTV story is, in fact, a slightly different one than reported yesterday. The first story had an Obama staffer contacting the Canadian Embassy. This one has a Chicago economic advisor contacting the Chicago Canadian consulate. I think that's the new version, perhaps I'm wrong. So, CTV isn't really reconfirming the initial story, but somehow completely screwed up a whole lot of facts in the first story but are now coming back for a second try, gaining a troubling "this may all be a misunderstanding" caveat from their source along the way.

(b) Why would Canadians care if their government was interfering in a foreign election? They aren't THAT moral. I would think they'd be angrier if someone was interfering in theirs. I can't recall too many scandals where the populace was upset than their government was the manipulator of some foreign power, as opposed to the manipulated.

(c) Happily I did call the New York Times out for its McCain stupidity, both here and at Dailykos. It was the stupidest story in a long time, and (from my point of view) damaged the possibility of really hitting McCain on lobbyists. It was only outdone -- though rather recently and by a large margin of "teh stupid" -- by the "McCain is ineligible to be president!" story. That said (full disclosure) the "Weekender" New York Times subscription plan is awfully tempting, and I might get it.

(-2.75, -4.92)

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println("An argument is a sequence of statements aimed at demonstrating the truth of an assertion.); }

He's a senior economic advisor. To be honest I'm never sure what exactly that means. Sometimes it seems as slippery a definition as state co-chairs. I think he really is an Obama advisor, and perhaps the most senior one on the economy. It's possible that in this part of the story the words changed but it wasn't a different, updated set of information they were using.

I think Moe's right in that the Canadian "contact" needs to be identified so we can get some sort of clarification on what was said, and in what capacity the advisor/staffer was working in. "Obama is lying about NAFTA" on a call from a senior economic advisor when he's at the Obama HQ is WAY different from, "don't worry about it, Obama's basically cool with NAFTA" from the advisor when he's at home calling a buddy at the Chicago Canadian consulate. What was the context?

But yeah, again, it's true that I don't know exactly what the deal is with the staffer/advisor/spokesman thing.

(-2.75, -4.92)

not only has CTV changed around some facts (from ambassador to consulate, from DC to Chicago), but they are just saying a conversation took place. The DC minister for public affairs of the Canadian Embassy, Roy Norton, has said that there have been multiple *low-level* communications between the Canadian Embassy and both campaigns.

In order to get this behind them, the Obama campaign needs to come out and say what was said between Goolsbee and the Canadian Consulate in Chicago. Until they do that, this is going to be trouble.

In other words: pragmatism may be the thing to consider here, not morality.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

I think the saying is that Canada is the mouse lying next to the big bear, afraid the bear might roll in its sleep.

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"If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s get to work." – Barry Goldwater

IMO, this goes to the heart of the Democrat party and its tactics to gain power.

Say whatever you have to say, to whom ever you have to say it too, so you win, then do what you really had in mind. You can forget all the campaign talk.

This is my quote BTW.

The Democrats did this in regards to corruption and open government and earmark reform going into 2006. Now they bury the story that earmarks and back room deals have been the standard business practice under their leadership. Why would they not use the tactic again in 2008 with another issue?

Gosh, I wish I had the cash to pay for a series of commercials highlighting this about Democrats. This would be a home run caliber campaign to expose them.

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println("An argument is a sequence of statements aimed at demonstrating the truth of an assertion.); }

If she is willing to call Obama a stuffed shirt and commit to destroying her husband's treaty.

Not that it would matter to Bill. The Clintons are all about the present.

the Captain's place to check it out. "How will Hillary capitalize on this one?" Speaking of Bill, where is he these days? My guess would be stuffed into a closet somewhere with a gag in his mouth. All I know is that the MSM hasn't reported a sighting of him in quite a while.

so I'm sure he's enjoying it... :)
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of airtime.
Obama is the annointed one and will not be stopped.
Hopefully, some 527 will pick this up though and hammer him over it in the general.

and they contradict each other angle... Which maybe should annoy US citizens but... Well, it has been going on since at least the time you COULD deliver different speeches at different train stops and never expect the two stories to collide, so nothing new there.

What I don't get is the "Canada interfering in a US election" angle. Let's assume it was actually Obama tells the Canadian Ambassador not to pay attention to campaign rhetoric (worst possible case read, and not what was alleged). How is this "interfering"? It doesn't change anything in the election. It's just another campaign lie, not unlike the implied lie of his "Hope" and "Change" rhetoric by which he means to tell all of us that his election will change America in the way each of us wants.

Oh well. Still, it would be amusing if he stumbles enough for Hillary and him to head into the convention in a dead heat.

Mr. Gadfly,

Different speeches at different stops would, indeed, be merely annoying, except for the fact that Barack Obama's success rides on his credible claim to be a "different kind of politician." If his version of "different" gets exposed publicly as nothing more than smoother delivery, he'll simply lose. Not the primary; the general.

I couldn't possibly hope for more.

(Unrelated to this topic, please visit my political blog, "Plumb Bob Blog: Squaring the Culture," at http://www.plumbbobblog.com. Thanks.)

While I am certainly capable of believing this story, I demand credibility. The trouble with this story is the same as the NYT's made-up story about McCain's affair. Another anonymous source, and public denial from everybody else.

This is a serious accusation, and CTV needs to show us the money if they want us to buy it. If they can, awesome, and we can take him to the cleaners on it. If not, then I'd rather spend my time pointing out what Obama's proposed changes to NAFTA would cost us.

 
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