Wednesday, July 2, 2008

John McCain On "Good Morning America" From Colombia

"I also think it's important for our economy to pass a free trade agreement between ourselves and Colombia." -- John McCain

John McCain Discusses His Visit To Colombia And Mexico On ABC's "Good Morning America":
ABC's "Good Morning America"
July 2, 2008

John McCain: "I've come down here [to Colombia] on two previous occasions. We have the issue of the drug trafficking from Colombia up through our Hemisphere across Mexico and into the United States of America. Drug cartels have basically taken control of some towns on the Mexican border. There are still a couple of thousand people being held hostage by the FARC here. There is clearly a continued threat of drugs pouring into the United States of America, which can harm us and our young people very badly. I'm happy to say there has been some success. The cost of cocaine on the street is up. I also think it's important for our economy to pass a free trade agreement between ourselves and Colombia."

Watch John McCain

USA Today Praises John McCain For Straight Talk On Trade:
Straight-Trade Express
USA Today July 2, 2008

From a purely political perspective, John McCain's foreign travels -- a trip to Canada last month and one to Colombia and Mexico starting Tuesday -- make little sense. Apart from a few expatriate Americans, there are no votes to be had. And touting trade, which is part of McCain's mission, might not be the best way to win critical swing states such as Ohio and Michigan, from which employers have fled in pursuit of cheap labor abroad.

But from a perspective of doing what is right for the country, it is notable. Someone besides economists has to point out that trade has been, on balance, good for American workers -- and will continue to be so.

That's not to ignore the plight of the millions who have seen their lives upended by globalization, but more have gained. That message has been all but lost in the din of trade bashing fueled by a presidential election and a slowing economy.

Labor unions point to the loss of 2.4 million manufacturing jobs since the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect in 1994. But at the same time, 39 million jobs were created outside of manufacturing. What's more, manufacturing output has actually risen, suggesting that technology and increased productivity -- essential to raising living standards -- have cost as many jobs as trade has.

It would be easy for McCain to finesse the issue. Trade supporters would probably back him anyway, and raising the subject could turn off some voters. But with opposition to trade gathering momentum, now is not the time for people who see its value to run and hide.

McCain has not. Campaigning this week in the industrial heartland on a day when automakers reported grim sales, the Republican candidate said: "I understand it's very tough. But for me to give up my advocacy of free trade would be a betrayal of trust."

That kind of principle, when the politics are challenging, is all too rare.

This is not to say McCain has never caved in the name of political expediency. He did just that when he abandoned his fiscally responsible ways and endorsed President Bush's tax cuts. Nor is it to say his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, has not exhibited great courage and conviction at times.

But on this day on this issue, kudos must go to the senator from Arizona.

Read The USA Today Editorial

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