Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

It's true that McCain has been a stronger advocate of free trade agreements than Obama, who supported the trade deal with Oman in 2006 and one with Peru in 2007 but opposed the one with Central America and another with Colombia. But saying he would "close" markets is nonsense.

The CFTA would significantly decrease the tax burden on Americans and increase American exports. The current trade agreement between the countries is set to run out on December 31, 2008. If the measure doesn’t come to the floor for a vote, it could expire under the 110th Congress.


Colombia has already signed and renegotiated their side of the agreement but the U.S. hasn’t finalized their end. Padilla said that if the Congress hasn’t acted by the December date, the Colombians will not have a preferential benefit any more.

Obama and the Democratic party are keeping the Columbia market (et al others) closed. I think McCain's comment was entirely fair.

Update: These fact checkers should really check their own website:

The memo says Obama's anti-NAFTA stance was described as just "political maneuvering," but the adviser says he said no such thing. The campaign says the adviser wasn't authorized to convey any message from the candidate anyway. No audio recording or verbatim transcript of the disputed conversation is available, and there’s no reason to expect that any exists. So the best we can do is to provide readers with the essential details as they have unfolded over the past several days, with links to original sources when available. On this one, you’ll have to be the judge.
To summarize, Obama claims that he is anti-NAFTA (i.e., he wants to close markets). He is accused of "political maneuvering" (i.e., he wants to keep markets open). He denies it (i.e., he wants to close markets). The Annenberg Political Fact Check Organization says "you'll have to be the judge". Well, by any fair observer's definition, there should be enough evidence to say that John McCain's statement "[Obama] will close [markets]" is a fair political statement to use against Obama.