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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

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    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Monday, October 29, 2007

    Edwards’ attack on Peru deal shifts debate

    The Democratic presidential field tilted to the left over the weekend as John Edwards came out against the US free trade agreement with Peru.
    Not so hard since the 2 front runners tilt right

    Mr Edwards is the first leading contender for the nomination to oppose the pact with the Latin American nation, now making its way through Congress.
    The move increases the pressure on Hillary Clinton to vote against the agreement when it reaches the Senate floor next month.

    Billy Clinton signed NAFTA, one of the biggest mistakes he made. But he was pandering to the right and securing his own power, not worrying about American Workers.

    Mrs Clinton is the clear frontrunner nationally but Mr Edwards has focused his campaign for the White House on claiming an early victory in Iowa, where he has made gains with a message of economic populism.

    Mrs Clinton has responded by becoming steadily more strident in her criticism of US trade policy, denouncing a pending trade deal with South Korea.

    The vote on the Peru agreement will be a key test of the New York senator’s desire to distance herself from her husband’s legacy, which includes passing the North American Free Trade Agreement, now unpopular with the party’s grassroots.

    “This is where the rubber hits the road and we find out how far Hillary thinks she needs to go on trade to court the Democratic base. Peru is about to go to a Senate vote so she can’t duck the issue,” said Lori Wallach, a critic of the deal at Global Trade Watch.

    Mrs Clinton’s main rival, Barack Obama, recently came out in favour of the Peru deal, while Joe Biden announced his opposition.

    Mr Edwards said he also intended to “oppose the Colombia, Panama and South Korea trade agreements in their present forms”.

    His opposition to the Peru deal will be a setback for congressional Democrats who are trying to build a strong majority behind the agreement on Capitol Hill.

    The candidate said a ­historic bipartisan agreement between George W. Bush, the president, and Democrats to include tougher labour and environmental standards in the Peru pact fell short.

    “Despite strong efforts by many Democrats in Congress, labour organisations and fair trade advocates to embed international labour standards into the agreement, what resulted were references to general principles and not specific standards,” he said.

    “In short, this agreement does not meet my standard of putting American workers and communities first, ahead of the interests of the big multinational corporations, which for too long have rigged our trade policies for themselves,” he added.

    [...]

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