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Hillary Clinton outlined her economic agenda in a speech on Thursday in Michigan. (Photo: AP)

'Strongest Words Yet,' But Clinton Still Refuses to Push Obama on TPP

Clinton comes out swinging against trade deal she once supported—but fails to explicitly lead against a lame duck vote on Trans Pacific Partnership

Deirdre Fulton

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday offered her "strongest words yet against the TPP," according to one progressive organization—but whether it will be enough to convince skeptics remains to be seen.

In an economic policy speech delivered in Warren, Michigan, Clinton said her "message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages—including the Trans Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I'll oppose it after the election, and I'll oppose it as President."

Watch the clip below:

Ahead of the address, progressive groups and establishment insiders alike urged Clinton to come out forcefully against the 12-nation trade deal and "make a public statement urging the White House and Democratic congressional leadership to oppose any vote on the TPP, especially during the post-election lame duck session of Congress," as CREDO and Democracy for America (DFA) said on Wednesday. 

She did not do that, nor did she—as Campaign for America's Future blogger Dave Johnson had suggested—"loudly call on President Obama to withdraw TPP now."

"I oppose it now, I'll oppose it after the election, and I'll oppose it as President."
—Hillary Clinton, on TPP 
Still, her remarks drew praise from Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green, who said in a release on Thursday afternoon: "These were Hillary Clinton's strongest words yet against the TPP. For the first time, Clinton signaled she will personally work to kill the corporate-written TPP if it comes up after the election in an unaccountable lame-duck Congress. President Obama will hurt Democratic chances of success this November—and help Donald Trump's chance of winning blue collar voters—if he does not heed Clinton's signals and take the TPP off the table before the election."

But not everyone was convinced.

(Indeed, Obama, who ran on a pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2008, did Clinton and the Democratic Party no favors when he later dropped that promise and now acts as TPP promoter-in-chief.)

Meanwhile, the anti-TPP campaign—specifically the call to stop a lame duck vote on the corporate-friendly agreement—will go on.

DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain agreed that Clinton's stated opposition on Thursday was "the strongest we've heard from her to date and will undoubtedly help build the support necessary to kill this miserable trade deal once and for all."

"However," he added, "it's now more important than ever that the country and President Obama hear specifically from Secretary Clinton that a vote on the job-killing TPP during a lame duck session of Congress must not happen."


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