Okay, scratch what I said about Goolsbee and Canada. I still don't think it's substantively a big deal, but between hearing CNN's reports from Ohio this morning, and listening in on a Clinton conference call just now (and hearing reporters' questions on the subject), I think they're getting some significant traction with this story today.
Two things make it problematic for the Obama campaign: 1.) The sudden appearance of this lurid-sounding memo written by a Canadian consular official. I don't think it's particularly revealing--as I said this morning, it reflects what the Canadians thought they heard from Goolsbee; there are, significantly, no direct quotes. But the term "memo" just sounds bad--as though there were some cover-up that's now falling apart. 2.) Certain Obama officials denied last week that there was any contact between the Obama campaign and the Canadian government about NAFTA. That's clearly no longer "operative," as Howard Wolfson pointed out on the call.
No longer "operative", eh? Now, there is a handy little euphemism. ("A lie?? Of course not!! It's merely a statement that is no longer operative. Call a repairman.")
I was in and out of the subsequent Obama campaign call, but campaign manager David Plouffe took 2-3 questions about this that I heard. The campaign's position is that Goolsbee was having a conversation with the Canadians in his capacity as an economics professor at the University of Chicago, not as a campaign adviser.
So, we have went from, "I wasn't even there!!" to "I was there, but they misquoted me!!" to "I was there, I wasn't misquoted, but I wasn't there for any particular reason. Why just the other day I wandered into the Belgian embassy to see if they needed anybody to muse about the Euro."
Stop digging already.
No, they haven't stopped digging yet. They have called for a backhoe.
Canada on Monday denied it had tried to sway the U.S. presidential election by misrepresenting Democratic candidate Barack Obama with the suggestion that he didn't really believe his criticisms of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The report was leaked to the U.S. media, prompting some Democrats to accuse Canada's right-leaning Conservative government of trying to interfere in the election -- a charge dismissed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"I certainly deny any allegation that this government has attempted to interfere in the American election," he told Parliament.
Yeah, right. So now this is Canada's fault.
And some complain that Bush has problems admitting to mistakes. Yikes.