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Can Barack Obama Uphold Bill Clinton’s Free Trade Legacy?

Posted May 08, 2015

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Andrés Martinez – Time)

It’s poignant to watch President Obama fight for the legacy of Bill Clinton while Hillary Clinton coyly refuses to join in, lest she offend the regressive forces within her party that the Clintons once eagerly confronted.

Obama is selling the nation on an ambitious free trade deal to bind together a dozen Pacific nations in the Americas and East Asia. This Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would represent 40 percent of the world’s GDP and a potentially valuable counterweight to Chinese influence in Asia. In pushing passionately for this deal, Obama is following the playbook of Bill Clinton, who – embracing the notion that the outside world offers the U.S. more opportunities than dangers — faced down organized labor to adopt the North American Free Trade Area.

Presidential candidates tend to make anti-trade talk. But America hasn’t had a truly protectionist president since Herbert Hoover. That’s no accident. When it comes to the nation’s overall welfare, the case in favor of expanding trade is too overwhelming to ignore if you sit in the Oval Office. It is hard to lead the world if you are afraid to trade with it. Click here to read more.

Related: Obama to Visit Nike to Promote Free Trade Deal (Telesur)