Mark Penn stepping down from Clinton campaign... I guess now he can focus full time on destabilizing other countries instead of his own. [UPDATE AT 1153 AM, JOHN HAS POSTED ON SOME OF THE TRADE BAGGAGE OF THE DUDE WHO IS REPLACING PENN.]
Inside US Trade from Friday also had a number of heart attacks. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said:
“My goal is to get a robust TAA signed by the president and once that occurs I think we will be in a much better position on Colombia. ... Taking on these issues can clear the way I think for the pending trade agreements.”... Baucus admonished both labor unions and business groups in the speech. ... But AFL-CIO Policy Director Thea Lee... said that if President Bush introduces the Colombia FTA bill over the objection of the congressional leadership, it will be defeated for a number of reasons: the economy is in recession, it is an election year and there is a Democratic majority in the House and the Senate. In addition, the last election in the House saw 27 free trade representatives replaced with fair traders, she pointed out."
It's true! More than 27, in fact. Check it out!
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House Dem Whip, also had some strange things to say. From IUT again:
According to Clyburn, Hoyer is “very supportive” of the agreement, but he is “not so sure that we got it at the point where we can get the full leadership to endorse it.” Everyone in the Democratic leadership voted for the Peru FTA, he pointed out. A Hoyer spokeswoman said Hoyer remains undecided on the Colombia FTA and said Clyburn did not accurately describe Hoyer’s position, however.
Clyburn said he would work with other Democratic leaders between through next week in order to get the Colombia FTA “in shape” for a possible vote, explaining that he expects the administration to submit the implementing bill next week in order to have the maximum number of legislative days for a vote this year.
He acknowledged that a vote on a controversial piece of legislation could be made more acceptable by linking it to another important bill. “A lot of times you cobble together coalitions to get things passed and people swallow on one end in order to get what they want on the other,” he said. “Whether or not that would be an approach we would take, I don’t know.”
He said White House cooperation on a new Trade Adjustment Assistance bill might help with the passage of the Colombia FTA and said this was a “big part” of Rangel’s “concerns.”
UPDATE AT 11:50 AM - BUSH JUST SIGNED THE LETTER TO DROP THE FTA IN CONGRESS. WE'LL TRY TO FIND THE VIDEO... FUNNIEST PRONUNCIATION OF "URIBE" EVER.