U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama, already under fire from fellow Democratic candidates for his supposed inexperience and unguarded comments on American foreign policy issues, is raising eyebrows again after vowing to telephone the "president of Canada" if elected to the White House to begin renegotiating terms of the NAFTA trade deal.
The titular miscue came Tuesday night during a discussion of trade and labour issues at a Democratic debate in the Illinois senator's home base of Chicago.
"I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the president of Canada, to try to amend NAFTA, because I think that we can get labour agreements in that agreement right now," Mr. Obama said. "And it should reflect the basic principle that our trade agreements should not just be good for Wall Street; it should also be good for Main Street."
It is a bit hard to take Obama seriously on free trade, when he doesn't even have a basic understanding of the players. A minor error in the grand scheme, but the miscue clearly plays into the perception that Obama is a lightweight, when it comes to foreign policy experience.
Obama is already under attack from his rivals, who are trying to frame him as too inexperienced to assume the world's most important office. The Canada reference re-inforces that notion, and I confess some disappointment that he lacks the most basic of knowledge of America's biggest trading partner. The "not ready for prime time" moniker just found another point of reference.