Team Obama 180

Team Obama has done a full 180 on the Auto Industry/Colombia trade pact negotiations between Bush and Obama… Caught in a lie, they instead of owning up to it, deny that it ever happened…

This stinks of political posturing on Team Obama’s side… Knowing he cannot achieve what he claimed in order to get elected, he is now making sure that blame falls solely on Bush instead of Congress.

More Change You Can Believe In!

Barack Obama’s transition team described as inaccurate news reports that irked President Bush claiming that the two had been horse trading over signing a second economic stimulus bill in exchange for congressional passage of the Colombia Free Trade deal. 

President Bush did not offer a “quid pro quo” linking relief for automakers to a Colombia Free Trade deal in his meeting on Monday with Barack Obama in the Oval Office, the president-elect’s transition team leader said Tuesday.

John Podesta said he wanted to clear up misreporting by newspapers that detailed a leak of the on-on-one meeting between the president and president-elect.

“While the topic of Colombia came up … there was no quid pro quo in the conversation,” Podesta said. “The president didn’t try to link Colombia to the question of an economic recovery package going forward. They talked about both of them.”

Podesta added that the reports were “not accurate” and the Obama team has “cleared up the confusion” after the White House complained that Bush was irked by news that the conversation had been cast as a trade-off between Bush signing a second stimulus package in exchange for congressional passage of the Colombia Free Trade Act.

Senior aides to both men said the two issues were part of a long discussion about automakers and the ability of the trade deal to help not only the economy but also a key ally.  

Obama had asked Bush to help the sagging auto industry during their private meeting in the White House, senior aides to both men said. Bush stressed the need to work with Colombia, but said efforts to make it sound like a horse trade were unfair and inaccurate, an aide told FOX News. 

Bush aides said the president was also unhappy that the conversation between him and Obama was leaked to the media at all, and insisted the two leaders were not engaged in a trade-off.  

“President Bush did not suggest a quid pro quo. Both leaders discussed ideas for the economy. The president has long said free trade helps create jobs and opens markets to our businesses. We believe the free trade agreements can and should pass today on their merits,” said press secretary Dana Perino.

A senior administration official suggested that Obama be careful to keep his counsel and perhaps is unfamiliar with the long-held tradition of keeping confidential conversations between presidents.

Asked if the leak affected what appears to be a very smooth transition so far, the senior Bush aide said, “It won’t affect what we have to do … but it was disappointing. I think the Obama folks will be backing off this pretty soon.”

Podesta did just that later in the day. 

“I think we’ve agreed to move forward in that same spirit that we have been working,” he said.

An Obama transition team spokesman said the president-elect did raise the need for urgent action on an economic recovery plan that would create jobs and relieve the squeeze on families.

Obama urged help for automakers, including accelerating the $25 billion Congress already passed, exploring other authorities that exist under current law and identifying someone who would have the authority to bring about reforms that would lead to an economically viable auto industry.

The Bush administration, along with Congress, negotiated a $700 billion rescue package last month for the financial industry, but federal officials are resisting Democratic calls for a similar bailout for automakers, despite warnings that General Motors might not survive the year.

Democrats want a second stimulus that would include aid to Detroit’s big three automakers, unemployment benefits and infrastructure projects.

The New York Times had reported Tuesday that neither Obama nor congressional leaders are willing to concede the Colombia pact to Bush and may choose to hold off on a new stimulus bill until Obama becomes president on Jan. 20.

But aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon that she intends to seek legislation to provide relief to the auto industry, and wants it done in a post-election session of Congress that could be convened next week. The aides did not say how large the package would be.

According to Bush officials, the administration has gone as far as it can when it comes to the $700 billion bailout. Under the bailout law, relief money is intended for financial services, not industrial sectors. Aides said if lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to rewrite the law, they will reconsider it, but they can not divert the money now. 

Deutsche Bank on Monday downgraded GM to sell from hold, with a price target of $0, saying the carmaker may not be able to fund its U.S. operations beyond December without government intervention, FOX Business Network reported.

Deutsche Bank said it believes the U.S. government will be compelled to intervene through a capital infusion or loan. 

“Without government assistance, we believe that GM’s collapse would be inevitable, and that it would precipitate systemic risk that would be difficult to overcome for automakers, suppliers, retailers, and sectors of the U.S. economy,” the broker said. Even if GM avoids bankruptcy, equity shareholders are unlikely to get anything back, it added.

Meanwhile, Bush’s desire to pass the Colombia Free Trade deal on its merits is no secret, a senior White House aide told FOX News. That deal has been frozen by the Democratic majority in Congress. 

The U.S. and Colombia are close allies, and the president wants to increase trade between the two countries. But Democrats say a deal would mean more jobs being exported, which is taboo for a party supported by a heavily unionized workforce that elected Obama.

Democrats say they also object to the human rights climate in Colombia, which union leaders have described as seriously threatening to workers. Colombia’s government says such claims are blown out of proportion and workers are protected.


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