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Clinton would fix husband's NAFTA mistakes

Sen. Hillary Clinton says her husband made mistakes related to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told manufacturers and union workers on Monday that her husband made mistakes related to the North American Free Trade Agreement that she plans to fix.

Her comment came in response to a question by a union worker at a summit sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. The worker said President Clinton had tricked them when he championed NAFTA during his presidency.

"As smart as my husband is, he does make mistakes," Clinton said. The Democratic presidential candidate said she would fix problems that have led to job losses, or would tell Canada and Mexico the United States is pulling out of the agreement.

Trade policy is a key issue in Pennsylvania's Democratic primary on April 22. Many workers blame U.S. trade policy for taking away U.S. jobs.

Earlier at the same summit, Sen. Barack Obama in a separate appearance questioned Clinton's sincerity in her opposition to trade agreements.

Clinton has been on the defensive over what she did or didn't do as first lady to promote NAFTA. Mark Penn, Clinton's chief strategist, recently was demoted after it was revealed he met with representatives of the Colombian government to help promote a free trade agreement Clinton opposes.

Touching on familiar themes, Clinton on Monday emphasized her work as a New York senator helping manufacturers in her state. She promised to step up enforcement of trade laws and stand up to China.

"We're going to start making things like steel and other important commodities in America again," Clinton said.

She also reminded those in attendance about a comment Obama, D-Ill., had made about some small-town Pennsylvanians being bitter over their economic circumstances and "cling to guns and religion" as a result. The issue had festered all weekend on the campaign trail.

Later Monday, Clinton was to appear at a Democratic party dinner in Philadelphia and a rally in Bristol.