In perhaps her biggest break with the Obama administration yet, Hillary Clinton says that she does not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement newly finalized by the United States and 11 other nations.
"As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it,” Clinton told Judy Woodruff. “I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”
PBS reported that Clinton cited concerns about "currency manipulation not being part of the agreement” and said that "pharmaceutical companies may have gotten more benefits and patients fewer."
"I think that there are still a lot of unanswered questions," she added.
In a lengthy statement released later Wednesday, Clinton said "I’m continuing to learn about the details of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, including looking hard at what’s in there to crack down on currency manipulation, which kills American jobs, and to make sure we’re not putting the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers. But based on what I know so far, I can’t support this agreement."
As secretary of state, Clinton backed the trade agreement. She told reporters earlier this week that she was still reviewing the details of the deal as it was negotiated.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have pushed aggressively for the deal, saying that it would strengthen U.S. relationships with trade partners.
A White House official said that the administration received notice from the Clinton campaign Wednesday about her planned announcement of opposition to the agreement.
"I still believe in the goal of a strong and fair trade agreement in the Pacific as part of a broader strategy both at home and abroad, just as I did when I was Secretary of State. I appreciate the hard work that President Obama and his team put into this process and recognize the strides they made. But the bar here is very high and, based on what I have seen, I don't believe this agreement has met it," she said in her statement.
Clinton's Democratic rivals Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley have decried it as bad for workers.
Reacting to Clinton's move, O'Malley told reporters that Clinton will have to explain her flip on the issue.
"I believe we need to stop stumbling backwards into bad deals and Secretary Clinton can justify her own reversal of opinion on this, but I didn't have one opinion eight months ago and switch that opinion on the eve of debates," he said.
Sanders had a similar reaction. "I'm glad that she reached that conclusion," he told reporters. "This is a conclusion that I reached on day one."