Former Secretary Hillary Clinton refused to give a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer on whether she supports the president’s trade policies, but suggested that President Obama should take the opportunity to work more closely with Democrats on trade.
She also hinted that the secrecy behind the legislation was why she wouldn’t give her opinion on the deal.
“The issue for me is, what’s in the deal,” she said, pointing out that it was important for President Obama to use the dissent from Democrats as an opportunity to put together a “better deal.”
“I will wait and see what the deal is, and then I will tell you what I think about it,” she added.
Clinton admitted that getting “fast track authority” could be difficult but that Obama should court the Democrats who were “potential yes voters” like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and make adjustments on the agreement.
Clinton appeared to chide members of Congress who supported or opposed the deal despite not being sure what was in it.
House members should know what was in the deal, she argued, “not ‘I’m against it no matter what’s in it,’ or as many did, ‘I’m for it no matter what’s in it.’” she added.
She praised Obama, suggesting that he “negotiated very hard” but described the process as complicated.
“You don’t need fast track authority technically,” she said, but pointed to the importance of getting room to maneuver.
She defended her own role for working on Pacific trade deals, pointing to the urgency of trade to the unstable economy when she first took office.
She shied away from criticizing President Obama, praising him for taking command after the Bush years.
“I think that the president has done an extraordinary job of dealing with a terrible set of issues that he inherited,” she said.