National Review: ‘Right-Wing’ Site Breitbart Forces Cruz to Reject ‘Obamatrade’

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition 15th Annual Family Banquet and Presidential Forum held at the Iowa State fairgrounds on September 19, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Eight of the Republican candidates including Donald Trump are expected to attend the event. …
Steve Pope/Getty Images

From Elaina Plott writing at National Review:

On Friday, during a campaign stop in Harlan, Iowa, Ted Cruz made clear his stance on President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), telling a crowd of supporters that the colossal 12-nation trade accord was “deeply concerning.”

“There are a number of Republicans on that [debate] stage who support TPP, who support [Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)],” Cruz said, according to the Des Moines Register. “I voted against TPA, and I intend to vote against TPP.”

Now that the 5,594-page text of the TPP has been made public, grassroots conservatives are voicing their case against the deal, and Cruz is staking out a position alongside them, arguing that the TPP would undercut U.S. immigration laws and take jobs away from working-class Americans. It’s yet another stance that differentiates the Texas senator from more establishment-minded, pro-business Republicans, who have largely stood firm in their support of the accord.

Cruz’s opposition easily aligns him with the conservative-populist voters who’ve helped fuel his meteoric rise through the ranks of the GOP, and with the sentiments of immigration hawks such as Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, who has decried the deal as a transference of negotiation power from “individual Americans” to a “global regulatory structure.” But while it may endear him to his base, it could also allow rivals such as Marco Rubio to accuse him of flip-flopping on his past support for the deal, opening him up to charges of political pandering and threatening his carefully cultivated image as the most principled candidate in the field.

Right-wing outlets such as Breitbart have helped make TPP synonymous with President Obama by regularly calling it “Obamatrade” in headlines. And according to Tony Fratto, a former Treasury official and partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, which works to support TPP’s passage, Obama’s stamp makes the deal a non-starter for some conservative voters. “There is a corner of the party that is going to oppose agreements by the Obama administration regardless of the substance of them,” he says.

For Fratto, Cruz’s growing adherence to that view “reinforces the notion that [he] is trying to be the heir apparent to an eventual Trump collapse.”

Read the rest of the story at National Review.