Rick Manning: GOP Debate Moderators Must Press Candidates On Obamatrade

Cancer patients and survivors, health professionals and others protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal outside of PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in Washington, DC, February 4, 2016. Cancer patients and survivors, health professionals and others demonstrated outside the trade group's offices against the TPP, which they …
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

MIAMI, Florida — Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have never faced a debate question all election cycle about Obamatrade, nor has the anti-Obamatrade billionaire and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

So on Breitbart News Daily on Thursday morning Rick Manning—the president of Americans for Limited Government—called on the debate moderators of Thursday evening’s GOP presidential primary debate here in Miami to press the four remaining candidates on Obamatrade.

“I think that the people running the debates believe that the American people [are wrong] when they start talking about trade,” Manning told host Stephen K. Bannon on SiriusXM 125 The Patriot Channel on Thursday morning. “They couldn’t be more wrong.”

Moderators for this evening’s debate are CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, as well as the Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan and Salem radio host Hugh Hewitt.

No candidate has ever been pressed by moderators in any of the GOP primary debates to date on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) or the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)—collectively, along with other international trade failures, known as Obamatrade—though the topic has a couple times come up in passing as one of the candidates, usually Trump, brings it up. Kasich also brought up the TPP once, but referred to it mistakenly as the “TTP.” Otherwise, the issue has been as forgotten in the GOP debates as a slew of new polling data shows the American people feel like they have been by politicians in Washington.

“Tonight’s debate, that the Washington Times, Salem and CNN are doing, is a perfect example given what we’ve seen in Michigan given this poll that we’re releasing today,” Manning continued.

If this isn’t a center stage issue with that debate, forcing both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz—who both, again, may have a chance to vote on TPP—to answer the question ‘Will they oppose TPP?’ and ‘Will they tell Sen. Mitch McConnell to not bring it up in a lame duck session this year?’ If they don’t get asked that question, then Donald Trump ought to ask that question directly to them related to something else because that’s a question they need to answer right now. It’s important to the American people and the Republican voters want to know. It’s something that every candidate on the stage needs to clear up in terms of their position.

Manning, whose group launched the new polling data with Caddell and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) at the National Press Club on Thursday morning, said the reason why he came out with this is because the media and the establishment has been misrepresenting the facts when arguing support for Obamatrade is a good thing for politicians.

“We all got tired last of hearing what a good political deal it was for Republicans to support giving President Obama fast-track and passing the Trans Pacific Partnership,” Manning said.

So we decided we would reach out to Pat Caddell and have him do a poll that looked at that and said ‘what do Republicans actually think about this kind of trade deal?’ and ‘Is it good politics for Republicans?’ and the answer is a resounding no. That’s the real upshot of this. Just one example, when you ask Republicans the simple question: Do you think America is getting the better end of the stick in terms of the trade deals in the past two decades? The answer is 24 percent of Republicans feel that the trade deals have been beneficial to the United States with 54 percent saying they feel that they’ve benefitted other countries more than us. First of all, they’re right—but secondly that’s a recipe for political disaster for Republicans to ignore that basic message that their own base doesn’t believe that these trade deals make sense for America and it isn’t helping them.

Manning added that Rubio and Cruz are going to face tough questions on whether they’d back TPP in a lame duck session or not whether or not it comes up in the debate.

“They know that the American public when they take a look at this that they oppose it,” Manning said.

They know that the reality of the last 20 years of trade deals has been a disaster. And they don’t want those facts put out there for the public and so they try to bury it. The bottom line though is if you’re running for president of the United States, and you know this is an issue that’s driving votes, you darn well want to have your position out there hard and fast and loud so people have no confusion. I know that both Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz are going to face this question whether or not they get asked it at the debate and if I were Sen. Cruz in particular I would welcome this question because I’d want to clear the air that he’s against the Trans Pacific Partnership. He doesn’t want it in a lame duck session. I would want Marco Rubio to have to answer that question because he’s ducked it every single time he’s had to answer it anywhere so I would want to force Marco Rubio to have to answer that question so the American people can see the contrast between those two men and who they would vote in the Senate if that bill comes up before them this year.

Manning noted that TPP—a Pacific Rim trade deal with countries as far flung as Brunei and Vietnam—is a ploy to outsource American jobs to foreign countries and import cheap foreign workers, thereby decimating the American worker.

“The TPP is designed to offshore jobs. It’s designed to offshore manufacturing,” Manning said. “It’s designed to import labor. And given that, you can’t expect you’re going to be offshoring high-paying jobs and you’re going to be importing labor to compete for the jobs that remain.”

Hear the interview:


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