Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Free trade in Youngstown

Here's some much-needed straight talk:

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Republican John McCain made a risky argument in a hard-hit Ohio steel town Tuesday, telling residents that free trade can help solve their problems.

That is a tough sell in communities that have hemorrhaged jobs as manufacturing moved overseas and cheap imports flooded the market. But McCain insisted that free trade is the solution and not the cause.

"The biggest problem is not so much what's happened with free trade, but our inability to adjust to a new world economy," McCain said during a town hall-style meeting at Youngstown State University.

"I think the answer is to understand that, free trade or not, we are in an information and technology revolution," he said. "So we want people to be part of that revolution, and we've got to be part of that new economy, rather than try to cling to an old economy."

It's a position that distinguishes McCain not only from the Democratic candidates but also from a certain NAFTA-bashing Texas Republican congressman who ran for president this year.

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