DAVENPORT, Iowa – After months of waiting to take a position on a controversial Obama administration trade deal, Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she will soon have an opinion on the newly finalized Trans Pacific Partnership.“I’m going to be diving into that tonight. I’m going to be talking to people about it. They’re giving me all the information they can gather so that I can make a timely decision,” she told NBC News of the TPP while campaigning here.
“I will definitely have a position,” Clinton continued. “I certainly think that people have good opinions and I’m looking at all of them.”
The massive trade treaty with a dozen Pacific Rim Countries has become enemy No. 1 for labor unions, even as the Obama White House pushes it as a defining legacy item.
Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state, has for months been torn between loyalty to her former boss and to organized labor, whose support she is aggressively courting as she seeks the Democratic nomination in 2016.
She was involved in negotiating the deal, but has said she would hold off on taking a position on the TPP until the treaty was finalized, since it was negotiated in secret.
On Monday, negotiators announced they had finally reached a deal. Clinton did not specify a timetable for her decision, and the full text is not yet available.
Clinton is scheduled to speak with reporters Wednesday while continuing her Iowa swing.
Clinton’s top rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has vociferously opposed the trade deal, as has challenger Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland. They argue it would be corporate giveaway that would destroy American jobs and undermine environmental and other regulations.
Clinton’s drawn-out decision-making process on the TPP echoes her foot dragging on the Keystone XL pipeline, another issue that split the White House from its Democratic base.
“You know, nothing wrong with taking your time – what’s important is getting it right,” Clinton joked of her Keystone decision on “Saturday Night Live” last weekend.