Dem: Obama taking trade fight too personally

Dem: Obama taking trade fight too personally
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President Obama is taking his battle with House Democrats over trade too personally, and it’s costing him votes, Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierDemocratic Women's Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief Pentagon puts on show of force as questions circle on COVID-19 outbreak Candymakers meet virtually with lawmakers for annual fly-in, discuss Halloween safety MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday.

In an interview Wednesday on “The Bill Press Show,” Speier said Obama would be lucky to get 20 to 25 Democratic votes for fast-track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).


Speier, who opposes TPA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the White House is negotiating with 11 other countries, also took umbrage with comments from an Obama spokesman who said this week the president would stand with those who supported him.

“What it suggests to me is this is really personal for the president,” she said. “He’s basically saying, for the seven years that you’ve kind of had my back and been with me, is irrelevant. Because I’m making all my decisions now on TPP and TPA.

“And I don’t think that’s a good message to be sending to Democrats frankly, if you're trying to ensure that some of them who are waffling right now are going to stand with you,” she continued.

Speier went on to say that Democrats don’t have great feelings for Obama after his seven years in office.

Asked if Obama has a reservoir of good will with House Democrats, she said: “I can’t say that he does.”

The face of opposition to Obama on the left has been Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who Obama has said is flatly wrong in her criticism of his trade agenda. 

Speier suggested the criticism of Warren has also been too personal.

“That’s the part that’s hard to understand. It’s become very personal, and I don’t know why,” she said.

Obama is fighting an uphill battle to win House Democratic votes for fast-track. Labor unions and liberal groups are fighting him, and The Hill’s Whip List counts only 16 Democrats as “yes” or “leaning yes” for now.

“I don’t think there’s the votes there,” said Speier.

“I don’t think he can count on ... if he gets to 20, 25, he would be feeling pretty confident,” she added.

This story was updated at 5:35 p.m.