WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama's campaign Monday defended a campaign adviser's meeting with the Canadian government on trade.
Austin Goolsbee was not acting in his role as senior adviser to the Illinois senator's campaign when he met with Canadian officials about Obama's stance on the North American Free Trade Agreement, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.
The Hill newspaper reported that there is a memo circulating in the Canadian government that says Goolsbee said Canada should consider Obama's remarks against the free trade agreement not as a threat, but as "political positioning."
The newspaper reported Monday that initially the Obama camp denied that the meeting took place. On Sunday, Plouffe said Goolsbee was only speaking to Canadian officials informally as a University of Chicago professor and not as Obama's adviser.
Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign criticized the Obama camp over the incident.
"Are these denials, half-denials, quarter-denials no longer operative?" said Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson.