White House says no trade-stimulus link

Nov. 11, 2008 at 6:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush isn't trying to tie a second stimulus package to free-trade agreements, a White House spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Dana Perino also said the president also didn't try to make such a link when he met with President-elect Barack Obama.

John Podesta, co-chairman of the president-elect's transition team, agreed there was no quid-pro-quo discussion.

"The president didn't link -- try to link Colombia to the question of an economic recovery package going forward," Podesta said.

Several media outlets reported the president intimated to Obama that he would be more receptive to a second stimulus package if Democrats were willing to link it to the Colombia trade pact.

"(In) no way did President Bush suggest that there was a quid pro quo when it came to (a) Colombia free-trade agreement or the other free-trade agreements," Perino said. "President Bush has long stood for the free-trade agreements. He believes that they can, and should, pass on their merits."

"And we just want to make sure that we let everybody know that the president did not suggest a quid pro quo, but he did talk about the merits of free trade in hopes that the next administration will recognize" it would be good for U.S. business.

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