One of Hillary Clinton’s biggest supporters attempted to spin the Democratic frontrunner’s long history of supporting outsourcing ahead of the first Democratic primary debate.
Former Michigan Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a top executive at pro-Clinton Super PAC Correct the Record, told MSNBC that Clinton opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Obama’s trade deal with a dozen Asian countries, because of her opposition to outsourcing.
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"She doesn’t want to be party to the continual offshoring of American jobs," Granholm said. "She has seen that. That’s what she saw when she was representing New York up in Buffalo when they lost jobs."
However, as a senator, Clinton played a key role in bringing outsourcing companies to Buffalo. She helped Tata Consulting, an Indian company, set up an office in the struggling upstate New York city.
"They’ve actually brought jobs to Buffalo. Outsourcing does work both ways," she told then-CNN host Lou Dobbs in 2004.
The new headquarters did not bring about the hiring boom that Clinton predicted.
"The company [Tata], which called the arrangement Clinton's ‘brainchild,’ says ‘about 10’ employees work here," the Los Angeles Times reported in 2007.
Clinton is tied to Tata and Infosys, another leading outsourcing firm. The companies have contributed between $35,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Those companies have also been linked to controversial outsourcing measures in which companies force American workers to train foreign workers in the United States on temporary visas before outsourcing the jobs. The Department of Labor is investigating both companies after a bipartisan request from the Senate.
"We’re pleased to hear that the Labor Department is taking a first step to stanch this tide of visa abuse," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said in a joint statement. "A number of U.S. employers, including some large, well-known, publicly-traded corporations, have laid off thousands of American workers and replaced them with H-1B visa holders."
Both companies deny they abused the visa system.
Clinton has attempted to distance herself from outsourcing as she attempts to woo skeptical populist Democrats and union members away from insurgent socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.). She came out against the trade deal despite praising the Obama administration’s negotiations dozens of times during her tenure as secretary of state. Granholm defended that decision.
"She set out specific parameters that are, that are the bar that that trade deal should have reached. Now that she’s seen the trade deal, it didn’t reach the bar," she said. "She has been very thoughtful about this and if she thinks it’s a good deal she’ll vote for it. That means if it’s going to keep jobs and create jobs in the U.S."
Granholm said the Obama White House, not Clinton, is to blame for the deal, which has drawn opposition from numerous labor unions.
"People who say she has flip-flopped don’t acknowledge that she was working for somebody who really wanted this deal to happen," Granholm said.
The full video can be seen here.