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Clinton talks Colombia trade deal

From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hillary Clinton told communications workers this morning she would oppose the Colombia trade deal and fix NAFTA and again commented on her intention to stay in the race.

"As I have been saying for some time, no trade deal with Colombia while violence against trade unionists continues," she said at a meeting of the AFL-CIO affiliated Communication Workers of America (CWA), which represents 700,000 workers in the public and private sector in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

"I was very disappointed that President Bush decided yesterday to try to push the Colombian deal through Congress," she said. "We'll, I have news for President Bush. As I have said for months. I oppose the deal. I have spoken out against the deal. I will vote against the deal, and I will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombian free trade deal."

VIDEO: Sen. Hillary Clinton reaffirms her opposition to President Bush's proposed free trade agreement with Colombia.

She made the comments during a typical stump speech, modified for the union crowd, in which she touched on healthcare, the economy, expanding broadband access and bringing troops home from Iraq. It could fairly be described as a kitchen-sink speech. 

The senator ticked off the economic challenges the country faces -- from job losses to high gas prices to the mortgage crisis -- and said unions were especially important when the economy was faltering.

"We need unions not just in the good times," she said, "that's easy; we need unions in the hard times too.... You know what it's like to be told to go away, to quit. I know what that's like too." That drew laughter and applause, as she said she's fighting on, because she was fighting for the future of America. 

She bashed McCain for his support of privatizing social security and repeated her recent line of attack about what she sees as his inability to handle an economic crisis. She also criticized Obama for not having a universal healthcare plan.

CWA members work in telecommunications, information technology, news media, law enforcement and other fields, according to the organization's literature.

Clinton is now on Capitol Hill for the Iraq hearings where U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Commanding General, Multi-National Force Gen. David Petraeus are testifying.

Clinton began her remarks to the CWA workers by joking about the cliffhanger of an NCAA finals match last night in which Kansas beat Memphis.

"I imagine at least a few of you were up watching that game last night. Great comeback, right? That's my kind of outcome," said the senator, who adopted the "Comeback Kid" banner the night of her victory in New Hampshire. 

Obama spoke after the New York senator, employing several lines about how the Bush administration sees America as a "You're on Your Own" society -- a line that was a favorite of Clinton's some months ago. He said McCain would mean more of the same and then went on to proclaim his opposition to NAFTA, CAFTA, the Colombian trade deal and others.