Clinton Can Still Straddle On Nafta

Bill Clinton has a problem. His backers in the labor movement have made defeat of the North American Free Trade Agreement their top legislative priority. The attitudes of another key source of Clinton's support, environmentalists, range from skepticism about the pact to outright hostility to it. But Clinton is a professed free-trader and has already come out--in principle--for extending the current free-trade pact with Canada to Mexico. How can he endorse the pact formally without offending key elements of his coalition? His answer: Use powerful congressional leaders, especially Senate Finance Committee Chairman Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.)--a moderate with strong links to business--for cover.

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