Economy

Nafta Wasn't Just About Politics for Bill Clinton

Democrats hated the North American Free Trade Agreement. But the new president was determined to enact it.

Anti-protectionist.

Photographer: Jeffrey Markowitz/Sygma via Getty Images

Bill Clinton was an ardent backer of free trade even before he ran for president in 1992. Accordingly, a defining issue of his campaign was his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Once elected, he faced vigorous challenges on trade from within the Democratic Party and from organized labor, but in that difficult environment he deployed the full powers of the presidency to get Nafta approved. In this second of three excerpts from "Inside the Clinton White House: An Oral History," some of his top aides recall that successful fight. 

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