From NBC’s Domenico Montanaro
“Mr. [Ian] Brodie, [PM Harper’s chief of staff], during the media lockup for the Feb. 26 budget, stopped to chat with several journalists, and was surrounded by a group from CTV. The conversation turned to the pledges to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement made by the two Democratic contenders, Mr. Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton.
“Mr. Brodie, apparently seeking to play down the potential impact on Canada, told the reporters the threat was not serious, and that someone from Ms. Clinton's campaign had even contacted Canadian diplomats to tell them not to worry because the NAFTA threats were mostly political posturing. The Canadian Press cited an unnamed source last night as saying that several people overheard the remark.
“The news agency quoted that source as saying that Mr. Brodie said that someone from Ms. Clinton's campaign called and was ‘telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt.’
“The story was followed by CTV's Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not the Clinton's, had reassured Canadian diplomats.
“Mr. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report. There was no explanation last night for why Mr. Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign.”
*** UPDATE *** The Clinton campaign responds: "Unlike the Obama campaign, we can and do flatly deny this report and urge the Canadian government to reveal the name of anyone they think they heard from. The Obama campaign has given a variety of misleading answers to the press and the public about its top economic adviser’s contacts with the Canadian government and should come clean about why they did so," writes campaign spokesman Phil Singer.