- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 14, 2015

One of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top political advisers said Sunday she doesn’t know if the Democratic presidential front-runner will weigh in on the fast-track trade authority debate that is still consuming Washington.

In an awkward interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Clinton campaign spokesperson Karen Finney repeatedly dodged questions about whether Mrs. Clinton supports giving President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would allow the president to negotiate trade agreements and then submit them to Congress for an up-or-down vote.

Mrs. Clinton has yet to take a position on the issue and it doesn’t appear she’ll take one soon, frustrating fellow Democrats and confounding Republicans.

“You may hear her talk about it sooner rather than later,” Ms. Finney said. “We’ll see if she decides she wants to go ahead and tell us what she wants to say about it.”

Mr. Obama’s trade agenda went down in flames in the House on Friday, when Democrats revolted and voted against a piece of the broader trade package, effectively killing TPA for the time being. House leaders say they’ll vote on it again this week.

Top Republicans pounced on Mrs. Clinton and said it’s a stunning failure of leadership to refuse to take a position.

“That was one of the most painful interviews I’ve watched in a long time,” Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, told Fox News host Chris Wallace immediately after the Finney interview. “I can’t believe it. Pick a position. That’s what leaders do.”

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