- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — Sticking yet another thumb in the eye of Sen. Bernard Sanders’ supporters, longtime Clinton ally Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday that Hillary Clinton will change course and support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal once elected president.

Speaking to Politico, Mr. McAuliffe predicted that Mrs. Clinton will defy progressives who hate the proposed TPP trade deal and end up supporting it.

The comments are sure to rile Sanders supporters even more, and both key Clinton supporters and a McAuliffe spokesman had walked back the comments before the night was over.

“I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules. But Hillary understands this,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it, but going forward we got to build a global economy.”

Politico reporters then pressed Mr. McAuliffe specifically on whether Mrs. Clinton would flip-flop on the issue, which has become a flash point in Democratic politics.

“Yes,” he said. “Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.”

Mrs. Clinton initially supported TPP but changed positions in the heat of her primary fight with Mr. Sanders, who strongly opposes the deal, as do most progressives. Mr. Sanders’ supporters, who have caused chaos here at the convention all week, view TPP as an unacceptable proposal that would crush American workers.

Mr. Sanders himself, along with progressive hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, railed against the TPP during their speeches Monday night.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also opposes the deal.

Later in the evening, the walkbacks began.

A McAuliffe spokesman told Politico that the governor was merely expressing his preference and “has no expectation Secretary Clinton would change her position on the legislation and she has never told him anything to that effect.”

Clinton campaign chairman John Pedestal — a longtime ally of the Clintons — took to Twitter to rebut Mr. McAuliffe in unusually emphatic terms.

“Love Gov. McAuliffe, but he got this one flat wrong,” Mr. Podesta posted. “Hillary opposes TPP BEFORE and AFTER the election. Period. Full stop.”

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