14 of 21
Obama's tough talk on NAFTA
Obama's tough talk on NAFTA
President-elect Barack Obama
In a rare off-message moment for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, a top economic adviser privately assures Canadian officials in February that his candidate didn't really mean it when he threatened to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which U.S. blue-collar workers complain has shifted jobs to Canada and Mexico.

"Political maneuvering" was how Austan Goolsbee described Obama's protectionist rhetoric to Canadian authorities. Smart politics - until a Canadian government memo of Goolsbee's meeting leaks out and Goolsbee is banished to no-media-allowed shed for the remainder of the election. -- By Nina Easton, Fortune Washington editor

What do you think was the year's Dumbest Moment in Business?Join the discussion now.

NEXT: Microsoft overbids for Yahoo
Last updated December 31 2008: 10:36 AM ET
Lamest roadtrip ever The Big 3 CEOs' drive from Detroit to D.C. to request a bailout was classic. More video
How to lose an election John McCain's statements about the economy may have killed his campaign. Morevideo
The ballooning bailout Expanding from three pages to 451, the TARP bill was loaded with pork, eventually resulting in a flip-flop by Paulson. Morevideo