The Daily Rundown | October 08, 2012
>>> a food fight , literally, is brewing between the u.s. and mexico . we're talking about tomatoes and maybe sour grapes as well. the it's subject of our deep dive today. last week, the obama administration announced it favored canceling a 16-year-old $3.5 billion tomato trade deal with mexico . the deal encourages imports and has kept tomato prices low. but florida growers say they're so low they can't catch up. the numbers show mexican tomato sales have quadruple since 2000 while florida has seen its cut shrink dramatically. after a flurry of letters from lawmakers, the commerce department decided to repd the trade agreement be scrapped. mexico growers were stunned, upset they hadn't been granted a meeting until after the decision. why did the decision get rushed? presidential politic, the influence of those florida growers might have played just a small role. michael isakoff is nbc's national investigative correspondent. it's an election year and hearing about issues like this, oh, favoritism of this front for florida . favoritism on that front for ohio. it shouldn't come as a shock and yet, we see it play out every year. four years, excuse me.
>> this is a fascinating look about how to use the levers of power of incumbency to help yourself in an election season. in june, as you mentioned, the florida tomato growers filed this petition with the commerce department to tear up a 16-year-old trade agreement with mexico . they say they're being devastateded by the import of mexican tomatoes into the united states . lower costs than florida and then, the politics gets ratcheted up. they get letters talking about the precarious situation of florida tomato growers . senator bill nelson , up for re-election, writes a letter to the commerce department . i believe time is of the essence in this matter. he says he's talking about the growing season , but you get an election season letter, time is of the essence , debbie wasserman schultz , not a lot of tomato growers in those condos in broward county . she writes a letter to the commerce department on behalf of this and also, shelley brown and dick durbin . why you got workers involved. the worker agreement to help conditions of florida growers , so they also write letters. who gets the letters? that's where you got to follow the dots on this. the top decision maker at commerce market, francisco sanchez , a florida lawyer ran for mayor of tampa. obama campaign bundler in '08. had been a top leader in the hispanic committee for obama. he's the political appointee. he makes the decision. the mexicans are furious. threatening a trade war over this.
>> right. i got to leave it there. connecting the dots, but i have a good guest to follow up on