The Obama campaign is rife with academic economists, according to the latest issue of The New Republic . . . . Meanwhile, according to a new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll, people think McCain will do a better job handling the economy than Obama.

No, that’s not a knock on Obama’s economists — just on the fact that he doesn’t seem to be listening to them. When it comes to things like NAFTA, there seem to be only two possibilities. Either Obama’s anti-NAFTA talk is a ruse to fool the rubes, or his coterie of distinguished economic experts is a ruse to fool a different batch of rubes.

UPDATE: More on the NAFTA front: “The Canadian television station that reported that Obama’s campaign had assured the Canadian ambassdor that their anti-NAFTA rhetoric wasn’t serious stands by its story in the face of denials from Team Obama and the Canadian Embassy. Obama’s in a tough spot here.”