President Bush last week scored a major victory on trade in the House, squeaking out a 215-214 vote to win "trade promotion authority." If the Senate follows suit, as expected, Bush will gain the go-ahead to negotiate foreign-trade deals that could be worth tens of billions of dollars in extra growth for the U.S. and the global economy. But for Capitol Hill watchers, the victory (twice denied to President Clinton) was at least as notable for the White House's impressive arm twisting: several crucial votes came from G.O.P. Representatives from states that have been especially hard hit by trade competition. One key pro-Bush vote, for example, came from North Carolina Republican Robin Hayes, who regularly opposes trade bills but switched sides after the White House promised to protect his state's textile producers. The decisive ballot was cast by South Carolina's Jim DeMint, who changed his vote to Bush's side when the tally hit 214-214. At the last minute, G.O.P. leaders promised DeMint that South Carolina textile companies would be protected against cheap Caribbean and Latin imports. But Lindsey Graham, a fellow S.C. Republican who is running for a Senate seat, wasn't buying it. "They'll promise you the moon--but the point is, it's just to get your vote."
--By Adam Zagorin