January 4th, 2008
02:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Edwards campaign says Obama was a corporate sellout

(CNN) - In the wake of its Iowa loss to rival Barack Obama, John Edwards’ campaign is ramping up the negative tone of the final days of that race – accusing the Illinois senator of having once been a sellout to corporate interests.

Edwards has made his populist stand a cornerstone of his campaign.

"Barack Obama's kind of change is where you sit down and you cut a deal with the corporate world," Edwards Campaign Manager David Bonior said during an interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. "If you look at his record in Illinois when he had a major - sponsored a major health bill that's what he did. He watered down with the help of the corporate lobbyist and they got a weak product out of that."

Scarborough asked: "Are you saying that Barack Obama is a sellout to corporate interests?"

Bonior replied: "He was four years ago in Illinois. All you have to do is look at the legislation I'm referring to."

Bonior was referring to health care legislation that Obama was instrumental in passing when he was an Illinois state senator five years ago, in part because he worked with insurance companies to make additions to the bill that would ensure their approval of the measure.

The Obama campaign immediately responded. In an e-mail to the Huffington Post, spokesman Ben Labolt said that "The reason Barack Obama won such a commanding victory in Iowa is because Americans of all parties are hungry for a leader who can bring people together to take on the special interests. That's how Barack Obama actually took on lobbyists and won in Illinois, and that's how he expanded health care to 150,000 Illinois children and parents."

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. lyn

    we don't need to hear cheap shots at this point, we need hope.

    January 4, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Albert Gonzales

    "Former" Senator Edward can honk / attack and suggest ALL the programs all he wants from the "outside" and Hillary and Obama will get things done from the inside by becoming our President and Vice President in 2009!

    Thats called a polite political SLAP in the FACE Mr Edwards! Edwards can try all the issues, raise any objection, run all the 527 third party ads, but with public money he is no match for Hillary and/or Obama in 2008.

    For a little national election snapshot: http://uselectionatlas.org/2008.php
    Read democratic blog The Left Coaster: http://theleftcoaster.com/

    January 4, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Jimenez

    Obama isn't this fresh start. Nor does he have any changes. Obama in case he has forgotten is part of the baby boomers he is knocking. This will come back to bite him. Let's hear the change – please someone in NH ask him that one question. What changes are you going to make if (haha) you're elected?

    Clinton 08

    January 4, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. Joe Stebbins

    Obama is a sell out !!

    January 4, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. Jake, California

    you are scary and have no hope. When Obama wins NH it will be very difficult to stop him cuz he will be on national fire.

    You wrote:
    "and the Obama team of experts has prepared him well to carry on that tradition"

    No my friend, he's not one of those surround-yourself-with-smart-people-for-help kind of guy.
    He is a lawyer and a Columbia University and Harvard graduate...he doesn't need people to tell him how to think and make decisions...it is inherent in him.

    Obama started being an inspirational leader before Bush came into Office...check your facts, he was a member of the IL state Senate from 1997 to 2004.
    Bush first took office on January 20th, 2001. Therefore Bush's blunder could not have gotten him on the IL state senate in 1997, it was Obama's own hard earned appeal my friend and that's what carries him through today!

    ASK YOUR SELF: if the Bush blunder is what makes Obama powerful, how come every politician in this country[esp those agains the Iraq war] isn't powerful?

    Speak the fact and the truth and you will be set free. Hate will not do!

    You also wrote: "Even distinguished blacks like Shelby Steel say he can't win"
    We the intellectuals who rightly follow Obama don't buy these kinds of arguments. The problem with this particular one is that it is a Hasty Generalization.

    Shelby Steel still has time to change and join Obama for a better America for both blacks and whites!

    Lastly, Obama and Cater are two different people so we don't expect he is going to perform like Cater. How come Bill Clinton's appeal and limited experience didn't make him to flunk like Cater ?

    January 4, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. Dave

    Actually, the world has plenty of oil. The problem is that the vast majority of it is in foreign lands and the US (among other countries) has become dangerously dependent on this foreign oil. New alternatives for energy are needed now–a feat that can be accomplished with great American leaders, scientists, and the power of the people. Obama for president.

    January 4, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. JA

    The young people are impressionable...they turned out last night in Iowa and stood up for Obama. I like Obama but I don't want a "rock star" for a President...we need a leader.
    The best choice..who the heck knows. The negative crap is just starting, Iowans won't stand for it and I hope all of the other states hosting the candidates will do the same. Look for substance, experience is hard to find. All the candidates are better at campainging than they are being or having been senators.
    Hey!!!! Do Hillary and Obama get paid for their senate duties while on the stump???? Suppose my boss would let me try the same?

    January 4, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Hemingway

    Ardent Republican supporters would take heart from reading those comments in which supporters of each Democratic candidate engage in harsh attacks, even vilification, other Democratic candidates.

    My deepest fear is that Republicans could easily win the Presidency by fair means or foul (the big bucks backers of Swiftboat attacks are already contributing in record amounts to Repubican candidates), if Democratic supporters generate the fertile soil for Republicans to effectively smear our nominee next fall.

    I have minor reservations about all the Democratic Party candidates, but each and every one is massively preferable to all Republican candidates. Whoever wins the Democratic Party nomination must be given our unequivocal and enthusiastic support, so the less we denigrate sister and brother candidates now, the better our chances will be for victory come November.

    January 4, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. Patrick

    I have seen passionate speakers and some times Edwards does not remind me of one. Whenever he gives his speeches, he seems to smile everytime he gets an applause from the crowd, even when the topic is serious; reminds me of the incumbent who smiles whenever he makes a complete sentence.

    Watch Obama, most times when he give a passionate speech he maintains a serious expression throughout. People study these mannerisms and can tell who is phoney and who is not.

    January 4, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  10. Judith

    I have one word-EXELON. Google Exelon and Barack Obama and you will learn about how he has taken money for his campaign from the company that owns all the Nuclear Power Plants in Illinois. Some of which have polluted the ground water in communities where their plants are operating. How has Obama responded? He has supported legislation to give billions of dollars of subsidies to the Nuclear Industry that has not been successful in more than 50 years...this is called Corporate Welfare. Exelon and Obama are not what our country needs in 2008. We need a president taht will tell the truth and that man is John Edwards.

    January 4, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  11. Kurt, Ca

    Clinton or Edwards but never Obama!

    January 4, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  12. mm stranahan

    Obama cannot win in the general election.Come on, we all know it!
    The vote in Iowa was another grand and futile gesture which the Democratic party seems so eager to make nowadays.
    With the drug use and his only history as a freshman senator being running for office this would make the Swift Boaters look like a garden party!
    John Edwards is the only Democrat I will cast a vote for as President this year.
    If it is either Hillary or Obama I will for the 1st time in my life , not support the Democratic candidate for President!
    And trust me when I tell you I am not alone!

    January 4, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  13. Snicklefritz

    Ike Woodbridge VA

    I feel sorry for you Ike! You poor, little, pitiful boy. You mentioned Barack's middle name 5 times in your blog that was mostly void of intelligent thought. Why is it that backwards, tiny minded people like you get such a kick out of his middle name?? Why don't you people from the back woods of VA mention the other candidates' middle name repeatedly? IT IS because your ignorant small minds get all hyped up when you see the name Hussein! AHHH that sounds like a terrorist!!!! Bomb something quick!! 🙂 I can't believe you think that republicans voted in Iowa for Obama just to get him the nomination!!! LOL ROFLMAO He says Iowa was hijacked by Republicans and independents!! See he's above post, I'm not going to repost it. It's funny and sad though!

    January 4, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. Ian Colte

    Dong get me wrong, I want to believe Obama is a real change candidate, but there is still no substance there. Far from desperate, Edwards is calling Obama out for his accommodation of corporate lobbyists in the very recent past. Compared to Edwards brave stand against corporate control of our government and specific proposals for REAL reform, Obama's message is vague and non-committal. Furthermore, Obama's track record as a community organizer, while laudable, does not compare to Edward's lifetime of fighting for the little guy and the middle-class against the robber-barons and gilded-agers who are undermining our nation's economy for their own enrichment. Not to mention the fact that Obama has accepted tons of corporate money for his campaign and Edwards shunned it. This translates into real differences in how they would govern and lead. Edward's plans don't compromise to corporate interests. Obama talks change while accommodating behind the people's back.

    January 4, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. Jeremy

    Americans are truly the most stupid people in the world. How do people like Bush and Obama, with no real achevements win elections? How are a mass of people easily deceived by rhetoric and feel good talks over substance? I am thankful I am not American. Truly thankful.

    January 4, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. rory coolbaugh

    While I feel Mr. Obama is well spoken and has the ability to sway Americans, I still feel he has the black population of Americans in his greater interests rather than the country as a whole. I recently watched Rick Sanchez on CNN in which his interview included only black Americans and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Their discussion was not on what his impacts would be to help the country, they were directed towards the black community.
    The Reverend Jackson went so far as to discuss statistics of 2 1/2 million people in prison and 1 million being young blacks calling for some type of urban reform. I came from a very poor white family in which my father was disabled. I, nor any of my 4 brothers and sisters felt the need to go and commit a criminal act. I am not racist, I am a realist. Several great men and women are recorded in history as coming from broken families or bad childhood environments. They overcame and adapted, and had the will and desire to change.
    I would not vote for Mr. Obama only on the basis that I think more attention would be spent on trying to assist the black community rather than the country as a whole. I think there is more racism and bias from the black community than the white and that in order for the two to co-exist they need to be treated as equals and not compared to one another.I would like to know if there are any all white schools or universities, or any all white entertainment networks. There are several black schools and universities and entertainment networks. Why, if"All Men Are Created Equal" is this allowed to happen?

    January 4, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |

    The media and general public doesn't understand that electability is the most important thingk. Obama will get slaughtered by the Republicans. Democrats better wake up.

    January 4, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  18. Jon, Palo Alto, CA

    Senator Obama, like Huckabee, is sufficiently amorphous and vague in his presentation that any person can read him or herself in Obama's words. Just like a horoscope. You can see what you want to see. Huck is superchristian version of the same thing.

    I prefer a hard-ass like Clinton or Edwards.

    January 4, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  19. Duke Mantee

    You Obama fans have got to be kidding. I cannot believe that you are falling
    for another Bush like. The man is obviously fooling all of you with his nice rhetoric.
    He is nothing more than an empty suit. Remember "uniter not divider"?
    Giving inspirational speeches does not qualify one for the Presidency.
    Otherwise, we'd have ministers and preachers running.
    The man never specifies his policies. He is terrible at debates, is
    non-committal and flinches. He doesn't fool me in the least with his
    feel good talk. I felt the same way about Bush . I had him all figured out
    way before the Nation finally did.
    EDWARDS IS THE MAN!!! He's the real fighter for the common man.
    He's beaten the big boys over and over again. Wake up!
    I have never backed down from any fight so I identify with him. I feel
    for the oppressed, those who don't have representation.
    Those of you who say we work for the corporates so we should not confront
    them do not understand what Edwards is referring to.

    January 4, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  20. Jen

    I would be so much happier if they were attacking McCain for being so incredibly anti-choice. Choice relates to freedom, and without it, women, blacks, and all oppressed groups are merely slaves to white, corporate patriarchy. All of the hair is falling out of that white, corporate head. A new America is emerging in its place.

    As long as a democrat wins the election, I believe our country–and the world, for that matter–will be okay. Until the Repubs catch on to the fact that the only constant in this world is change and our best bet as humans is to affect it positively, then...well, I'll have to vote for the watered down version of the radical I wish were in office: Any Democrat Will Do.

    Edwards is not going to win, whether we want him to or not. I just hope our country is ready for a black man or a white woman. Not that it matters...they're all politicians in suits. Well I take that back. Obama seems like less of an alien-robot than the rest of them. I just hope he has the networking capabilities to surround himself with a stellar staff and cabinet. Behind every great president is a great cabinet, and a great country. Behind every great country are joyful citizens reclaiming their rights, finding peace, and building a better world.

    January 4, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  21. DAVE/HI

    This guy, Tom Edmonds must be a Republican or was one. There is nothing positive in his criticism. Just slash and burn reutoric. "ONLY RIGHT WINGERS" act and shout like this guy. He doesn't have one iota of evidence or proof. He must be halucinating. I wonder is drug behind his behavior. Show me the meat.
    Or, just keep ur lips closed.

    January 4, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  22. Old Artillery Man

    As one who grew up in the Great Depression, I remember when we had another man who had very big house, was very rich, and wanted to be president. This man became president, and in his presidency, he did more for the common working man than the Republican Party has done in its entire existence.

    The mansion he lived in was called Hyde Park and his name was Franklin Roosevelt.

    Just how poor must one be, before he can try to help working people?

    January 4, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  23. Jay (in Jacksonville, FL)

    2008 will see a historic change to include Senator Obama's true potential. He is whip sharp an has a strategy similar to a book titled "The Art of Peace", transforming negative energy into positive energy and eluding attacks. He is an intelligent, clean person, a Christian, and with a multicultural heritage (like my own), with no special interest or favor to any particular group. Positive change is long overdue and this will be a progressive move for America on the world stage.

    January 4, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. Lisla Lee, Dallas, TX

    Edwards always gives me the impression that he thinks he's better than the average person.... like maybe he'll take your vote & your contribution, but he really wouldn't want to have the spend any time with you beyond that. Just kind of a fake haughty personality....

    January 4, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  25. Peter

    Edwards knows as well as anyone that compromise is how laws get passed. Pity he overplays his "fight the coprorations" mantra; I tire of the constant repetition.

    January 4, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
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