August 15th, 2007
05:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama: 'Take blinders off White House'

Obama campaigned in New Hampshire Wednesday.

(CNN) - Sweeping reforms to increase both government accountability and transparency would be hallmarks of a Barack Obama administration, the Illinois senator pledged Wednesday.

“More and more, the real business of our democracy isn’t done in town halls or public meetings or even in the open halls of Congress,” the Democratic candidate said at a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Decisions are made in closed-door meetings, or with the silent stroke of the President’s pen, or because some lobbyist got some Congressman to slip his pet project into a bill during the dead of night.”

“We have to take the blinders off the White House,” Obama said. “The more people know about what’s going on in Washington, and how their tax dollars are being spent, and who’s raising money for who, the less likely it is that major decisions will be hijacked by lobbyists and special interests.”

As president, Obama vowed to post all bills brought to his desk online five days before they are signed. He also said every meeting between lobbyists and government agencies would be posted online as well.

Obama has made his lack of campaign donations from registered lobbyists a centerpiece of his campaign. He has taken aim at Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, several times on the campaign trail for doing so.

Obama was also scheduled to address the AFL-CIO convention in Waterloo, Iowa later in the day.

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    I think with a strong team for an administration, Obama would be the best candidate to run for the Democrats. I like Hillary in many ways, but I fear the polarizing effect (mostly unfounded) will either cost the Dems the election, or worse, just keep the country futher split in paritsan divide. I mostly blame conservative talk radio hatemongers for most of this mess (and K. Rove).

    August 15, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  2. Alex - Washingon (state)

    posting bills online for citizen review is a pretty neat idea.

    hooray barack!

    August 15, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. cliff jones, honolulu hi

    I respect the senators call for honesty on legislative bills, but what good would it do to post these bills five days before he signs them? They will still be signed. Transparency is already there in Congress for anyone with a computer and a search engine. What he is proposing would just give some devious people a way to manipulate the unknowing public. It would just create more flash points. We don't need it.

    August 15, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. JimmieFromDayton

    Obama 08! (Coming soon to a town near you!)

    August 15, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Claude, Mesa AZ

    This is awesome and would really necessitate major changes in Washington. Finally, we would really know what these politicians true priorities and intention are. Major step in the right direction Obama!

    August 15, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. guy, los angeles, ca

    actually the event was in iowa, not (as your caption incorrectly states) new hamphire.

    August 15, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. xtina - chicago IL

    I read that speech and it doesn't tell me what Barack Obama has done to earn the Presidency. If you notice, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton cannot tell us what their ACCOMPLISHMENTS are that qualify them for the Presidency. They simply want promises, anger and emotion to carry them through.

    Give the voters a list of what challenges you have overcome in your office that prepare you for leading the country. Tell the voters what you have done with success to manage the taxpayers' money in the most cost- effective way.

    Don't tell us what you WOULD do, because anyone can get up there and be a great actor, telling an audience what they WOULD do; but tell us what YOU HAVE DONE that makes you the best choice.

    August 15, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. eric

    Obama will and must win the nomination, if not , HRC will not win against the republican!Because , I as a democrat will never vote for her!
    Her campaign has turned nasty!
    "Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, brushed aside Rove's critique of her favorability numbers, saying, "It sounds like Karl Rove is writing Sen. Obama's talking points."

    "The reality is that as the campaign now gets under way, Sen. Clinton's ratings are improving because Americans are seeing that she has the strength and experience to deliver change," he added."
    Her so called experience is empty of judgment!
    She will definately use Atom Bomb! and she will count it as one her EXPERIENCE!

    August 15, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  9. Juanito, Washington, DC

    I disagree. I watched the event on CSPAN and Obama did talk about his legislative accomplishments in Illinois and in the US Senate. He spoke at length about working across party lines as well.
    Maybe you could watch it on, you might change your mind.

    August 15, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  10. Christian, Palmetto FL

    That's awesome! Obama is right on, and ready to lead the nation in the 21st century. It's time to include the American people in the political process.

    August 15, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Barack Obama administration?, don't say such a saucy things, you have got too much cheek for a two years Senator. I am tired of your immodest speech. I tried to understand you but I couldn't find dignified manner like President from you, your behavior is exact like a salesman.

    August 15, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  12. Reco, Atlanta

    God bless Obama! I will be voting for him happily. Does anyone else get how big this is?

    When I was younger a very successful gentleman told me about the evils of lobby groups and I've understood the harm they cause this country ever since.

    I'm actually kind of amazed that this isn't being touted as the big deal that it is. On second thought, no I'm not. Why would the deep pocketed interest and lobby groups which are largely backed by self-serving corporations who enrich their upper management shareholders really want you to know just how influential they are?

    August 15, 2007 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  13. Aj, Boston - Mass

    xtina from Chicago:

    If such was the question one will put, we would not have ended up with the likes of Bush and Cheney and our identity around the world would not have suffered as it already has. Its enough that we voted for Bush, noting his past credentials at Texas. What a shame and loss of life all over the world. Its the voters, ...!

    August 15, 2007 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  14. Lizabeth, Dallas TX

    To the previous poster– promises, anger, emotion?? Isn't that exactly how George W. & Dick C. have handled things these past years? Oh wait, add perceived FEAR to that list.
    I haven't seen any Republican candidates coming up with any list of what THEY would do.
    We've given Shrub almost 8 years to DO something and all he's done is screw the entire country into the ground & destroy our credibility around the entire world.

    August 16, 2007 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  15. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Xtina..Why don't you go all the way and ask EVERY candidate Republican and Democrat what qualifies them to be President. Oh wait, I know why you wouldn't ask that of the Republicans!

    August 16, 2007 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  16. Anon, Needham, MA

    Hello xtina from Chicago.

    Neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton exhibits 'anger.' Frankly, the only candidate who has exhibited anger is Mike Gravel, but he is justified in doing so because he (almost) singlehandedly put an end to the wartime draft in the 70's and does not want that to be revived. He is also angry that his fellow Democrats (aside from Kucinich) have sidestepped many important issues during debates.

    I have a challenge for you xtina. Why don't you go on each candidate's website and find out about what each candidate HAS done for the country?

    Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have a history of reaching bipartisan agreements, Obama at the state and federal level, and Clinton at the federal level.

    Challenges? I think Obama being half-black and Clinton being a woman are political challenges. Given that they have led relatively comfortable lives economically, they still have to same the same stereotypes/prejudice that any human being faces on a daily basis.

    In short, find out for yourself about what each candidate has done, xtina. I think you'll have made the better and more justified decision for yourself, whether you vote, Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc.

    August 16, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  17. John New Haven, CT

    It's important to realize that every speech is not a resume recitation. If you would like to know what Senator Obama has done, you should google his work history in the state legislature of Illinois. All of this is a matter of public record. Similarly you can find the information for Clinton. This information is not hard to find.

    I wonder whom you would say has demonstrated their ability to be President. Of course, I wonder if anyone is "ready" to be President before they are President.

    August 16, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. spinstopper

    And whose going to pay for all these reforms and promises the dems are making today? The "rich"??

    Funny how the talk is never about how to pay for these things. I guess deficits are no longer a problem for Obama..?

    August 16, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. spinstopper

    "Obama has made his lack of campaign donations from registered lobbyists a centerpiece of his campaign."

    Notice: "registered lobbyists"
    As if there is a difference..

    August 16, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. Terry, Milford CT

    I was at the Obama event in NH shown above and was impressed by the following:

    The depth of his answers to the questions that the crowd asked. He answered each question directly and with quite a lot of detail. There were no sound-bytes or canned answers.

    Also, I have found 2 themes that you'll hear frequently when Barack speaks, personal responsibility and common sense.

    Two things sorely missing in our country today.

    August 16, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. TC, Oklahoma City


    I guess you'd rather have a woman that hasn't even passed the bar exam, or lost ever battle she has waged in Washington lead us. Or maybe you just like the fact that she doesn’t even read intelligence information before making a decision that is costing us billions. I know, you like the fact that she is a flip flopper, and 60% of all democrats can’t stand her. If you are truly honest with yourself, and look at the state of the nation then you would see why so many intelligent people are going to vote for Obama, and you would too. That’s if you truly want a better America.

    August 16, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. G.Kenley Goins, Ft.Lauderdale,FL

    I love Obama's positive energy and that's what we nee as a country right now some positivity.

    August 16, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. DJ, Los Angeles

    Barack has continued to strike a nerve with growing voter discontent and skepticism.

    What I find incredibly suspicious is how Dick Cheney still to this day has refused to disclose whom he met with in 2001 to form PUBLIC energy policy.

    Transparency in government should not be something that the publich has to petition for. It should be one of our basic rights – since we as taxpayers are paying for the policies adopted by Cheney and his henchmen.

    August 16, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Tracy, Chicago, IL

    What kind of experience does Mitt Romney have (besides being a governor) or Guiliani (besides being a mayor who happened to just put on a hard hat & make himself LOOK busy after 911, ask NYers if he’s qualified)-no one ever questions their experience. Obama was in the IL state legislature before becoming a US senator, I will say he has just as much experience as everyone else who is running. I guess you all require him to have “more” experience than the rest of the gang. BTW what experience did Hilary Clinton have besides being a first lady before she became a senator? Hell, with the kind of experience you guys are asking for, if Laura Bush or Nancy Reagan ran for the US senate you all will vote for them because of their "experience".

    August 16, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |