August 16th, 2007
04:21 PM ET
16 years ago

Edwards asks Obama to help curb lobbyist money

Edwards is currently on a bus tour of Iowa.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards does not take campaign contributions from federal lobbyists and now he’s trying to convince the rest of the Democratic Party to live by his example.

Edwards sent his rival Illinois Sen. Barack Obama a letter on Thursday that asked Obama to join Edwards in asking the three major national Democratic Party campaign committees and every Democrat running for federal office to stop taking money from federal lobbyists.

“With more than 60 lobbyists for every member of Congress, the voices of regular Americans are being drowned out in Washington,” Edwards said in the letter.

“What we’re suggesting is there’s a pernicious connection between money and argument,” said Jonathan Prince, Edwards’ deputy campaign manager, in conference call with reporters Thursday. “When you’re giving money to the people you’re trying to convince, that’s going to change the dialogue,” Prince added.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton quickly responded, saying in a statement that it is not enough to refuse lobbyist money. Instead, “we have to curb their influence,” he said.

Pointing to Obama’s efforts to pass ethics legislation in the U.S. Senate, Burton also said that Sen. Obama “had done more to curb lobbyists’ influence than anyone else in this race.” Burton did not say whether Obama would join Edwards in asking the Democratic Party to turn down campaign contributions from federal lobbyists.

Related: Clinton slammed for taking $400K from lobbyists

- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Marsha, Portland, OR

    In other words "Obama, please make me your Vice President." Pandering.

    August 16, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Andre' Green, Dalwortington Gardens Texas

    I would really like to see these two guys keep their heads above the slop the rest of the way through. I think they both would be a welcome change at 1600 Penn Ave.
    I do think however that some of the most effective rhetoric and negotiations, provided they are not detrimental to the country, scan and should be done in teh dark.
    What I mean by that (so no one will misinterpret my statement) is Edwards should have sent the letter privately to Obama. Everything doesn't need to make the news. We all know what Edwards is trying to stand for and we know who he is specifically targeting.
    Why give the Hillary machine more ammo than it already needs.
    By the way, that grayish-silver pantsuit should never be worn by her again.

    August 16, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |

    Just the way Edwards & Obama are starting out...the way they're handling/trying to avoid some of the a good thing.
    It really says more about who they are. GOOD JUDGEMENT WILL GO A LONG WAY HERE!

    August 16, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    I think it's unlikely that John Edwards is that opposed to lobbyist money. He's playing politics. I'm sure he would like to take away lobbyist money since most of it isn't going to him.

    August 16, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. cliff jones, honolulu hi

    John Edwards could have gotten all the lobbyist money that he wanted. Instead he refused their influence over the last eight years. Its a start.

    August 16, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    Superficial move

    August 16, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  7. xtina chicago IL

    Why isn't John Edwards telling us what he has accomplished ??? That's what voters need to hear.

    What experience does he have in making executive decisions that worked well; what has he done to help our troops; what financial challenges has he successfully overcome.

    I'm hearing the usual promises, and wonderful ideas about what they WOULD do as President , but not what the HAVE DONE that has been successful .

    August 16, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. A. Thomas, new york NY

    John Edwards oppose lobbyists' money (because they do not give him any), just like Obama says he did not vote to invade Iraq (because he was not a senator then).

    If lobbyist give him money, he probably will not refuse the money. On the other hand, lobbyists are smart people and will only give money to the likely winner of the presidential race, but John Edwards is not.

    August 16, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    The lobbist issue is one of the most important we face. we can never accomplish anything with 50,000 paid corporate lobbyists controlling the issues in washington. The people with money have no desire to stop global warming, end our dependance on oil, give us healthcare that doesn't blow chunks compared to the rest of the world, etc.

    They're making a ton of money off of our miseries, and they're spending it by giving it to candidates that will keep the status quo humming along.

    At least Edwards as well as Obama realize this.

    Hillary Clinton would keep the system in place and as a result it would be very difficult to do anything meaningful, as she learned when lobbists beat the heck out of her health plan in the 90s.

    I think she suffers from shell shock on that issue. She went against the lobbys and lost, and now she figures the only way to get things done is to join them.

    as a result, we'll all suffer.

    I say go Edwards and go Obama too. If they're the two men on the ticket, we might just be okay.

    August 16, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. Chantelle MN

    well xtina if you've watched the campaign or even went to the campaign web site you would know what John Edwards has done. Its a typical ad homien argument. Here's one thing he's done; one of many things I may add. In the fall of 2005, John Edwards helped start a College for Everyone pilot program at Greene Central High School in Snow Hill, North Carolina. The program was launched by the Center for Promise and Opportunity Foundation, a North Carolina nonprofit organization. Located in rural, eastern North Carolina, Greene County's income and education attainment are lower than North Carolina averages. Its school system has an above-average percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged

    August 16, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Raymond

    Edwards/Obama 2008

    August 17, 2007 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  12. Len, Sparks, NV

    Edwards won't say no to the trial lawyers. That's a special interest group. So it is easy to criticize, but hard to see his own sins. Obama is the only one being straight.

    August 17, 2007 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  13. Shardule, Needham, MA

    xtina, I've seen your repeated comments on many posts about candidates not documenting their successes/failures/etc. I think every candidate has his or her qualifications. It's up to you to find them. I'll explain why below.

    In relation to this article, learn more about John Edwards here:

    You can find similar webpages about the candidates. The candidates, both Republican and Democrat, feel that change is a more marketable theme than experience. Whether you agree with that or not is obviously your decision. It's just the way the campaigns are being run this time around.

    However, there is plenty of information out there to find out what the candidates have done for their respective localities.

    In short, a candidate's experience can be searched on the internet. A candidate's vision? I don't think so.

    August 17, 2007 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  14. Anonymous

    I see xtina is posting the same blog for all of the Democratic candidates: What have they accomplished?

    Valid question, however, the Democratic candidates don't sound that much different than the Republican ones. What have ANY of them accomplished and is it possible they can give us real answers to our question instead of just two minute talking points?

    August 17, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. Mike, Eau Claire, WI

    So Edwards is asking for Obamas help in the spirit of unity and the cause? I suppose this means we can be looking forward to Elizabeth coming out tomorrow or the next day to slam Senator Obama.

    August 17, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Dan, Tx

    "What have ANY of them accomplished and is it possible they can give us real answers to our question instead of just two minute talking points?"

    I agree. However, the web sites of the candidates should provide this information and extensive answers. I have looked through the candidates web sites and it is clear which candidates are stating their positions and which ones are making their positions intentionally vague. Even reading their speeches, some have clearly articulated plans, others just vague catchy phrases. I'm afraid we will have to actually expend effort to educate ourselves if we want to make intelligent decisions. But who has time for that? Maybe the parties should just pick their candidates and forget about these silly primaries, the public just doesn't have time for them and generally doesn't care that much. Otherwise the public wouldn't rely on what the news media tell them in two minute sound bites. The public would find out for themselves if they cared, right? You can find out for yourself at the candidate's web site and compare them.

    August 17, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Robert M. Reidy

    Now, now -Xtina,
    Just what has all of this republican good ole boy experience gotten us. A war to nowhere – approaching 3000 of our finest young men and women in uniform dead – an increase in anti – Americanism
    throughout the world – a tremendous increase for recruitment for the enemy – our treasury raided and given to no bid contracts to make the rich richer – Nafta and Cafta, a transfer of American manufacturing overseas for the return of inferior and dangerous products – poor working conditions and a virtual return to slave labor for the rich – and deep division here in our own country based on fear politics – oh, yea! remember pensions ?
    Well, xtina thats what good old "experience" has wrought upon us all!

    BaROCK the vote

    August 17, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Veronica, Houston, TX

    Any candidate elected as President of the United States does not have the experience to run the country. The experience comes after you have been elected and learn and grow in the position. That's what every candidate has done. I don't feel it's change vs. experience. It's whose the more level headed, intelligent person to run our country and get things back on on track, at least for the American people?

    August 21, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |