December 23rd, 2007
07:56 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama rips Edwards over 527 activity

The simmering Obama-Edwards feud over 527's boiled over on Saturday.

OSKALOOSA, Iowa (CNN) — Barack Obama took aim at Democratic rival John Edwards at an Iowa campaign event Saturday, unleashing his harshest criticism yet of the former North Carolina senator for not using his influence to end the actions of third-party groups that support his presidential campaign in Iowa.

"John said yesterday he didn't believe in these 527s. You can't say yesterday you don't believe in it, and today three-quarters of a million dollars is being spent for you,” said Obama. “You can't just talk the talk. Everybody talks change, but how did they act when it was not convenient, when it's hard?"

This week, the Obama campaign has tried to draw attention to what it describes as Edwards’ links to several 527 groups - independent organizations that can raise unlimited funds for ads that can create an environment favorable to their candidate of choice, as long as they do not directly advocate that individual's election.

Its loudest complaints have been about the Alliance for a New America, a Service Employees International Union-linked group which is advertising in support of John Edwards. "The individual who's running the group used to be John Edwards' campaign manager," Obama said Saturday. Nick Baldick, Edwards' 2004 campaign manager, is now part of Alliance for a New America.

The group’s ads praising Edwards are already running on Iowa radio, and Obama said today that it had purchased $750,000 in television time as well. Later, the Illinois senator told reporters that if Edwards wanted to get the ads off the air, he “has such a good relationship with the person who runs it, I suspect that he should be able to get it done.”

He also told the crowd Saturday that Edwards had not done enough while in office to combat the influence Washington lobbyists.

Responding to Obama’s criticism, John Edwards said he had only learned of the group’s actions through the media, and would prefer it if their ads did not air. “I don't have any direct control over it because the law requires that I stay out of it. But I would prefer that all the 527’s, not just this one, but all the 527’s stay out of Iowa,” he said, emphasizing that he had no authority to make that happen.

He also fired back at Barack Obama over lobbyist contributions. “I'm proud of the fact that I've never taken any money, unlike Senator Obama, never taken any money from a Washington lobbyist or a PAC [political action committee].”

During his last presidential run, Edwards faced similar complaints from rival candidates after campaign aide Jonathan Prince allegedly resigned before the Iowa caucuses to help run a 527 that benefited Edwards’ candidacy.

This year, Obama’s campaign has complained that independent groups have poured millions into Iowa on behalf of both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards leading up to that state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, now less than two weeks away.

On Thursday, Obama - who has used attacks from Democratic rivals to raise funds for his White House run – made a new bid for campaign cash based on actions by some of those third-party groups.

“Right now groups supporting Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are flooding Iowa and the other early states with millions of dollars in paid ads, phone calls, and mailings,” he wrote in a fundraising email sent to supporters Thursday. “Some of it is negative and even deceptive, and a lot of it is paid for by huge, unregulated contributions from special interests.”

–CNN's Chris Welch, Jessica Yellin, and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • John Edwards
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. carrol

    Truth must be told. No doing things behind closed doors!!

    December 23, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. jacob,nashua,nh

    Yes edward,Yes, give out money to buy votes. Santa Claus is coming to town.

    December 23, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Brenda,ks,mo

    He is a cooperate lawyer, that is all that I can remember...

    December 23, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Liberal Chic

    What happened to hope and unity? What happened to his positive campaign promise?

    What a doofus and a liar.

    December 23, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. julie slc ut.

    I feel sorry for the spouses of these hyper sensitive people on this board who call Obama's comments "an attack". Gimme a break.

    Obama has been very civil throughout this campaign. Edwards has (mostly) been to.

    Y'know what I consider "an attack"?
    The under handed sneaky dirty campaign tactics from Hillary's camp.
    Like Implying that Obama was a drug dealer, or repeating the word "cocaine" over and over to get it into people's minds, and forwarding dishonest emails full of lies that Obama's some secret muslim who'll take down america, or purposefully misleading and misrepresenting the opposing candidate's healthcare plan.

    Hillary has run a dirty campaign. Obama has made some pointed remarks, but they've been related to politics and issues, and he's said nothing that has come even close to the Clinton sleaze machine.

    December 23, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. James, Iowa

    Why is Obama going negative? Didn't he talk about politics of hope? He whines like a kind, needs to grow up.

    December 23, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. John, Des Moines, Iowa

    Folks, Obama has retreated from his comments on Chinese toys. What a flip-flopper. See this:

    December 23, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    Too many people on this board are idiots. They can't read. Please people read the whole speech before you post.

    God, what happen to logic or common sense.

    For Edward supporters, unfortunately America don't like to vote for losers. He already lost with John Kerry.

    For Hilary supporters, sorry that ship has sailed. The lady is a loser. Republicans and Independent voters hate this woman with passion. Without some support from these two groups you can't win a general election.

    December 23, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. James, Iowa

    Obama says his mother was a Christian?? That's a big lie. She was an atheist. This man will say anything to get elected, just like the Bushies.

    Obama is a liar.

    Richardson 08

    December 24, 2007 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  10. John, Des Moines, Iowa

    Joe Ossai from Bedford, NH, an Obama backer says, "Too many people on this board are idiots. They can't read. Please people read the whole speech before you post."

    And then, "God, what happen to logic or common sense."

    I guess he is calling Hillary's supporters (and those of Edwards) idiots.

    Mr. Ossai, your sentence, "God, what happen to logic or common sense." has lots of errors. First, you need to replace "happen" with "happened." Then you need to put a question mark at the end, not a period.

    Why don't you take some grammar lessons before posting messages?

    December 24, 2007 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  11. Debbie Owen; West End, NC

    His comments is like calling the kettle black. His campaign people are making calls and asking for contributions and when they are told they are supporting a different candidate, they respond by telling the person that by contributing to Obama that they would also be supporting their candidate of choice. I know that this is true since it happended to me.

    December 26, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Ajay Jain

    Get used to the SWIFT BOATING Obama. There will be lot more in the General Election from the Republicans this election cycle.

    Go Hillary44 08!

    December 26, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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