February 3rd, 2008
03:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama defends record on nuclear leak bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/03/art.obamanuc.ap.jpg caption=" Obama defended his record on a nuclear leak bill in the Senate."] (CNN) - On the final weekend before Super Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign quickly responded to a New York Times article Sunday scrutinizing the senator's actions on a nuclear leak bill. The story, published on the front page, said "a close look at the path his legislation took tells a different story" from what Obama has said.

Obama's campaign posted on its Web site a lengthy "fact check" about the article defending the senator's work on the bill.

Two years ago, after Illinois residents learned that Exelon Corporation did not disclose leaks at one of its plants, Obama introduced the Nuclear Release Notice Act of 2006, which would require plant owners to report all leaks to state and local authorities, the article reported.

Obama has touted the bill - which never passed the Senate - on the campaign trail, and in December he told voters in Iowa it was "the only nuclear legislation that I've passed," the newspaper reported.

Although it passed the environmental committee, the bill never made to the full Senate, and the senator reintroduced it last fall, according to the report.

The article said the Obama camp did not explain to the newspaper why Obama told Iowa voters that the bill had passed.

The article also said Obama bowed to pressure from Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators, and rewrote the bill to "reflect changes" they wanted.

"The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators," the story said.

In its "fact check," the Obama campaign said the revised bill still required notification of leaks and that "the only change was that the requirements would be made through the regulatory process."

The "fact check" also said Obama had "criticized the industry's voluntary guidelines and vowed to press ahead with the bill after those guidelines were announced."

The "fact check" did not address Obama's remark about the bill having "passed." It also did not respond to the article's reporting that Exelon executives and employees have contributed $227,000 to Obama's campaign.

David Axelrod, Obama's chief political strategist, has worked as a consultant for the Illinois-based company, the newspaper reported.

"Obama 'never discussed this issue or this bill' with Mr. Axelrod," the article said, citing Obama's campaign.

Obama is locked in a tight race for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. maryblu

    I will never trust Hillary as president or as a woman. She carries too much dirt and many secrets. She doesn't mind the lobbiests in Washington, after all they have suported her. When she ran for NYS Senator she recieved high contributions from defense contractors and the health care industry. She is the first New Yorker to sit on the Senate Armed Services Committeeon. Now I have to ask myself,

    1. How much did that effect her vote to go to war with Iraq?
    2. How will this effect bringing our boys home?
    3. How will that effect how we conduct ourselves in Afganistan?
    4. How can she effectively work with health care to bring medical costs down?

    At the time she accpeted these contributions, Frederick H. Graefe, a health care lawyer and lobbyist in Washington for more than 20 years, said, “People in many industries, including health care, are contributing to Senator Clinton today because they fully expect she will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008.”

    One had washes the other as they say.

    She still can't admit she made a mistake voting to go to war.
    She has pitted one minority group against another. The old man establishment needs this to keep the status quo. Keep the underdogs fighting so they can't see what we are doing. Toss them a bone here and there and they won't take away from our feasts.

    February 4, 2008 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  2. hati

    I wonder if Obama can really do the job. I haven't heard about him except when he was asked to do a speech during John Kerry. One political speech is not enough to get elected . Maybe, he can join Oprah and Dr. Phil in a new TV show. Let us see, who is a better speaker .This is a very important election where our economy is at stake. If he will be the candidate, i will be a Republican in a heartbeat.

    February 4, 2008 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  3. AJ

    More lies from Obama. He has a hard time running on his record because the only record he has is to vote "Present"

    February 4, 2008 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  4. Persaud

    Obama, Oprah, Shriver, and the Kennedys they all in the same. They all lie to get vote and money, they say Obama is the next KENNEDY and they are right people lie lie, let see if CNN will run this one I gest NOT.

    But if it was Clinton it will be on the air every hour shame on the Obama . and the rest of you

    February 4, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  5. Jen

    Obama's work in the senate is questionable. Why risking make this man US president???
    Hillary is the well rounded, best qualified, most presidential candidate who will win Super Tuesday HUGE.
    And poof! Obama disappears!

    February 4, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  6. Alecki

    Why isn't this nuclear waste article from the NY Times being slammed on CNN

    February 4, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  7. kathy

    I'm just wondering how we can get so caught up in it all. Obama is the change guy right. But it seem to me that with all this we are saying he's just another of the same. Just because his skin is a different color he feels he is somhow different! If we want different then the real change would be Clinton. A man is a man is a man.
    If we want someone who has a different way of thinking we need to look at the woman. We all know about the vast differance between the two.

    February 4, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  8. Sara

    Hopefully this will be on the news today, made me rethink my vote

    February 4, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  9. Vincent

    Why has noone talked about his church and the pastor..Research!!!!!!!!!!!!tucc.org.
    Wright wrote that the 9/11 terrorist attack upon our nation was a "wake-up call" to White America," reminding it that "people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just disappeared, as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."

    February 4, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  10. holly

    WAKE UP!!! Hillary is the one with Bad judgment. She voted for the war and cannot worm her way out of it. Bad Judgment!

    Universal Health care..to FORCE people to get health insurance. Dictatorship.

    February 4, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  11. josh

    finally you get to see the real bama a liar..............hillary 08

    February 4, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  12. Mike in Kentucky

    As I have observed many times on these posts, we all have skeletons in the closet...

    I think I might be hearing bones clattering at the Obama camp!

    February 4, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  13. Michiel

    I've been trying to post for 2 days, nothing shows! What gives?

    February 4, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Mike in Kentucky

    This is the New York Times...yes the Editorial Board endorsed Hillary Clinton, but...

    Now, imagine the Republican attack machine...other skeletons are waiting to clatter: and they already know about them.

    Can we as Democrats really take the "leap of faith"?

    We know more about the Clintons, thanks to the Republican right, than we care to know, but we know nothing about Obama.

    😉 "dem bones, dem bones, dem bones"

    It looks like we are about to learn more.

    You decide.

    February 4, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. jason

    It's odd how people latch on to one article or one piece of information and allow that fragment of detail to completely steer one's outlook. It's frightening that you allow yourselves to be so easily manipulated. Every single one of the candidates has either directly or indirectly misled americans on his or her record & on his or her opponents record. Each one of them has lied, deceived americans to some degree, and inflated their own records in the pursuit of the presidency. Our votes or reasons for, should be more fundamental. Of the candidates who are remaining, please vote for whomever you feel will be the best leader.

    February 4, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Peter 4 Obama!

    Are you guys serious? He actually challenged the oil company to disclose any spilling, that to me is fighting for the people. which language don't you understand.
    How is it true that someone who took money from Exelon will fight against Exelon?
    You figure!

    Hillary health care plan will force everyone to have her plan, which I see disturbing. American should choose whatever health care they like purchase, not some president who will take your right from you to force you.
    No to Hillary health care plan and say yes to Obama health care plan.
    Obama plan will not force you to take his plan, but will help you reduce your cost if you already have one, but for those who don't have he will purchase at a lower cost for them. How better is that? Let NO President take your FREEDOM aways and force you in getting what you can't afford.

    Obama will give student's $4,000.00 every year. Ist that good enough? Tell me which President will do that? Let us vote for change and turn our back on the old politice. We have had enough of Clinton and Bush. They have nothing left for us. Can't you SEE!!
    Obama 08!

    February 4, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. Peter Cananda 4 Obama!

    Please read it carefully Obama actually faught for us. Obama is not directly in possection of the money contributed to his camp and if that is true that Exelon contributed to his camp, he will refund it. He get over $32, million , what is $227,000.
    The camp will donate that money to charity if it is true they have it.
    He didn't do anything wrong, Obama has said that he is against lobbiest and specail interest .
    So, any company or lobbiest who want to contribute to someone who doesn't like them so be it. They are wasting their money, those money will be redonated to charities across the conntry and the can't control his White House.

    Vote Obama

    February 4, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. sunlight

    nOW children reread the article. It is the New York Times for god sake. They are about as credible as a 3.00 bill. That newspaper is full of phonies, fakes, and wantabes. They are so terrified their sorry newspaper will have to pay more taxes to h elp the poor. Wait until the new york times see what hillbill is going to do with them.

    When you have a weak infrastructure as the New York times, you will post almost anything to get some sales.

    Truth be Known

    February 4, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Saffea

    You can never gun a good man down. Obama will definitely get over this in grand style and go on to win the primaries.

    February 4, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. PW

    I hope he's asked about it during Situation Room today.

    And if he answers, this just more of the same old politics, then I'm thinking how much Barack before we get a specific straight answer.


    February 4, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Charles Stoy


    The New York Times is no longer a respected International news source. It is now the third largest circulating paper in New York city with a TOTAL (National as well as International) of just over 200,000.

    It is now just a Manhatten paper.

    February 4, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Jim673

    Obama!... how do you spell that?.... 'H'....The democrates version of....'W'.....No not another loser... Please No!...Has anyone checked this guys background? How could the DNC put this guy forward? And how could he possibly be where he's at? The democratic voters must be as stupid as the GOP believes them to be. But why did the DNC let him run in the first place? Doesn't everyone know that if he is our pick another republican presidant will take office. Can you say.. four... more.. years?!!!

    February 4, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. John

    Obama Rocks!!!
    It's Hillary who avoids giving direct answers, when she's asked crucial questions such as : how are you gonna make the your healthcare plan mandatory? are you gonan impose penalties?....guys she does not asnwer this question no matter how many time people ask her the same thing...but obama on the other hand gives a more practical answer to the health care problem by saying that it'll be made more affordable.....and this article on NY times is just a weak effort to tarnish Sen Obama's image which is now far more superior to that of Hillary, he's a leader that people can look up to...

    February 6, 2008 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  24. maryblu

    It's a shame that so many people still want the OLD way of running our government with lobbyists and crooked politicians at the helm. Our children and grandchildren deserve something better. WE deserve something better! Hill and Bill represent all that is wrong with our government.

    You can argue all you want about who has the most experience but you know that both are near equal in ELECTED experience. One of them votes according to the staus quo, and one is not afraid to say no. The question is though, who has the best experience to meet our needs, the needs of the people?

    The one who sat on corporate boards, and/or sat on boards to help others by gathering information, or the person who was out on the street working along side people of all races and genders and helping them to get jobs and health care, food and shelter?

    Who will be better able to sit down with the medical and insurance groups to improve health care at affordable costs for everyone? The one who has gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from them or the one who will sit down with them and wants to work out a plan that is fair to them as well as US?

    Who is better to restore our reputation in the world? The one who's husband takes money for favors and the one who won't meet and talk face to face with our advisaries? The one who has taken a jet and visited other countries and shook a few hands? Or the one who will meet our advisaries and talk to them face to face and see if we can find common ground and who has lived amoung people of the world and gotten to know them?

    Think well what kind of governmenr you want.
    Think well what kind fo world you want to leave your children and grandchildren.

    Real change can be frightening. Will you be voting with wisdom or fear of real change? The only way to conqueor fear is to face it. How brave are you?

    February 6, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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