February 3rd, 2008
03:00 PM ET
13 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. Vote

    And we want Obama as our President?

    Obama is not straight on any of his answers. He is decietful in so many ways. (read for yourself) The property/house he bought in Chicago was not 100% legitimate (read for yourself)

    Go Hillary 2008!

    February 3, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. charlotte

    So lets see, is that a lie? $227,000 from Exelon, is that like, oh I dunno, special interest money?

    February 3, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. cristina

    People are waking out of the dreams!!!

    GO HILLARY!!!!

    February 3, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Viki

    What do we know about Obama? Only his words that he is going to bring hope.
    How clean is his record? Why do people blindly believe that he will bring change?
    I see his speeches where he praising himself. I don't believe he can deliver results.
    My vote will go to Hillary.

    February 3, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. AW

    Their fact check is not reporting the facts. The new version of the bill does not "require" notification it states "shall consider" immediate public notification.

    February 3, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. adams

    OBAMA CONTINUES TO BE A THREAT TO NATIONAL MATURITY.
    -------------------------------

    WITH OBAMA'S BIG EGO AND LITTLE EXPERIENCE HE CONTINUES HIS CRUSADE TO HAND THE NEO CONS THE WHITE HOUSE.

    WE ALL KNOW IT WILL TAKE A HEAVY WEIGHT LIKE HILLARY TO TAKE BACK OUR DEAR WHITE HOUSE.

    VOTE TO WIN, THINK!

    February 3, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. apollo

    Will he defend the record of his racist church?

    I want to help other countries, work with other cultures and races, but being anti-white does not help heal the racial divide.

    tucc.org. go to his church's website and look at the pro-Africa, pro-black, anti-white stance of the church. You say it isn't racist? Do a cut/copy of the church's founding principles. Paste it into ms word. Hit ctrl f do a find/replace of black with white...then read the document. I placed it on several websites and was told to stop placing racist material on open blogs...if pro-white is racist, anti-white is racist, as well.

    Obama is not a healer, he is a divider.

    As for his policies, he has no clue how to run a business, a lemonade stand, let alone the largest entity in the world, as the chief executive of the executive branch of the federal government, in charge of our lives.

    Obama is not presidential.

    February 3, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Kingsley Brown

    What has the New York Times article got to do with issues at stake?.............I think it's time people concern themselves with what is important and stop chasing shadows. the truth is that Senator Obama holds the key to a new America filled with hope and wellness for all. I wonder why this article is being published two days to the 'super tuesday'

    February 3, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Brian Waters

    WOW!! This is to be expected. Borack Obama clearly have gain huge momentum. I was a huge supporter of Hillary and yes, like many had a change of heart. I consider my self a hardcore democrat. With that said, Hillary aswer on the last televised debate was the turning point for me. Hillary did not answer the question in regards to WHY?? she voted Yes on the Iaq war. She not only try to avoid the issue, she dance arounded it too!!! FoR some reason she does not want to come clean. Hillary has lost lots of votes because of the war issue. In order to win the general election you must run on a powerfull platform, Hillary does not have one. First she the same way McCain did so it will be hard to beat him on this issue. Lets all remember after all he is a war hero. The other issue with Hillary is her out of control Health plan. Her plan is a Universal mandate, what that means? Well it means that if you dont join her mandate you will have penalty. To this day Hillary has not explain what type of penalty is going to be nor has she explain what type of mandated her health plan will be. Please dont take my word I encorouge all to research this inforamtion, like I did. Lets remember I was a huge Hillary supporter so my homework was done. Thr last issue is very important for all democrats this is why??? In order to win the general elections you must without a dought bring in Republicans and Independents or you will not win, period. Borack Obama has proven in the past to work well with Republicans and we all know he has a huge independent following. Hillary does not do well with republicans an this is a fact. Republicans dont like her. This is fact. Borack has a paltform to win, WHY?? He said NO to the war from the Start. He has a has the ability to chip away republicans to his side. Borack has a huge following with the independent voter. Borack has a the advantage over Hillary to beat the McCain and thats a fact. I have political experience, but Im not the only one saying this, other experience experts are saying the same.

    February 3, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Oliver, Los Angeles

    If Obama was so against the WAR, then why did he vote to fund the war?
    Dennis Kucinich voted against authorizing the war in Iraq and against funding its continuation. Why?

    Because like every other politician, Obama knew it would be political suicide for him to vote against funding.

    But the media lets him off the hook and allows him to say he has always been against the war, even if his votes don't support his claim.

    February 3, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. WH, Illinois

    Obama's starting to get caught up in his lies. How can we trust a person who touts "change", but lines his pockets with money from a nuclear company that subjects the public to nuclear waste? The worst of it is that people have been, and will again, be subjected to poisoning by nuclear companies who do not want to take responsibility for contaminating water supplies. And Obama covers for them because he's too worried about making them mad and/or irritating the Republicans. I'm sure Obama will find a way to spin this so that he doesn't look guilty or, at the very least, less culpable than he really is.

    It's kind of the same as when he voted "present" on legislation that would have forced him to take a stand on issues that would have pitted him against some Republicans. The fact that he refused to take stands on some serious issues, at times being the ONLY person to give a "present" vote on serious issues, which speaks volumes about his actual ability to take charge and stand up for what's right. He is a "Yes" man and, if by some miracle he is elected as President, he will become a puppet for the Republicans.

    Is anyone noticing a pattern here????

    February 3, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. jp

    WOW THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THE TRUTH
    THIS GUY WAS FULL OF AIR FROM THE BEGINNING
    I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF HE IS BEING BACKED BY KARL ROVE AND THE REP RIGHT
    THIS GUY ENTERTAINS THE KIDS WITH HS ACT OF LOVE AND HOPE THEY BETTER DO RESEARCH BEFORE BUYING THIS GUYS SPIN BUT THEN AGAIN THEY HAVE BEEN RAISED ON BRINEY DR. PHIL AND YOU TUBE THEY PROBABLY WONT READ THE ARTICLE I DID

    February 3, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Rhonda

    Thank God some exposed the deceit.

    February 3, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. Chris, Orlando, FL

    Tsk Tsk Tsk, Senator Obama. I'm sure your cheerleading squad will run to your defense, though, as they always do when someone challenges your record or calls you out on a lie.

    February 3, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. kwami

    Why should any one worry about the New York Times publication? They are not neutral in this race because thay have endorsed Hillary. The only reason they are doing this is simply bring Obama down, something that predictably will fail. Everybody can read through it!

    February 3, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Susan in Cincinnati

    Oh sure he defends his record.....

    But I thought he was above all this stuff. Taking money from big energy, eh? Isn't that kinda related to big oil??

    How many other of these little "leaks" are the we going to find *if* he gets our nomination?

    February 3, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. KD

    Didn't the New York Times article say that Barack considered it a success because the company decided to comply anyway?

    February 3, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. Louis

    I voted for it before I voted against it.

    No wonder Kerry endorsed you.

    GO HILLARY!!!

    We don't want another Media Puppet promising unity (last one to do so? George W. Bush).

    February 3, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. me

    Now shouldn't the press have reported on this way back instead of allowing Senator Obama continue along the path of fabrication, exaggeration and misconceptions?

    Is it a special standard? When any other candidate would do such a thing, it would be front and center for days in the news, yet this candidate enjoys errors to drift, why?

    February 3, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Peter

    Odd that the Obama Cult could find the time to snark about the President going to church, but no comments by them on this item. (This item was posted an hour before the President item). I'm sure they are researching the issue so that they can make an educated response.

    February 3, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Lena

    The NY Times printed this story mere days before Super Tuesday and made sure it was on the front page? Coincidence? I don't think so. Oh by the way, didn't the newspaper just endorse Hillary Clinton? It would certainly explain why they're publishing this story on the front cover and hiding the one about bill clinton and his multi-millionaire friends' donations to his wife's campaign. Right.

    February 3, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Ray

    typical Obama.."Im thats not what I mean, ummm, ummm, they twisted what I said, ummm ummm, Thats not ummmm"

    Hillary 08!!!

    February 3, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Democrat

    Just because Sen. Obama has taken a lot of money from the nuclear power industry and he has fought on their behalf doesn't make him a bad candidate.

    A lot of Democrats are very pro-nuclear like Sen. Obama.

    February 3, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Bill from CT

    and you see this as newsworthy?

    February 3, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Sol

    Cant spin out of this one Sen Obama

    February 3, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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