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. SLO Bear

    Do the timing and placement, Sunday and first page above the fold, reflect a need to be "right," given the LA Times and other papers' recent endorsement of Barack Obama? It reminds me a little of Senator Edwards' comment in the debate about the forces of the status quo rising to quash agents of change.

    February 3, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. lugina

    In Maytag shutdown, Obama's fundraising collides with his rhetoric..Wake up America...

    February 3, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Robert

    Obama is a professional Politician like all of them. And his phony preacher rapping and clapping at campaign events is particularly stupid.

    February 3, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Andrea

    And the voters are going for this?

    February 3, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. From PA

    Someone needs to look closer at Obamas past. And the high profile endorsements he is gettting…the very thing he is not for, apparently.

    I want Obama supporters to name 3 things he has accomplished as a senator?

    And give 3 solid reasons why they are supporting him.

    I bet many can't come up with them, except the "change", no more clintons, and apparently she was the only one that said we need to go to war, in those exact words.

    By the way, with Clintons presidency…US was doing good. He cheated yes, so did MLK, JFK, and Gandhi. But they are still great leaders and their spouses had morals. For those questioning Hillary's Morals.

    Think before you vote, don't let the media influence your vote!!

    I wonder if exon donated some money........

    February 3, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. charlotte

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

    February 3, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. you

    Psssh... whatever. He'll never be as dirty as the Clintons' already are. You want to talk about lack of reporting? Please. The Clintons are the most scandalous couple that has ever been in the White House. How much do you hear of? What's that? Nothing? That's right... A couple quick searches on Google will reveal plenty... pay no heed to the conspiracies. There is plenty of real scandal.

    February 3, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Donna F

    WEll, so much for fighting and sticking with it attitude and defeating the old system of letting big business and or the other side of the aisle influence goals.
    Obama does not have follow thru...has spent way too much time running for something he does not have enough ummph for yet. Hillary has always worked with both side and fights hard for her bills.

    February 3, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. me too

    You won't even find a mention of it on some of the other news media's websites. What a sorry state....the media have let Americans down. To have thought naively that they could be "Fair"!!!!

    February 3, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Will, CA

    Special standard? I doubt it.

    Clinton is lucky the media decided to provide late coverage on Bill Clinton's $130 million deal with the Kazakhstan government and a Canadian billionaire. That would just be another example of lobbyist influence on the Clinton's.

    The media fails to cover everything for everybody exactly when they want to hear it. Deal with it. I am still waiting on the shady Clinton deal to get played up.

    February 3, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. Jack, Greenville, SC

    Please publish my post. There was nothing wrong with it. If you wait too long it will be buried. I hope that is not the point.

    February 3, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Myrna

    Why isn't this front page in other newspapers? Why hasn't this issue been brought up by Bltzer and other pundits? What's their agenda?

    February 3, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Oliver, East Los Angeles

    Obama talks a good game, but when it comes down to it, he doesn't practices what he PREACHES.

    He says, that he is new style of politician, that this election is about a change in Washington instead of business as usual, the past and the future.

    But, now we find out, that he is like every other politician, he is business as usual, and he resorts to the same tactics as everyone else.

    Its about time a journalist did his job, looked deeply into Obama's record, and knock him off that moral High Horse he sits on.

    February 3, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. Judith, Ridgewood, NJ

    Well I wonder why this article is coming out now ....who's hoping there is no time to set the facts straight. Another example of anything to win politics.

    February 3, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Mose

    How intelligent do you think the Kennedys are? Very if you asked me, as well as millions of others. It is nothing new aout Obamas campaign and what he stands for. There has been serious misconceptions about him being a muslem, but its overlooked by most radical people even when he plegeds alligence to the flag at senate meetings as well as other documented occurences. I also find that voting for the war was ok for Clinton but again some radicals overlook Obamas stand from the begining.
    I see the former President Clinton taking the position of president instead of his wife, another scandal in the White House. If the facts were presented properly we would not have these Clinton under tactics so convieniently timed, especially from Clintons favored New York.
    Hog Wash– Obama for President.,

    February 3, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  16. Joe

    The Chicago Tribune features a similar story on a different topic. While Sen. Obama on the stump tells people about the plight of Maytag workers who lost their jobs, ("Obama's fundraising collides with his rhetoric") the Tribune documents that the union covering those workers believes they got no help from the Senator, who was again taking significant contributions and bundling from one of the company's directors and biggest investors.

    And yesterday there was an AP story where Senator Obama told the voters of Idaho: "And then there are people who say, 'Well, he doesn't believe in the Second Amendment,' even though I come from a state - we've got a lot of hunters in downstate Illinois. And I have no intention of taking away folks' guns." But he didn't disclose to those voters, as the AP said that "he does support gun control and has a record of voting for it in the Illinois Senate. He backed limiting handgun purchases to one a month, but he made no attempts to ban them." When he originally ran for the state legislature 12 years ago, he filled out a questionnaire saying he "supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns." He gave the voters of Idaho no indication whatsoever of either his record in the State Senate or his prior views on the questionnaire.

    February 3, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. showmehillary

    Why is this buried in the ticker when the story about Bill was headline news on CNN and MSNBC earlier this week when it didn't even have anything to do with Hillary? I didn't want to believe it, but there is a media bias in this election.

    February 3, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. Sara

    Obama to have ads during superbowl thats a big gamble...People dont want to see politics during the superbowl and Im an Obama supporter

    February 3, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. brian

    Yes, charlotte Exelon is a special interest group.

    Yes, lugina I also read that story.

    February 3, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. JohnS


    Do not feel bitter by these endorsements. These women are trying to SAVE
    1. The Dems
    2. The souls of minorities
    3. The women's movement

    Unfortunately, with all the loud talk, the Clintons appointed the least number of minorities to position durinh their terms in office. Even Bush, with all his probelms, has more Latino/Latina and other minorities than did the Clintons.

    So, look up to these women, they just might be telling you something very important!!! Do not waste your vote on Hillary; in the end you will live to regret it.

    February 3, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. charlotte

    Obama is a liar, plain and simple?

    February 3, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  22. Gabby

    Oh, so he can defend his records and any other person can not?.....fair is fair.....

    February 3, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. kate

    Point is he is trying to push through a bill against a corporation .. that should tell you something ..

    February 3, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. Californian voter

    What a slime ball! Thank you for this article... no wonder his campaign never gets into specifics... they're incriminating!


    February 3, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  25. Viki

    One more time:
    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 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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