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. independent

    kate, thanks for the intelligent post. i am glad that not all people are so quick to label candidates as a "slime ball" but instead make an effort to think critically. and charlotte, looks like you're still drinking the hatorade. will from CA makes a good point – why is there no coverage about those shady clinton deals? that's ridiculous – if anything it looks like the media coverage is slanted toward clinton simply because they don't publicize all the nasty stuff that the clintons have done a nice job covering up. and it looks like clinton has another media puppet in the NYT. seems like the NYT are trying to cover their rears by doing whatever possible to make sure obama doesn't win. if obama comes from way behind to win, it would sure make the NYT look quite silly and subsequently it would have little credibility for the remainder of the election season.

    February 3, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. alto

    The other night at my book club meeting I whispered to my neighbor that I'd started to think of Obama as the Anti-Christ (I'm not even sure what this term really means other than a charismatic figure that sets in motion demonic events.) She looked wide-eyed and replied – "You know, I've been thinking the same thing. If you google "Obama – the anti-christ", you find lots of references. Where is this coming from? I have no idea how this thought entered my consciousness.

    February 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  3. bott

    Now let him explain that his record was twisted.

    He continue to say he does not collect money from washington lobbyists. Well its certain, he gets money from lobbyists from 50 states.

    Why did'nt this make an headline news? Is'nt the media bias about this election. They are bend about Choking Obama down our throat. We will NOT fall for this.

    I'm sure there many skeletons waiting to be unveil.

    Surely for me, Obama is out of the picture.

    Hillary is better.

    February 3, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  4. Martin

    With all the issues on the table, this one is very minor. I don't expect Obama to be perfect. He is still the best candidate in my opinion. I don't want to begin to get into all the contradictions, lies, etc. that the Clintons have on record...

    Obama '08

    February 3, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. dash

    more to defend Mr. Obama..Hope people are listening..

    February 3, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  6. Murry

    Well the NY Times is rather biased aren't they?
    CNN, can you elaborate on this news item from LA Times please?
    "Breaking News: Pro-Clinton push poll erupts in California"
    Let's keep the playing field even 🙂

    February 3, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  7. jay

    I knew it. This guy Barack is a phoney. He stutters and mumbles everytime. I think because he lies. God bless American if he wins. Scary!

    February 3, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  8. NO OBAMA

    At least most here agree, Obama is a NO vote! He tells half-twisted truths just like most of the others. And, I have yet to hear him speak a full (unrehearsed) sentence without an umm......or ahhh....Flip/floppy and wishy/washy! Says just what the audience wants to hear then on to the next group. I must agree with many on this post, CNN and the media are pro-Obama. They are unfair in their coverage and articles. Poor John Edwards hardly got any airtime, and Hillary's airtime is mostly about Bill... in an unfavorable way. HILLARY 2008!

    February 3, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. greg

    No matter, Obama is way cleaner than the Clintons! Why won't Hillary disclose her papers on healthcare? Any shady deals in there? No one is clean–it's politics, we just have to pick the one with the most honesty and integrity. That aint Hillary!

    February 3, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. Dem all the way

    This is just the beginning I think. Obama is a fresh face and new to all of us. We don't know as much as we should about him and the GOP will find out EVERYTHING in the general.

    Stick with HILLARY- at least we know everything and she's a FIGHTER!

    February 4, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  11. maxine

    Research again people, dig a little deeper into the story the newspaper (who is supporting Hillary) is pushing. Get the whole story not just the pieces they want to give you. And again, I will say with the Clintons we never had lies......never......we never had issues with their stories......they were an open book. How many people went to jail for them, to safe their behinds.....Research!!!!!!!

    February 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. beth

    Clinton/Edwards 2008

    February 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  13. Against the Cult

    greg, Hillary will be disclosing all her papers in the next few days. Its in the news, everything will be open, down to her white house schedules.

    February 4, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  14. Values voter

    I am a Democratc that votes my values. I am shocked at what I have read. I can't believe how gullible I am. Is this true?

    February 4, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  15. Cari

    NY Times is an internationally respected news source. Saying they change news so Clinton wins is a stretch and makes you all look desperate – Obama wouldn't even want your lunacy. That said, I'm happy other people are thinking and reading ALL the articles (pro and con) about the candidates. I've done my homework and am choosing Hillary (I had been leaning to Edwards) – I need Health care to change and she is the only one who gets it. I hope all you Dems out there choose to VOTE regardless of your candidate....what an amazing choice we have!!!

    February 4, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  16. Dem all the way

    This is just the beginning I think. Obama is a fresh face and new to all of us. We don't know as much as we should about him and the GOP will find out EVERYTHING in the general.

    Stick with HILLARY- at least we know everything and she's a FIGHTER!

    February 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  17. Mitt

    Wait a minute

    I thought the guy covers up well .
    That must be a leak accident !

    February 4, 2008 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  18. James Recto

    OBAMA can spin OPRAH, SHRIVER, KENNEDYs, LA Times heads but not the rests of US. If OPRAH supports someone we know will LIE to get what he wants,
    then should we trust OPRAH that she is genuine about helping the other people?
    Remember that OPRAH is the same woman who owns that exclusive school in Africa which was involved in a sickening children exploitation charges, who was entrusted by poor families with their children to have a better future but their future is now in peril because of what had happened in that school. OPRAH's PLAN DESTROYED LIVES OF INNOCENT CHILDREN IN AFRICA SO THAT TELLS YOU ABOUT OBAMA...THEY SAY, TELL ME WHO YOU HANG OUT WITH AND I WILL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE!

    February 4, 2008 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  19. James

    CLINTON/EDWARDS 2008

    February 4, 2008 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  20. AnaHadWolves

    Nobama...noway. 'Nuff said. And, I'm a Democrat.

    February 4, 2008 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  21. Ann Aloha Independent Thinking, PA

    $227,000.00 and counting. How many more will now come out of the woodwork?
    So much for "It's better give than to recieve" or maybe it was Exelon that gave, Senator Obama recieved and then Illinois had to give to BOTH...and is less safe from notification of leaks or spills.
    TO BE CONTINUED

    February 4, 2008 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  22. BCarlisle, San Ramon CA

    I have been on Hillary's side ever since she said she was running. This issue the NYT brought up, being big or small, it is a issues and considering he has only been in the Senate for two years, it doesn't look good. I went and saw Hillary on Friday night in San Jose. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had. She spoke so clearly, on health care, war, economy ect. She really lined out her health care plan as she did in the Debate last Thursday. Obama only talks about "Change" and "Hope", well Listen to Hillary, her substance is change and hope. Please American's VOTE for Hillary on Tuesday. She has the know how to run this country from day 1.

    February 4, 2008 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  23. charlotte

    Yes, we can lie, yes we can

    February 4, 2008 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  24. Luis

    Amazing what you find when you don't believe the hype and do the research...........typical .

    Vote GOP

    February 4, 2008 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  25. The Observer

    The man is a liar of the first degree – he has all the qualities of a used-car salesman.

    February 4, 2008 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
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