February 15th, 2008
01:32 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama hits Clinton on lobbyist money

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/15/art.obama0215.ap.jpg caption="Obama returned to the trail Friday on the attack."] (CNN) - Barack Obama accused opponent Hillary Clinton Friday of “defending Washington lobbyists” and special interests.

“Yesterday, Sen. Clinton unveiled her latest in a long line of slogans, which argues that she’s proposed solutions while others have not,” said Obama, who returned to the campaign trail in Wisconsin after a one-day break.

He said both candidates had good ideas but that Washington was a place “where good ideas go to die. They’re the victim of petty, partisan politics, point-scoring, and special interest influence that’s out of control. …

“You know, after defending Washington lobbyists as people who ‘represent real Americans’ at a debate in August, Sen. Clinton said yesterday that she would take them on as president,” said Obama, who alleged the New York senator had taken almost twice as much money from lobbyists as any other presidential candidate this cycle.

“That’s not being a part of the solutions business. That’s being a part of business-as-usual in Washington,” said Obama.

The two candidates have been locked in an increasingly bitter war of words as they battle for pledged delegates awarded in primary and caucus votes, and superdelegates, who can shift their allegiance at any time.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (254 Responses)
  1. eOpinion

    How 'tied in' to the preservation of Corporate Lobbyists are you when you accept a small proportion of your support from 'PAC money'-it's still from individuals(Obama)? Not much if any.

    Now how tied to sustaining the 'Lobbyists' that you claim you'll get rid of when a LARGE proportion of your campaign funds come from the same groups that financially supported Bush/Cheney (Clinton)?

    There's a huge difference. Stop saying that they are on the same level when there is no question that Clinton accepts huge amounts of financial support compared to Obama or even McCain. There's no comparison. Clinton, rightly so, stays clear of this argument.

    February 15, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. Michael, Minneapolis, MN

    I guess the most disappointing thing here is how people allow their own personal biases affect their opinions. It would seem logical to check things out for comments are made. Wouldn't you want accurate information BEFORE you dive in? Case in point: IRAQ WAR. How much more must we spend before it's accepted as a failure. I'm sorry, but our nation's economy, infrastructure, perception abroad, healthcare, and education system are erroding by the minute. Our "blank" checkbook needs to be diverted to these issues.

    On the pac money issue, it goes toward the public perception of being a "bought politician", which we know is a major epidemic throughout the history of politics. Obama simply has not accepted any pac money from lobbyists, period. He runs a "citizen" funded campaign and any money previously accepted from lobbyists have been returned. He's not in anyone's back pocket but the American people who enthusiastically support him. Tell that to ex-politicians accepting million dollar a year salaries from lobbyists for past favors. This has been a long time coming.

    The information is out there everyone. You owe it to yourself to check things out.

    February 15, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. TX 4 Hillary

    Who is Lobbyist and lobby for what?

    the people or organization lobby for human right is lobbyist, lobby about the global warming is lobbyist, for animal right is lobbyist, for Chindren or Woman's right is lobbyist, for nationwide service industry such as millions restaurant worker's right is also lobbyist,
    Lobby for prevent poverty is lobbyist,

    Lobby is legal. People have the right to have their voice to be heard.

    If Florida lobby for their vote is lobbyist, they do have the right to lobby.

    The question is what we lobby for ???

    Toy company lobby to asking fair competition from oversea's import,
    local farm industry lobby for a better policy so they can develop world market,
    Clean energy or green energy industry lobby for support so they can bring clean energy to American's homes reduce the depandent form foreigh oil.

    My dear friends, Obama just use very short words to misleading people, as most people they don't careful read Clinton's plan and idea, even Obama just copy and past the same to looked like he have something to say on the webpage or in the speech.

    short word is powerful and easy to remember such as" lobbyist"--that must be evil, "Yes, we can" how short and powerful and inspirational, or Just one word "change" plus one word "hope",

    Obama will steal this beautiful country by only few cheap words.

    I call few word candidate: "hope" "Change" "Yes, we can" "lobbyist"

    February 15, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. kathleen, illinois

    I would like to see "the new era" win and bring some dignity
    to the White house. Obama, Michelle and those two beautiful
    girls deserve to live in Our White House. I believe Obama when
    he says he wants to make changes.

    OBAMA 2008

    February 15, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Em

    Obama will not change much, by the description of the office he so wants he is not instrumental in making laws, he like us will be at the mercy of our elected HR and Senators. Yes, he can veto, but he can be overruled.

    So, Hillary takes money from lobby groups. I just have a hard time believing that all 100% of Obama's contributors are like me, just plain old people. Give me a break. I am getting tired of the change message, I want to hear how Obama purposes change? How will he do it? With what money? He has said nothing to entice me into the frenzy, how blind are so many people that they are not hearing anything and that is the message they are content with? Obama is a politician plain and simple and like the rest of those running for the office will say anything to get the title. As usual the entire group to chose from stinks. Is the option "none of the above" going to be available?

    February 15, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. Daydream Believers

    Hope without actions is just a daydream.
    Hillary has tested, long deliberated, carefully constructed plans, and the knowledge about working the levers of government to achieve those plans.
    Obamanista's try to understand, he's blowin smoke!

    February 15, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Iggy

    To Chris Austin TX ,

    Obama is not kidding. He is being honest and forthright with the American people. Also you have no facts to back up what you are eluding to. Your candidate Mrs. Clinton is the one not telling the truth to the American people. She want to take the elections away from the American people by using other means. That is bad politics she playing by dividing people. Black vs Latino and that is wrong. That is being a HYPCRIT on her part. She should let the people elect whom they want and certainly should not be by other dubious mean. Get it my friend. This is a democratic nation. It is not Kings nation nor one party state.

    Please remember to cast your vote for OBAMA since you live in TEXAS. Campaign for him will you. We need people like OBAMA. You don't want another 4more years of the Clintos Scandals and reign. Do you my friend?

    America is for GO OBAMA 2008 We with are with you up to the End.

    February 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. Cecil

    Hello America

    Would someone please make a comment about Obama's
    Detailed Economic Plans, Wall Street Journal this week.

    Bush, Bush, Clinton, Clinton, I hope Not!
    Obama 08, Change is good.

    Neither Obama nor Hillary are in office yet, real change is coming,
    Will see.
    Let them speak no more buzz words.

    February 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Randy - Denver

    What "solutions" does ms. clinton have? Is it from the same place as her "35 yearsw of experiance"? I have tried to stay mostly positive, even thrown in a little humor, during this campaign but I must say the distortions, misquotes, out of context quotes and out-right lies being thrown out by the Clintonista group have finally got me a bit annoyed.

    Lie # 1 Mr. Obama is all talk and no substance, He was out there with his health care plan before Ms. clinton, he has detailed his economic and foreign plans in plans ins specific details on his web site, just because his SPEECHS are about hope and empowering the people does not mean he does not have any plans, just because you are too lazy to READ for yourself doe not mean he has any plans.
    Lie #2 Mr. Obama is taking money from PACs. His listo of donators (>$200) is required, like all the candidates, to be open for review. GUESS WHAT NO PACs are listed! Ms. Clinton has MANY listed so he is not distorting the truth you are just being too lazy to go look. Whether you can believe it or understand it the majority of his money has been coming from small donors, LOTS of us!
    Lie #3 Ms. Clinton has "more experiance" if you look soley at the time they have served in the Senate this is true, however, if you look at the time they have spent as a Representative this is a lie. If you look at the time they have spent in public service, this is a lie, if all you are looking at is amount of time they have worked this also a lie , she is older than him, but spending time as a spouse of a public servant is not credited as time by any right thinking person, and he has more time earing a paycheck than she does.
    Lie #4 Ms. Clinton's remarks that Florida's & Michigan's voters are being disenfranchised by the DNC – She agreed prior to the election that those votes would not be counted if the states did not follow the rules, SAME AS ALL THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES. The lie that somehow these people lost their right to vote is wrong, the selcetion process for a candidate is NOT guarunteed by ANYTHING the DNC could just appoint someone to represent them, same as the RNC or any other party, they make the rules on how the candidate is selected.
    Lie #5 Mr. Obama is trying to change the rule on superdelegates, nope he is jsut trying to get the delegates to vote for him, the delegates do NOT have to vote as they say they will early in the race (see the superdelegates changing votes now) he is just saying that they should vote the way the majority of the voters voted. It is not a rule change just a request to the superdelegates to support the rank and file of the party (you regerstered dems) that the party leadership.
    I would continue but I think you get the point, Ms. Clinton's campaign is based on lies and distortions, she expected to have a cakewalk and now has "her panties in a wad" because she is not getting it. She plays it up that she is a woman and anyone who votes against her is sexist, the truth of the matter is people who do the research, look into the facts, vote for someone else because she is a liar and a remanent of the old win at any cost in it for themselves politician, not because she is a woman!

    February 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Ted

    I can hardly wait for the next campaign slogan out of Hillary Clinton's campaign. At a certain point, though, you have to look at the facts. A year ago, she was the "inevitable" nominee, with a huge set of advantages. Included among her advantages is, presumably, the fact that she has had much more "experience" with campaigns than Barack Obama, and that her "experience" translates into good judgment and execution. Except, guess what? She appointed the wrong people to key positions in her campaign, she's had more twists and turns in her strategy and message than a rattlesnake on hot coals, and she's gone from "inevitable" to trailing in elected delegates, states, and popular vote.

    Thankfully, the voters are realizing that Barack Obama not only is a powerful speaker, but he has great judgment, hires exceptional people, and executes flawlessly. I'm hoping and praying for the day when this unifying, inspiring, and pragmatic leader moves into the White House!

    February 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. TheLeftNut

    "Ty" wrote: there maybe links between the war and the lobbyists for the defense industry.

    What do you mean "maybe". That's all this war is about...$$$.

    "Mission Accomplished" meant "We started a war that is a bottomless pit of money for the industrial war complex and will be for the next 100 years"

    What corporation did Cheney from? All together now...


    What is Blackwater? All together now...


    Where's my "The END is Near!" sign? It's around here somewhere...

    February 15, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Bruce

    wake up people! They are all liars or they wouldn't be in the position that they are in. Deciding on who the next president is all about subtraction. Who is ready to lead. Let's get real, they are all covering ALOT up!

    February 15, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. pd

    By the way, I like Willie Brown's point about the Superdelegates. Their purpose is to make sure that the Democratic nominee really represents the Democrats. All the open primaries that have let Independents and Republicans vote in our elections and determine our candidate, should be counter-balanced with a truly Democratic (big D folks) voice, which is what is the role of the super-delegages.

    February 15, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. True Outsiders and Believers

    We have been seen too much of this dirty political game. We don't want to discuss this.

    We are calling all history professionals who are spiritual and have keen eyes to stand up to tell people what's going on in this country.

    Every day and every night we are going to call GOD's righteousness to save America!!!!!

    February 15, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |


    February 15, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. Republican '08

    Its to the point now where I cringe every time I hear Obama say "change".

    Seriously, people, faze out the rhetoric. Realize he has very little experience, and that yes, experience does matter. One person can't simply "change" Washington with their idealism. It's extremely naive of him to think otherwise.

    February 15, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Rhetoric and Lies

    Rhetoric and Lies

    Talk is cheep Mr. Obama, and your Rhetoric and vagaries are tantamount to lies. You don't give even one specific example, against Clinton.

    This commentary is rich coming from You Mr. Obama. The very same Mr. Obama who sold the Illinois people out to be used as a nuclear dumping ground, in exchange for you receiving $200,000 from the nuclear energy company Exelon.

    Count the zero's, that's two hundred thousand dollars, of 'change'!

    Mr. Obama you are a sham.

    I'm letting the people of America know that you have no clothes Mr. Emperor! Not a stitch!

    There is no 'O' in 'change'!

    February 15, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Kimberly

    Wow!!! all of this off of one comment. Come on America we should be better then this by now.

    On a real note, suppose Obama wins and makes Hillary his Vice President or Hillary wins and makes Obama her Vice president? What am I trying to say? I am trying to say stop all the bickering back and fourth and Unite as an American people. Why do you think the media is doing the same thing? Because the media believes this is what the people want. This is not a Jerry Springer show.
    If you look at the two canidates and what they want for this country they are not to far apart. It comes down to whom you can trust to make the change.

    Just get out and vote, and make your vote count!!!!

    Tired of the blame game!!

    February 15, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Prakash

    That was a good one and its true...we need change and not the same old story!

    Obama a self made man!!

    February 15, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Stephen

    If Obama can't take special interest's money one day, then vote against them the next, then maybe he's in the wrong business

    February 15, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. Lisa

    Obama has become a little high and mighty on himself. The only business as usual he wants is the business according to him. When it benefits him, he'll do something different. He took special interest money. He took money from contributors that are a bit shady in his campaigns as well. It's a bit hypocritical for him to now charge Clinton with doing exactly what he's done in his past. Dig deeper people. There's a whole lot about Obama you may not like and it's about to come out when the Republicans get ahold of him.

    February 15, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. An Independent Grateful for Term Limits

    Face it....any politician that has been around for any time at all gets "bought out" to a certain extent. Maye to what extent is the real issue. Hillary sure can't be pointing fingers.

    It seems no one can run a campaign without millions and millions of dollars. Just think how much money Hillary started out with in her war chest. If I'm remembering correclty she broke all records at the beginning of her campaign. She had been working on her Presidential campaign even before Bill left office 7 years ago.

    Our founding fathers knew what they were doing. That's why Bill Clinton should not be allowed to serve his third term. Everyone knows Hillary and Bill sold their souls to special interest and lobbists years ago.

    February 15, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Dara

    Obama, it is worth noting, received $708,000 from medical and insurance interests between 2001 and 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His wife Michelle, a fellow Harvard Law graduate, is a Vice President for Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals, a position that paid her $273, 618 in 2006. For what it's worth, she also received $51,200 for attending a few board meetings of TreeHouse Foods, a giant firm where she was made a director after Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate.

    One day after Obama denounced Big Money control of U.S. politics in Iowa City, Iowa, the Los Angeles Times reported that Obama "raised more than $1 million in the first three months of his presidential campaign from law firms and companies that have major lobbying operations in the nation's capital." Obama has also received a combined $170,000 so far this year from financial giants Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, who together spent $4.6 million on federal lobbying in 2006.

    "Obama received more than two-thirds (68 percent) of his first quarter 2007 fundraising total ‘from donations of $1000 or more.'"

    The Los Angeles Times also reported that Obama received more than two-thirds (68 percent) of his first quarter 2007 fundraising total "from donations of $1000 or more." Obama has "played up populist themes of [campaign finance] reform," trumpeting his "large number of small donations" and claiming (in the Senator's words) to be "launch[ing]a fundraising drive that isn't about dollars.". But his astonishing first-quarter campaign finance haul of $25.7 million included $17.5 million from "big donors" ($1000 and up) – a sum higher than the much more genuinely populist and remarkably pro-labor John Edwards' total take ($14 million) from all donors.

    According to Chicago Sun Times columnist Lynn Sweet, "Obama talks about transforming politics and touts the donations of ‘ordinary' people to his campaign, a network of more than 100 elite Democratic ‘bundlers' is raising millions of dollars for his White House bid. The Obama campaign prefers the emphasis be on the army of small donors who are giving – and raising – money for Obama. In truth, though, there are two parallel narratives – and the other is that Obama is also heavily reliant on wealthy and well-connected Democrats."

    February 15, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Tom in Arlington

    This comment only applies to the bottom 50% of posters. But what service do you think you do to your candidate when you misspell falsehoods in all caps? It is akin to those who put candidate bumper stickers on their car and turn left into oncoming traffic (Yes, I have seen this more than once).

    The problem with America isn't Bush, Clinton, etc...its that people treat votes like sports. They root their favorites with reckless ignorance. There are valid reasons to support each candidate, but those seem to get little airtime amongst the American public.

    So instead of wasting your time running your mouths about something to which you are ignorant. Do some time to actually research. That way you wont do a disservice to your candidate. And for the love of God, get rid of the bumper stickers until you learn how to operate a car.

    February 15, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. sandy

    I will be soooooo glad when this primary/nomination thing is finally decided...I hope that all of us who claim to be Democrats are able to unite behind the one candidate that will be "selected" by the DNC....
    This is a very MATURE decision that Dean and the DNC will have to make when they PICK who will run against McCain...
    Its about returning the presidency to the Democratcs, not about stroking the egos of any particular candidate(or their supporters).....
    Hillary and Barack...be MATURE and accept what is BEST for the party...
    Us supporters can shed a quick tear / cuss if we need to ( if our candidate doesnt get selected)....shake it off.........then go to the poll in Novemeber and vote for the candidate representing the Democratic party.

    February 15, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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