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. marge

    Chris Austin TX February 15th, 2008 12:17 pm ET

    Obama is kidding right? He too takes money from Lobbyist. He says so with the (Hillary takes twice as much) comment. So Lobbyists donate to the campaign. Obama's campaign has benefitted from it, as well as Edwards, McCain, Romney, and Clinton. All of them have been given Lobbyist money. Obama doesn't state he too has taken money from Lobbyist. At least Clinton came up with (They are Lobbyist who represent the voters). I have yet to hear Obama's excuse as to why and what Lobbyist he has been funded with. Obama needs to stop being a hypocrit, it's getting old".

    Enlighten us please!!! What Lobbyist are funding the Obama campaign.
    What's getting old is people posting statements they can"t prove!!!!!
    Obama's campaign is being funded by "we the people"

    February 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. samuel

    Ring Ring Ring............Hear oh Nation Hear oh land the hour has come and this is what i call the Hour of now.I saw a lot of people criticizing Obama from all corner.Yes he need those critics to make him more stronger and more popurlar.If America wants to believe it or not,Obama is the next president of United States Of America.The American Dream which Martin Luther preached decades ago is here.America is changing and nobody will stop the tide,it is either you join or you will be blown away by the tide.PERIOD

    February 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. pf

    Someone please tell me what experience Hillary is claiming to have. She's been a senator for a few years, but what else is she referring to? Living in the Whitehouse doesn't count. There's a groundskeeper who's been at the Whitehouse for several presidencies, but I'm not going to vote for him.

    Go Obama! Barack to the Future!

    February 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. RGV for Hillary!!!!!

    Will Obama ever talk about solutions? All he does is preach and say we need to come together. Well how is uniting America going to get things done? Why can't Obama supporters see that he NEVER talks about solutions? He is just sweet talking is way through this election. Like Hillary says, "We need a reality check!" Hillary has solutions, Obama has poetry. It is that simple. Do you want to hear solutions or a nice vague speech about change?


    February 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Alice

    At least Obama had the good sense to plagiarize Hillary's words on his Website.......

    February 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Monte Brown

    Obama takes lobbyist money, too. He is still shooting his chops about lobbyist? Knock it off, Obama. This guy has no real plans, just a lot of ying yang.

    February 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Kag

    As I understand it, lobbyists have to be registered – Obama has not taken money from registered lobbyists. Remeber registered lobbyists get their money from the companies/interests they represent wheras ordinary folks get their money from their paychecks.

    For example – if I am a registered lobbyist representing Glaxo then any donation I make as a lobbyist will be Glaxo money. If Glaxo decides to support Hillary then the I will donate Glaxo money to Hillary but I as an individual can make my own donation out of own pocket to my candidate of choice. What Obama is saying is, he has not taken money from registered lobbyists but he has taken money from individuals who may or may not be lobbyists and thus has has only taken money when the individuals have paid from their own pocket.

    February 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Dee

    Here ya go again : Rezko ! If you can copy "Clinton, Rezko" to an Internet search , you'll find ALL the amazing information ! It's also amazing that Hillary had $5 million in available cash !! I didn't think senators got paid that much!

    February 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Luke

    I do agree that Obama now says he took money from lobbyists with that "double the money" comment, but lets get real, the only way stuff gets done in Washington is because we work with lobbyists to get it done. Sad, but it's true, and Obama would be a fool if he refuse to have anything to do with them.

    February 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Jill

    I believe strongly in women's rights and all civil rights for all citizens. However, I think a vote for Hillary would set back women's rights rather than propel it. She is too inseparable from her despicable husband. She does not stand alone like a true woman should. And at the end of the day his candidacy for president did not need HIllary nearly half as much as she needs him. I loved when Geraldine Ferraro ran for VP, I wish there were more women like her! 1984 was too long ago and it saddens me. We need another credible woman candidate! I have always voted for a woman when I had the chance, but I believed they were all strong, independent women. Hillary is tough, I will give her that. But I do not believe her to be strong or independent. I will be voting for Barack on Tuesday. Thank you.

    February 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Cody

    As far as I know, he hasn't been funding his campaign from lobbyist donations. That is what I understood his claim (on multiple occasions) to be. I thought that is what all of the hubbub about his campaign style was about.
    As for the Obama "empty promises" thing, I'll agree that he issues a lot of rhetoric on the campaign trail, but it is NOT true that he doesn't put forth ideas. If you read his Web site it is just as meaty as Clinton's is. During the debates he has shown a willingness to talk specifics. This Obama is all rhetoric thing is just an empty meme. People would repeat it whether it was true or not.

    February 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Adam

    Let's make this easy. If you donate on barackobama.com, you have to check a box confirming that "This contribution is not made from the funds of an individual registered as a federal lobbyist or a foreign agent, or an entity that is a federally registered lobbying firm or foreign agent."

    John Edwards had the same thing on his donation site.

    Hillary does not.

    One more thing ... Jo Oklahoma. Ted Kennedy didnt vote for the war. Neither did 27 Dems and 1 Repub. (Chafee), who is backing Obama. Those Dems who voted for it did so either because they are hawks (Lieberman) or because it was the politically safe play at the time (Kerry, Edwards, Clinton). Obama was an aspiring politician who did the unpopular thing and stood up and spoke up agains the war. Those are facts. Now get back to your bickering, folks.

    February 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. JK Powell

    Abby, words inspire people to get solutions and results.

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Jacques, Atlanta

    I can not beleive what I am reading. First and foremost, Obama is correct in stating that he has not received a dime from lobbyist. REZKO in which he did business for funded his campaign and when he found out, Senator Obama gave that $80,000.00 to charity!! People get your facts right! Hillary claims 35 years of experience, but I have to ask the question, doing what?? Obama has more senatorial experience then she does. It's there for the public view. He words mean that he is ready for change and you know what, so am I!!! All people of all races have been dealt a blow through the first Clinton Administration and both the two Bush Administrations. We need something different and something worth fighting for. We the people are the government, so stop making ignorant comments and keep an open mind and vote your belief.

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. Shepherd

    I still love seeing all the Clinton sheep continuing to line up. How's the shearing going?

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. RA

    I am amazed at the capacity for people to jump to conclusions without evidence when the actual evidence is so easy to find.

    Mani (and others), it's been pointed out to you over and over that you can see a list of Obama's donors on the web. You may think 'he must be taking lobbyist money' because you just figure everyone must be, but you can actually find out for sure. Just go look!

    Martin, you do know how to read a web site, right? I mean, you're here. So do you think that Obama has no plans just because the meanstream media doesn't tell you what they are? Early in his campaign, Obama got beat up by the media for being to detailed about his plans in his speeches. (They called him 'too professorial'.) So he's backed off and speaks about ideas now, but the plans are there for you to read. Just go to his web site for the details. In fact, both candidates have detailed plans on their web sites. If you can't be bothered clicking though to read them, then at least don't complain that they don't exist.

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Kathryn Annapolis, MD

    Barack Obama repeatedly says he doesn't take money from NATIONAL lobbyists. He does, however, take money from STATE lobbyists.

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Shane NY

    Hillary failed trying to get universal heatlhcare the first time and her major accomplishment for child healthcare was during her husband's presidency. If she gets nominated I feel the republican party will be unified because they really can't stand her. We need someone to unify the country. We need the feeling of hope in the prospect of a recession(I think we are already in recession). Our economy is based on trust in the government and our belief in the strength of the dollar. Hillary praised nafta(free trade) but some economists feel it is one of the reasons our dollar is weak. China’s trade surplus reached $177.5bn (£118.7bn) and our trade deficit is reaching an all-time high of $214bn. It's eerie similar. I feel that Obama gives us the trust we need in a time where critical decisions are needed to point our government in the right direction. Read a little of this and you might say "Obama knows what he is talking about and he seems to have real solutions".

    At the Tax Policy Center in September 2007, he blamed special interests for distorting the U.S. tax code. "We are taxing income from work at nearly twice the level that we're taxing gains for investors," Obama said. "We've lost the balance between work and wealth."[100] His plan would eliminate taxes for senior citizens with incomes of less than $50,000 a year, repeal tax cuts said to favor the wealthy, close corporate tax loopholes and restrict offshore tax havens, and simplify filing of income tax returns by pre-filling wage and bank information already collected by the IRS.[101] Announcing his presidential campaign's energy plan in October 2007, Obama said: "Businesses don’t own the sky, the public does, and if we want them to stop polluting it, we have to put a price on all pollution." He proposed a cap and trade auction system to restrict carbon emissions and a 10 year program of investments in new energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil.[102]

    Obama was an early critic of Bush administration policies on Iraq.[103] On October 2, 2002, the day Bush and Congress agreed on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War,[104] Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally in Federal Plaza,[105] saying:

    I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.[106]

    On March 17, 2003, the day Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq before the U.S. invasion of Iraq,[107] Obama addressed the largest Chicago anti-Iraq War rally to date in Daley Plaza and told the crowd "It's not too late" to stop the war, though many demonstrators conceded that war appeared inevitable.[108]

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. Fher

    he has only taking money from rezko, and rezko gave a piece of land.

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. fairplay

    Come On CNN, tell the whole story about how
    the Super Delegates are being out right purchased by Obama.
    If he dislikes lobbist so much why is his campaign acting like a lobbist.
    ((Obama's political action committee has doled out more than $694,000 to superdelegates since 2005, the study found, and of the 81 who had announced their support for Obama, 34 had received donations totaling $228,000.))
    Boston Globe 2/14/08

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Vivian

    I have a problem with O bam bam -- He talks alot of talk - not once have I heard in the last two debates what his plan is - and how will he do it. I'm sick and tired of his long speeches about yes we can. What about what he's going to do? O bam bam only has two years in the senate. Compare the length of service to Hillary's. No way will I vote for someone who have not once visit Iraq and Iran to see the problems our nation is in. All talk!!!!!!

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Si Se Puede Texas

    Also, what are Hillary's reuslt. Please someone dig up some facts for her 6 years in office....Oooh yeah, she has only 3 years of US senate service more than Obama. But Obama has about 4 year more of State Senate experience.

    HELLOOOOO...Hillary is just plansss....no execution!!!!

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Scott, IL

    It has been noted in studies that people tend to vote with their "gut" more than anything else. It seems the CNN readers are quick to make superficial judgements in this veign. It is easier to make blanket unfounded statements about the candidate that doesn't "feel" right (likely deep seeded racist tendencies) than to take the time to research what is really going on behind the scenes. Anyone who DOES take the time knows very well what Clinton's political history consists of, as well as Obama's. People posting statements such as "this guy is a joke"? Let's get real here, Obama has weaknesses like any candidate will, but his campaign is transparent, you cannot fault him for being a typical politician, that arguement just doesn't hold water.

    February 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Jed from Chico, CA

    It's very disappointing to see how visceral the attacks from the Hillary camp have become. These are the very same attacks I would expect from the GOP machine - Obama is a hippocrite, Obama is a liar, Obama took money from slumlords, Obama is all talk giving speeches, not solutions.

    I think it is very clear from several sources - not just obama's website but from independent analysts like the NYT, politico and others that the following statements are true:

    – Obama has NOT taken money from lobbyists. Most of his campaign contributions are rather smallish amounts from individuals.

    – Hillary HAS taken money from PACs, and rather a lot of it. Much of it could have spent more effectively, but that's beside the point.

    – Yes. Early in his campaign Obama accepted money from Rezco and a PAC disguised and something else. Those monies were donated (so, it's a wash - like he never even had it)

    – Several important and high profile Democratic persons have backed each candidate. It is understood that each of them may 'want something' out of it after the election. Indeed, whether it be Clinton or Obama many of their supporters will end up with important positions within the White House - that's just a natural part of politics.

    – Yes. A lot of Obama's speeches are inspirational and focus on general concepts rather than details. It's what he's good at and frankly that's what people like - don't bore me with the details. However, that DOES NOT mean he doesn't have SPECIFIC itemized solutions to National Security, Economic stimulus, Health Care, Immigration or any other opportunity facing the American people. The difference is that is what Hillary talks about - this may be part of the reason she is losing the popular vote - Many voters vote with warm fuzzies and not cold hard facts.

    Democrats need to STOP this pointless bickering based on knee jerk reactions to whatever your candidates machine is churning out that day. Both candidtates will be a strong president for this country but we need to stop the divisive rhetoric and debate the facts in a civilized manner.

    February 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Lavera, Newark, New Jersey

    in the beginning i was for hilary but later convince through doubts, for number, when she was asked about signing in agreement with Bush regarding the iraq, she when around the corner, up hills and down hills to prove she was right, and when she was ask, "so you are saying that you were naive when sign agreement etc." she took everyone around the same corner, up and down the same hill again, this every one sees and should see is that if she becomes President of the United States, she will not admit that she wrong, would go all out of her way to try to convince the people she is right or just simply blame it on someone else, who will that some be you, me, ?

    February 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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