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Sweet Democratic debate special. Gravel hits Obama on special interest money. Report 4.

| 9 Comments


WASHINGTON—First swipe at a front-runner came from former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Ak.) to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Obama, a few minutes earlier mentioned he does not take money from political action committees and lobbyists. (He did for his Senate warchests. He stopped when he launched his presidential bid in February.)

GRAVEL: I wouldn't use either word (OFF-MIKE) Zach asked about
change. You're not going to see any change when these people get
elected.

We were asked about -- that we're united.


GRAVEL: We're not united. I'm not united on many of their
views. And I want to take on Barack Obama for a minute, who said he
doesn't take money from lobbyists. Well, he has 134 bundlers. Now,
what does he think that is?

And, besides that, he has received money from a Robert Wolf, the
head of the USB (sic) bank in the United States, who raised $195,000
-- from this bank -- wait a second -- who has lobbyists in
Washington...

COOPER: Your time is up.

GRAVEL: ... and it's a foreign-owned bank.

COOPER: Senator Obama, I'm going to have to let you respond.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

Well, the fact is I don't take PAC money and I don't take
lobbyists' money.

And the bundlers -- the reason you know who is raising money for
me, Mike, is because I have pushed through a law this past session to
disclose that.

And that's the kind of leadership that I've shown in the Senate.
That's the kind of leadership that I showed when I was a state
legislator. And that's the kind of leadership that I'll show as
president of the United States.

GRAVEL: Wait a minute...

I’ll have to sort this out later….


*Here’s the question submitted by Republican National Committee chairman Robert M. “Mike” Dunca

9 Comments

Gravel's comments are out-of-the-blue and barely comprehensible. Mr. Wolf, a Democratic fundraiser in his free time, is the Chief Operating Officer of UBS. UBS, like all investment banks, has connections in Washington, including lobbyists. I am unsure how Mr. Wolf (a "Kerry '04 fundraiser", according to Time Magazine, July 9, 2007) can be considered to be a lobbyist. Wolf has given money to Obama, Hillary Clinton, Dick Durbin, and the DSCC, all in 2007. In the past he's contributed to John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Chris Dodd, among many others. Mr. Wolf is a generous donor to the Democratic party. Now because his employer may or may not employ lobbyists, Obama shouldn't take his money? What major companies *don't* employ lobbyists in Washington, directly or indirectly through industry associations? Gravel's charges are ludicrous.

but, Obama got him good. shut him up.

What's the distinction between a "lobbyist" or the COO of a huge multinational investment bank? What does the COO of a huge multinational investment bank depend on to achieve his definition of success? Whatever it is...I doubt it's what's most likely to solve the impending energy crisis, or to avert environmental catastrophe, or to address the issues of concentrated wealth and pervasive poverty at home and all around the world. So, while Obama and his mainstream acolytes will confidently reject Gravel's assertions and call his charges "ludicrous," the fact remains that we should all take a deeper look at where the bulk of Obama's money is coming from. And we should ask ourselves if there is any reason to believe that the people who are "bundling" for Obama are really pushing for the sort of wholesale change that is necessary in order to effectively address the many concerns facing this country. I doubt it. Remember, the "bundlers" are the same folks who have had the lion's share of the power all along. And yet we are where we are today...

Obama's response to Gravel was laughable. Instead of defending where the money came from, he bragged that he supported campaign finance visibility. Maybe he thought no one would actually look?

Personally, I hope the bloggers dig into *all* the contributions to *all* the candidates. Because you know the mainstream media never will.

Check out my link below, it's to OpenSecrets.org, where *you* can see exactly who contributed to each of the candidates. You'll be shocked to see that Clinton and Obama have several contributors that have given more than the legal limit. And several companies with contributions totaling in excess of $100,000. And those aren't even the "bundled" contributions.

Gravel is actually correct and Obama is being sly with his comments about not receiving money from PACs and lobbiests. What a liar!!! In actuality what happens is that the money exchanges hands to third parties who in turn give it to Obama- he is quite aware where this money comes from and will definitely influence his politics.

I fail to see how Gravel was imcomprehensible. He was quite articulate and is correct. Special interests are running Washington and are destroying our freedoms. If nobody is aware, you all should be informed that new legislation is bought by the lobby groups in Washington. Since 2002, the amount of lobbiests in D.C. has grown to 35,000 and is still growing. Do the math, you will see that there are at 15-20 lobbiests per Congressman and it does not matter if whether you are a Democrat or Republican, the lobbies somehow are able to influence their interests regardless of party- not the people's interest.

I'm afraid Obama's strident responses just make him look like the biggest hypocrite on the stage, to anyone who isn't bowled over by big, bold, empty campaign promises. Of course he takes money from unseemly special interests: that's the only way to win the funding game.

Then, to talk about national interest above special interest, and then not mention the NEA during his education talking points is embarrassing. That kind of thing will get him skewered in the general election, when the opponent and moderator do not share 95% of his positions.

Can someone explain why the Dems don't put up a winning ticket of Biden/Dodd?

On the issue of "money interests" and politicians this is all I need to know: which candidates have stated emphatically they will work to pass "campaign finance reform" in America? Realistically speaking nothing will change until that happens. Is John McCain the only candidate who considers this issue important enough to do something about it?


A bundler website for the 2008 Presidential was launched today by Public Citizen: www.WhiteHouseForSale.org. People can do some serious digging into the bundlers of the candidates and the candidates' disclosure practices.

PLEASE ! someone tell me. explain me /answer me.
From this Obama's explanation,
Whats difference between PAC money or lobbyists' money and "bundlers" ???
whats bundlers? what are THEY?
IF Obama takes the new oval office DO THEY("the bundlers") get any job from white house??

cf:
OBAMA: Absolutely.
Well, the fact is I don't take PAC money and I don't take
lobbyists' money.
And the bundlers -- the reason you know who is raising money for
me, Mike, is because I have pushed through a law this past session to
disclose that.
And that's the kind of leadership that I've shown in the Senate.
That's the kind of leadership that I showed when I was a state
legislator. And that's the kind of leadership that I'll show as
president of the United States.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 23, 2007 7:10 PM.

Sweet Democratic debate special. Clinton calls herself "modern progressive." Report 3. was the previous entry in this blog.

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