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Axelrod says will not revise Obama oil ad despite Clinton complaints.


MALVERN, PA.—The Clinton campaign is complaining about an Obama ad where Obama touts that he does not take money from oil companies. But I talked to Obama top strategist David Axelrod a short time ago here and he said he has no plans to change it.

The ad has been criticized from as misleading because no federal candidate—for President, House or Senate can take money from corporations and corporate political action committees get their money mostly from employees.LINK

“I have a different view of that,” Axelrod said. He said he was right because Obama does not take money from political action committees. “I think it was accurate the way it was,” Axelrod said when I asked if he would be revising the oil ad.

“We find the statement misleading,” concludes
•Obama has accepted more than $213,000 from individuals who work for companies in the oil and gas industry and their spouses.
•Two of Obama's bundlers are top executives at oil companies and are listed on his Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the presidential hopeful.

Later today, the Clinton team will hold a conference call to unveil a radio spot they cut to respond to the Obama oil spot where he says, “I don’t take money from oil companies."

“As Senator Obama returns to Pennsylvania today, questions remain on why Senator Obama aired misleading television ads claiming he doesn’t take money from oil companies,” the Clinton campaign said in a statement. “ In response to his continued misleading rhetoric, the Clinton campaign will hold a conference call today to discuss Senator Obama’s troubling pattern of saying one thing and doing another and announce it is airing a new radio ad in response to Obama’s discredited television ad.

On the call will be T.J. Rooney, Pennsylvania State Democratic Party Chairman; Howard Wolfson, National Communications Director and Mark Nevins, Pennsylvania Communications Director

Almost all the money that goes into a corporate political action committee comes from the employees of the company. Employees also give individual donations. Often—not always—one can see patterns in individual giving from people who work at the same company giving on or about the same time. says the difference between a PAC donation and individual contributions.

“We'd say the Obama campaign is trying to create a distinction without very much of a practical difference. Political action committee funds are pooled contributions from a company's or an organization's individual employees or members; corporate lobbyists often have a big say as to where a PAC's donations go. But a PAC can give no more than $5,000 per candidate, per election. We're not sure how a $5,000 contribution from, say, Chevron's PAC would have more influence on a candidate than, for example, the $9,500 Obama has received from Chevron employees giving money individually.

“In addition, two oil industry executives are bundling money for Obama – drumming up contributions from individuals and turning them over to the campaign. George Kaiser, the chairman of Oklahoma-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co., ranks 68th on the Forbes list of world billionaires. He's listed on Obama's Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the candidate. Robert Cavnar is president and CEO of Milagro Exploration LLC, an oil exploration and production company. He's named as a bundler in the same category as Kaiser.


I work in the financial industry. When I donate, I have to state my company name (everyone does). Results are then reported by company. If I donate $100 to Obama, it does NOT mean that the financial industry or my company or a PAC or a whatever is "lobbying" Obama. Yes, he received $213,000 from people who work for oil and gas companies (or whose spouses work for those companies), but that DOES NOT MEAN that it's lobbying money. Your article is misleading.

"We're not sure how a $5,000 contribution from, say, Chevron's PAC would have more influence on a candidate than, for example, the $9,500 Obama has received from Chevron employees giving money individually."


No individual can give more than $2300. A PAC can give more than twice that amount.

Who's telephone call is more likely to be taken?


Clinton's argument about "employees of gas and oil companies and their spouses" holds no water. By this standard, Obama should reject donations from people who work at their local Citgo station or drive trucks for ExxonMobil (and their spouses!). This makes absolutely zero sense.

I work for a health insurance company, but I give money to Obama, despite the fact that, if I were only looking out for my company's best financial interests, I would donate to Clinton, since mandated health insurance is a gift to the insurance industry. I am an individual who happens to be employed by an insurance company and I should be allowed to donate as I please.

Clinton is being disingenuous, and she knows it.

I think anyone, including, who does not understand the difference between receiving $213,000 from employees who work in the "oil and gas industry" (which is actually a pretty broad category) and receiving $213,000 from a PAC that, for example, works on behalf of some sort of energy association is either being intellectually dishonest or lazy. The tie between the PAC's donation and what the industry expects in return is obvious. When the PAC raises money and donates it to the candidate, they are doing it in the name of and for the benefit of the industry. The tie between an individual employee donating money to a candidate and expecting something in return for that industry is tenuous at best. Absent some evidence that there is a concerted industry effort to get employees to donate to a specific candidate, the element of improper industry influence isn't there.

I can't believe this is even an issue. Individuals who work for a company or corporation are giving for personal reasons not for their employer. $50,000-100,000 from a bundler is also a non-issue. These paltry amounts are not going to buy favors when the candidates are raising millions. Get real here.

Miss Statement is the Queen of Deception! Here's a list of Hillary's Top Ten (Recent) Whoppers!

So if I work for Western Kentucky Gas I can't give to Obama's campaign? Are you truly that desperate Hillary? Come on let democracy work, quit whining.

I think there's a huge difference between PACs and individual organizers in a company. I think Clinton is grasping at straws here and if it seems like desperation to me. There are many individuals who have organized a drive to give money to the campaign and instead of sending them individually they send them all together. There is no political payoff besides donating your candidate of choice. That's the difference!

Obama should seek Axelrod's resignation, just as Clinton sought Penn's. That's exercising good judgment.
Obama should also fold his campaign into Hilary Clinton's. He would be a good veep. That would be showing a desire for unity within the party for the Fall.
Because, while Obama was rambling yesterday with Gen'l Petreus, Hilary was concise, convincing, and painted the Administration into a corner--they must now come to Congress before they reject any peace proposal in Iraq.
That's a big big concession, folks.
It's much bigger than Axelrod's strategy of "Michael Moore style" absolutism==painting Hilary as a war-monger because she (just as the Junior Senator would have had to) voted for Bush/Cheney's war against the people of Iraq.
Obama's followers will not lead him to the veep spot.
He must lead them.
Certainly there is a disconnect among members of a campaign who will browbeat a female delegate into resigning for exerting mothering skills. Most moms can't drop the kids off at daycare. They say things to kids. I do not believe this woman was being 'racist' any more than I believe the Clintons were racist, or that Geraldine Ferraro was racist.
It's about judgment and discretion.
Clinton did not attack Don Imus (idiot that he is) and make him more powerful as a result. Obama could learn a lot from the tutelage of the Clintons. But that's just the opinion of one person who wonders what people hated worst about the 90s--the peace or the prosperity?

Oh hillary stop crying and use that AD money to pay your bills. Accepting money from people who work for oil comapnies are VERY different than accepting money from the corporation.

Go away already!!!

All these debates over semantics... Don't you Clintonites ever get tired of complaining about words?

Its time to ask Hillary and Bill Clinton where the $800,000 from Colombia. Ask Hillary how she can be against CAFTA when her husband can accept $800,000 for his pro-CAFTA position.

Don't pull the ad Obama! Everyone knows that if anybody distorts facts or the truth it is the Clinton's! Literally EVERYTHING they say is dishonest or is connected with someone unsavory or a bad business deal.

Hold your head high Obama because you are what the American people want as our next President of the United States! A candidate with honesty, integrity and change!

Well Obama has 1.2 Million individual donors...and he has raised over a 100 million dollars. It's hard to argue that $213K coming from individuals will have any more sway on Obama than the rest of the million donors. Give me a break!

This post itself is misleading when it says that corporate pacs receive funds from individual employees. Under federal election law, only EXECUTIVE and ADMINISTRATIVE employees, i.e., the individuals who make corporate policy and manage the business, and shareholders, can contribute to a corporate pac. Foremen and line managers do not qualify nor do hourly employees. A non-managerial employee who also owns stock in the company can be solicited for contributions to the pac. Family members of the legal contributors can also donate to the pac. If one were to check the contribution and expenditure report of a corporate pac, one would find the contributors were entirely corporate officers or shareholders and their family members. These pacs are also controlled by the same administrative officers. The corporation can set the policy of the fund, and it appoints the officers and directors of the fund. Quite often, the person who has the greatest say or influence as to whom the pac should support is the corporation's in-house government affairs officer, i.e., lobbyist. All the administrative costs of the pac are paid by the corporation itself using its own funds. Of course, the pac's contributions come from people who are paid salaries or dividends by the corporation. The only reason a corporation sponsors a pac is to allow corporate officers and shareholders to make contributions to candidates the corporation itself wants to support for business or political reasons. By taking funds from an oil company pac, its executive officers and shareholders, Obama is receiving contributions so closely aligned with the oil company itself, it is misleading to say that he has not taken funds from the oil company.

Good, glad they're not pulling the ad, but they need to CREATE an ad that shows Hillary's Mark Penn and Hillary's Bill Clinton taking money from COLOMBIA! Then another ad showing her for NAFTA, then another ad showing her ducking invisible bullets in Bosnia! In fact, why not put all these ads together in one.

i'm done with obama he is a manduran candidate media made from msnbc to cnn it's laughable ..the only reason he got this far is because of the wacky democratic primaries rules and disenfranchising of voters and that's the only reason!!!1. if it was a winner take all primary like the republicans this would be over 2. under the wack rules counting florida&michigan it would be virtual tie with a 30 del lead for obama with 10 more states to go ..majority of th states favoring hillary so you take obama's fake butt and let him lose to mccain and remember no caucuses in november obamabots...

"...$9,500 Obama has received from Chevron employees giving money individually."

So you're saying that employees of oil companies are not allowed to donate to political campaigns? Is there a breakdown of who these people are and why they donated? Because there is a HUGE difference between a thousand individual small donations by employees (who number in the thousands) of large corporations, and in donations designed to garner favoritism from a candidate for that corporation. There are thousands of blue-collar workers in oil. Are you saying they have no right to donate to Obama's campaign? Are you saying the cubicle jockies have no right to donate? This is a farcical argument.

Hillary is a complete hypocrite. From

"Obama has, however, accepted more than $213,000 in contributions from individuals who work for, or whose spouses work for, companies in the oil and gas industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's not as much as Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has received more than $306,000 in donations from people tied to the industry, but it's still a substantial amount."

The total amount of money Obama has received from oil companies is dwarfed by the millions he's received in small donations from private individual donors such as myself. I seriously doubt these tiny bundles of cash from the employees of these companies is garnering any favors by Obama for Big Oil.


Hillary Clinton makes no bones about taking money from lobbyists, and believes special interest power is "American." I guess she feels that those with more money should have a larger influence on the way politics are done in Washington than the little guy...which really shouldn't surprise anyone paying attention.

Barack Obama '08!

This article is ridiculous, as is the statement. I would like to see Hillary's list of donors. I imagine the same situation would fall on her as well.

I know there are lots of people who believe Hilary has no chance at getting the nomination. I am 100% confident she will! Stop making nasty comments about Hilary and listen to what she is saying. She can beat McCain.

LOL!!! Obama followers will buy anything Obama tells you. Obama has been caught in lies about Retzko, his Selma speech, his Kennedy and father fabrications, etc ... and still you Obama cult freaks scream "Hillary is lying!"

And now you Obama followers are even saying that "" is wrong??? The Annenberg Political Fact Check is an independent non partisan non-profit organization dedicated to exposing lies in political ads. THEY ARE THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE FOR INVESTIGATING ANY AD'S TRUTHFULNESS.

Go Hillary '08!!!!

Lynn tis article is completly ridiculous and misleading...individuals contributing have to declare the company they work for by law, it does not mean that the company is lobbying them, DUH.

Who is Factchecking C'mon vet this stuff before writing it.

I am an Obama supporter but those of you who don't see the point don't understand the system. Corporate executives will "volunteer" their time and "suggest" that lower level executives and managers give money to the candidate the boss wants to support--these are not small donations--they are the larger ones-that are reportable or else the names would never show up. These are usually maximum or close to maximum contributions. The boss collects them all and they equal tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations (like the ones cited in this article. They are thus far in excess of `the $5K that a pac can give. The real money these days comes from these massive bundles of executive contributions. And while it illegal to coerce a contribution, having a top executive "request" tht you help his or her chosen candidate is tremendously powerful. Why do you think all the top executives are on these fundraising committees. Will the executive state that they felt pressured. Of course not if they want their job! Obama ought to pull that ad. He is too good for that (at least I hope he is)

I find it stupid to blame any politician or call them out because they get a donation from an individual who works in a certain industry.
If someone works at a gas station they are in the oil biz, or at a drug store they are with pharmacy. What about when my husband sent a donation. Does that mean a pol is being bought by the window hardware industry?
It's just too hyper dramatic and silly.

If you work for a corporation, say The World Bank. You donate as an indvidual. The donation will show that your donation is a personal one, and that you are "employed" at the Bank. It does not show up as a corporation donation. I know this because I have seen the list of individuals who have made $100 or a little more as individuals from my place of employment.

Now if the donation was made specifically as a corporation donation, it will show that also.

UCLAdy04, Obama does *not* accept money from any PAC, oil-related or otherwise. Hillary does.

Your analysis of how a PAC is spot on - the lies are when Hillary tries to pretend that individual donations are the same as PAC donations. And of course, the media buys into her narrative, again, even while she's complaining about the media not giving her *enough* cooperation in controlling the tone of the race.

Something like 0.1% of the money Obama has raised, entirely without PAC money, was donated by people who work for energy companies. I wonder if more than 0.1% of the people in the US work for energy companies.

OBAMABOTS cannot except that the subject of their adoration is a practiced deceiver of facts and that he will say anything to be get what he wants. Apparently we are suppose trade one liar for another liar.

Wow, what a misleading article. Individual contributions are a far cry from PAC contributions. PAC's by definition are special interest groups; PAC's are created by industry insiders to promote their industry. Those who contribute through a PAC are doing so to buy political influence for their industry.

My husband and I contribute to a variety of campaigns; some of my husband's colleagues contribute to the same campaigns. Their common industry, indeed, their common employer, does not constitute industry sponsored contributors. Rather, it denotes their status as American citizens active in the political process.

It is not unusual for people who work together to encourage participation in a variety of fund-raising activities: everything from United Way contributions to Girl Scout cookies sales happen in the workplace. The collective participation is not industry sponsored and is not intended to buy political influence. Rather, it's an matter of proximity and familiarity. Those involved in any type of fund-raising feel more comfortable approaching people they know. Consequently, fund-raisers go where they know the most people--the workplace. It's really that honest and that simple.

re: Larry Foster

It is easy to make a mistake about something that happened before one is born. How many dates in your family that you are aware of that happened before you were born that you are 100% certain of? I mean with regards to Senator Obama's father Coming To America.

If you live through something you SHOULD be more certain of. Most people are, but the exception to that rule is Senator Clinton. Somehow she can't keep all of her facts straight -- take Bosnia, for instance. Her Bosnia experience did not happen before she was born, but only a few years ago. Somehow she remembered details that didn't happen.

Either she was lying or confused. We don't need either in the white house.

Obama '08!

Hillary: Start cutting your expenses, pay your bills, and bow out with dignity. There is hardly any difference between your policy positions and Obama's. Your positives/negatives are -7, Obama's are +8. You've offered no explanation as to how you are going to offset the +5 bounce you surrender to McCain just by having your name on the ballot. You've offered no explanation as to how you are going to attract Obama supporters if you manage to thwart the will of the people. (Obama has offered one: He will have won more states, more votes, more pledged delegates AND he has said that he will agree to an equitable solution to the MI & FL mess.) You're solution to the MI & FL mess is to call an election that everyone knew wouldn't count as "legitimate" and "fair." Your idea of "fair" is to give Obama ZERO votes in Michigan. You are telling the people of Michigan that a fair vote is one that only counts those cast for you. Nobdy buys that. Not even your supporters. Pay your bills and get out.

Obama for the little people. Michelle will probably give up her ankle-lenth white mink coat if she gets to the White House - ya think? or maybe just put it in storage in Chicago. Yeah, that's it. Oil money? Nah! the Obamas don't deal with dirty, tacky money. They're new type professionals and politicians. Clean. They earn all their money and get it donated from little people. No big money. Let's not get the wrong impression. Obama for everyone, especially the little people.

When I give money to a campaign, by law I have to provide my employer and job title. In my case, it's "University of Michigan" and "(poor) Graduate Student." Does this mean that that education industry is trying to buy my candidate? Please. Coming from a campaign whose husband has collected $800,000 for a couple speeches from the Columbian government (among other shady characters) this is complete nonsense. Also, go to and and click on the "donate" link. Then, compare the text you have to sign off on to donate to each of the two candidates. You'll see which of the two is the bigger corporate candidate.

Kevin--I was an Obama supporter too. I will vote for him if need be but I am very disappointed to have learned how he got his start, and continues in this race. The Democratic Party needs to go to a winner take all method of determining the front runner. Maybe not necessarily EXACTLY like the Republicans do it--but maybe all in one day wouldn't be so bad. The present sitution is not ideal.

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to make the important distinction that i keep saying to myself in such frustration; the difference between donating as a company from a PAC or as an individual who happens to work at the company. I work at JPMorgan. I receive emails at work requesting I donate to the PAC, which I refuse because I dont know who they will donate to. And btw there is no coercion whatsoever and I am quite sure that in large companies that is the case. I donate as an individual as a reflection of my personal values not for the well-being of my employer. This distinction needs to be made. The media needs to stop being lazy. Most professionals who are democrats support Obama, thus he might get more from major employers across industries generally. Thus Obama's money is not from "Big Oil" or "Wall Street" but from working class professionals like myself who do not advocate oil dependence or predatory lending.

Thanks, Kevin, for a reasonable response to some of your fellow Obama supporters.

Vince: Please see an earlier post to know who exactly is. Non-profit non-partisan...

As for me, Hillary all the way!! HILLARY '08!!

Regardless of its merit (which I think is little), this attack simply doesn't seem very effective. The Clinton attack is too nuanced for regular american consumption. Anyone covering it has to admit that factually finds his ad is to be technically accurate, and usually brings up Clinton's larger take from the oil industry and her acceptance of PAC money (excluding Lynn Sweet, apparently). They usually also point out that as a % of his total fundraising, it's nothing. And now the Clinton's are wasting time and campaign funds on it, looking petty and like they're going negative, instead of working to get their positive message out there. Finally, the Obama ad gets played constantly throughout this, simply reinforcing his overall message that he cares about going after the oil companies and that he doesn't take money from PACs (which are something the electorate does understand, since they're one of the more identifiable issues that's been in the news for the past 10 years).

So, in my view its crazy for the Clinton's to pursue this line of attack--and I think that's why Axelrod could care less about changing the ad.

I now have just lost a lot of respect for Their lame rationalization of clinton's spin is the most misleading thing in the whole "story." Corporations created PACs as a way to get around the rule that prevents them from directly contributing. How does factcheck not know this?!?!?!

I work at a massive government contractor. We are encouraged by the CEO via e-mail to contribute to the company PAC. No one who contributes chooses the candidates to which money goes. It's run by "other" people who are 'looking out for the best interests of the company.' I'd fall over if my company even wanted to put any money into Obama's pockets. I'd also fall over if they DIDN'T contribute to hillary and mccranky.

I personally sent in $100 to Obama. I have never contributed a cent to the company's PAC - and never will. If the idiots in clinton's campaign or the people at factcheck can't see the obvious difference between these contribution vehicles, it's pathetic. Could Obama have gotten his ad's point across while explaining this difference? Maybe. But it's NOT misleading.

According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Clinton has accepted more money from drug companies than any other member of congress combined. Is it any wonder that she also accepts money from oil companies and etc? There is a huge difference in the weight PACs take and individual contributions made by people who happen to work for oil companies or are married to someone who does. This is absolutely ridiculous. Additionally, as someone pointed out earlier in the thread, "Obama has 1.2 Million individual donors...and he has raised over a 100 million dollars. It's hard to argue that $213K coming from individuals will have any more sway on Obama than the rest of the million donors. Give me a break!"

Obama is deceptive. He plays good ol' down and dirty Chicago poliltics. Yet, mainstream media continues to bury anything negative about him, and exaggerate anything remotely positive. All of this, of course, while doing the exact opposite with Sen. Clinton.

I am sick and tired of the deception and dirty politics from the Obama camp. The free pass has expired. Thanks to him and the media, it looks like we're looking at 4 years of McCain.

Go Hilary!

I think most of the readers here are missing the point. It is ILLEGAL to take donations from corporations. Hillary and McLame could say the same thing as Barry and all of them would be sort of telling the truth, just as Barry is.

This episode is further proof that Hillary is dividing the Democratic party. It's almost like her saying, if I can't be president, then Obama can't either. Dividing the Democratic party risks ushering in a 3rd term for Bush, via McSame.

For all you Obamaniacs trying to explain away his falsehoods as usual, can you tell me why dozens of employees from a single company will contribute to a candidate on the same day?

It looks to me like a concerted effort to contribute similar to a PAC but dodging the $5000 limits of the PAC.

In any case, It is FALSE to say you are the only candidate not to take money from Corporations. Nobody does.

hillary get out now !!!

They just pulled that ad!
Say it ain't so, Joe CUZ IT AIN'T!
It's a judgment thang.
Can you change course when it's OFF the TRACKS?
Axelrod's all pretzelled over this--he just pulled the ad! Between the unwise attacks on Don Imus (with a minister like Wright in the closet waiting to be bad PR for the campaign and the ENTIRE PARTY),
calling Hilary basically a war-monger when you yourself voted for the dang thing (and note how well she hemmed them into a corner while he was rambling all over the place),
the Rezko lack of revelations before Edwards and Kucinich were trivialized and ignored out of the running, I'd say that's more than a triple axle(rod) of foul-ups and screw-ups. Three strikes and you're out. Or should be. Hilary got Penn out of the driver's seat. Obama oughta do the same with Axelrod.
This is a poorly run campaign.
If this is the sort of judgment about running a campaign now, with an opponent who wants you for veep (and what a great opportunity that would be for Obama and the NATION--SIXTEEN YEARS of Democrats!)then how is he gonna beat McCain? Hilary is not the enemy!

Okay--there's a big difference between me giving money to a campaign and the corporation I work for giving money to a campaign. There's just something unseemly about a corporation donating to campaign. I don't know what is talking about. What--are they saying that Obama can't make this claim unless all his donors are unemployeed, self-employed, or independently wealthy?

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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 April 9, 2008 12:52 PM.

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