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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

# Posted 11:06 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CANDOR FROM HILLARY: She was asked during at the Yearly Kos convention if she would accept donations from federal lobbyists. She said yes, explaining that:
A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not...represent real Americans. They actually do. They represent nurses, they represent, you know, social workers. They represent—yes, they represent corporations that employ a lot of people. So you know, the idea that somehow a contribution is going to influence you, I just ask you to look at my record. I have been fighting for the same things. I—my core principles have not changed. But I do want to be the president for everybody, and I want to represent the entire country, and that is what I’m aiming to do in my campaign.
Obama and Edwards saw their opening and ran with it:
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): I disagree with the notion that lobbyists don’t have disproportionate influence. Look, the insurance and the drug companies—the insurance and the drug companies spent $1 billion in lobbying over the last 10 years. Now Hillary, you, you were talking earlier about the, you know, efforts you made back in ‘93. Well, you can’t tell me that that money did not have a difference. They are not spending that just because they are contributing to the public interest. They have an agenda.

FMR. SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: How many people in this room have a Washington lobbyist working for you? I see two, three. How many people are in the room? Fifteen hundred, 2,000? You are not represented by Washington lobbyists. They need to cut these people off, that’s what we need to do.
I'd say that's mostly cheap populism. Hillary's answer explained exactly why. What's curious is that she took a position that it is politically less comfortable. I'm guessing if she could afford to turn down donations from federal lobbyists, she would do so and offer exactly the same explanation that Obama did. Even so, I give her credit for giving a straight-up answer to a hostile audience instead of trying to dodge the question.

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As sad as this may be, she's showing that she's the only grownup in the room. She rightly pointed out that there are plenty of liberal lobbying groups. Obama continued the standard Democratic line that lobbying is synonymous with insurance and drug companies, and therefore bad. Edwards' line was just stupid. I'm sure lots of lobbying firms have advocated for policies that I benefit from, but they don't call me up to ask my opinion.
 
More delegates at Democratic conventions come from teachers' unions than any other place. It sounds like Hillary was about to mention teachers, then caught herself and said "Nurses" instead. If so, it was an adroit move, lest she remind anyone of our failed public school system.
 
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