While speaking in Tampa, FL today, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama launched his most pointed attack at John McCain yet for having lobbyists run his presidential campaign. “Almost a decade ago, he (McCain) offered a bill that, in his words, would ban a candidate from paying registered lobbyists…he did this because he said that having lobbyists on your campaign was a conflict of interest. This is what he said ten years ago. Well, I’ll tell you that John McCain then would be pretty disappointed with John McCain now, because he hired some of the biggest lobbyists in Washington to run his campaign.”
Obama said that the McCain camp thinks that the American people don’t care, “And when he was called on it, his top lobbyists actually had the nerve to say, ‘The American people won’t care about this.’ Well, I think the American people do care about it and I know they have a clear choice in this election.”
He laid out what he saw as the choice facing America in stark terms, “we are taking on the root causes of special interests dominated politics in Washington or we can ignore the problem and we can wake up four years from now and still be talking about an energy crisis and still be talking about a health care crisis and still be talking about a tax code that’s not fair to you. I don’t want to wake up that way, neither do you. That’s a choice we’ve got in this election. We’re going to change how politics is done in Washington.”
Welcome to Barack Obama’s main theme for the general election. The problem that John McCain has is that he is trying to define himself as a different kind of Republican, but also simultaneously appeal to the GOP base, but McCain really didn’t see anything wrong with the lobbyists running his campaign. If McCain had lived up to his rhetoric, he would have never hired lobbyists in the first place. For Obama, picked out McCain’s flip-flops should be like shooting fish in a barrel.
Obama’s remarks can be read here.