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Lobbyist Backing McCain Reaches Out

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By Juliet Eilperin
FLORENCE, S.C. -- One of John McCain's senior advisers made a sympathy call last night to one of Mitt Romney's senior advisers, a fellow lobbyist.

The former Massachusetts governor has recently made a point of saying, "I don't have lobbyists running my campaign," an apparent reference to the Arizona senator's campaign manager Rick Davis, a former registered lobbyist.

When Associated Press reporter Glen Johnson pointed out (see above video) that one of Romney's top aides is a lobbyist -- Ron Kaufman, who chairs the D.C.-based Dutko Worldwide -- Romney replied, "he's not running my campaign. He's an adviser," adding that he does not participate in senior strategy meetings.

Kaufman participates in Romney's debate preparation sessions, and frequently travels with the candidate.

Last night Charlie Black, a senior McCain campaign aide who is also a lobbyist, like Kaufman, left a consoling message for Kaufman on his phone.

"I told him, 'I'm really sorry you've been kicked out of the senior strategy sessions,'" Black said.

As for McCain, he merely smiled after watching an MSNBC clip of Romney's remarks, and said, "I'm proud of him."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 18, 2008; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  John McCain , Mitt Romney , Primaries , The GOP  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: McCain's Economic Strategy: Bring in Greenspan
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Posted by: Polly | April 9, 2008 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Diana | April 8, 2008 5:42 AM | Report abuse

Good point - when Romney says he'll run the country like a business he speaks the literal truth - he'll fee bleed us to death and then sell off all our assets to the highest bidder.

Posted by: lnardozi | January 19, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Flip FLOP, Flip FLOP, Flip FLOP, Oh wait we have to change that. Flop FLIP, Flop FLIP, Flop FLIP.....................


Mitt Romney

Posted by: BOBSTERII | January 19, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Romney's performance on Leno last night was seriously disappointing. Frozen smile, frozen hair, ice cold talking points. Elect Romney and watch him lay-off half of America and sell off its assets. Gotta love those Business guys.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 19, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The reporters attitude seemed a bit out of line, but Romney's answer was the scariest part of the exchange.

Posted by: sinesk1 | January 18, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Romney is the least likely of any of the candidates to be swayed by lobbyists. He doesn't need their money like many other candidates do. Why don't we look at all of the dirt on McCain and Huckabee.

Posted by: poliscistudent | January 18, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Ever wonder why people can see the EXACT SAME CLIP and come to completely opposite conclusions? Some find Romney to be coolheaded and adept at clarifying his intended meeting and the role lobbyists have in his campaign while others see him as angry and evasive?

Well, I saw an interesting article today that may be related. It answers why Mitt is stuck with the label flip-flopper depsite that his competitors have changed their positions just as much. Have a look: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/news/releases/2008/1/18/vanderbilt-poll-explains-why-romneys-flip-flopper-label-sticks-political-scientist-says-anti-mormon-bias-finds-cover

Posted by: shanehopkins | January 18, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Lobbiest, Advisors, Corporate CEO's, somebody, nobody, anybody, individuals, labor union, PAC's, etc.. have a right to participate in any political campaign without having to be critizied or comdemned by anyone else. That is what American political freedom and democracy is about. Thus, reporter was way out of line in his approach and attitude regarding the Romney matter. Why did such a trivial matter make national news? Does any negative agaist any Republican tweek the liberal press? Is this good, fair. objective, reporting?" I think not! Monty Ousey Weddell

Posted by: jhutt123 | January 18, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Romney...he is trails the pack in being supported by individual voters."

According to the number you quoted, he is in a virtual tie with Guiliani for 1st place in terms of getting individual contributions!!

He trails only in terms of individual contributions as a percentage of his whole funding, and that's because he is capable enough to make his own fortune in 100s of millions of $$ in private sectors, and that's also why he is the least likely among all candidates to be bought by lobbyist!!

At least get the basics right! Go Romney!!

Posted by: ezloafer | January 18, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Romney's lame, petulant and unduly Talmudic response to the revelation that a lobbyist is significantly involved in his campaign (contradicting his claim that "I have no lobbyist running my campaign") is reminiscent of Bill Clinton's immortal "it depends on what 'is' is". Roland Thau

Posted by: r_thau | January 18, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what important news! Is it illegal now for reporters to actually practice journalism? Juliet, how long did it take you to write this incredibly profound article?

Crikey, I really couldn't give a flying flip about phone calls from McCain's camp to Romney's unless it's to concede an election...why not do a bit of research and create a piece that delineates policy differences or examines a candidate's track record, so America can make an informed choice based on more than hearsay and insider gossip?

Too hard? Or not sexy enough?

Posted by: jamie_georgia | January 18, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

This comment is such a red herring and the media fully understand why but they also know that lobbyists have been demonized by the media to the general public around the country. What they never mention is that every one of these "average" people have several lobbyists representing their interests in Washington. These could range from labor lobbyists, corporate lobbyists, social issue lobbyists to single issue lobbyists. They all try to influence the system to agree with them and the last time I looked that was an important part of free speech.

If anyone thinks that there are not people in every campaign that have been lobbyists at one time or or currently lobbyists then they are up in the night and need to look at the facts. For any candidate to run on a platform that no lobbyist will be involved in my campaign or administration is being pretty disingenuous.

Posted by: jhaddow | January 18, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Romney want to pretend that he is not bought by lobbists. If you examine how much money he gets from individuals it is clear that he is trails the pack in being supported by individual voters.

Individual contributions
Date of last report: September 30, 2007

Ron Paul $8,229,811 100%
Fred Thompson $12,710,047 99%
Mike Huckabee $2,298,361 98%
Rudy Giuliani $44,757,662 95%
John McCain $30,183,761 94%
Mitt Romney $44,485,017 71%

source: http://opensecrets.org/pres08/

Posted by: editor | January 18, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Romney's point was that, unlike McCain and Huckabee, he's not beholden to anybody if he wins. Because his campaign has been financed by voters and himself rather than lobbyists, Romney can campaign and govern for the reason he entered the race--to make the country better for his kids and ours.

The point stands about Romney not having favors to return whether Johnson (or the uninformed commenters above) agree with his assessment of Kaufman's role in the campaign or not.

Posted by: shanehopkins | January 18, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

This is an instance where journalists can do the right thing by presenting facts about the real issue. The youtube video is the best part about this article. To improve, why doesn't the Post (or anybody else) look up the org charts for all the campaigns and show them side by side. Then we could decide if Mitt Romney is lying.

Posted by: krsmith35 | January 18, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

APer Glen Johnson gave me a little hope that there are people in the media who are willing to call a spade a spade and do their jobs. If only the white house press corp was as diligent as Mr. Johnson was in not letting Romney spread the BS around... well, you get the picture.

Posted by: scorbett1976 | January 18, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I watched the full exchange and I thought Mitt Romney was very composed and very gracious after he was rudely interrupted and by a reporter that accused him of lying. Mitt Romney's statement was true in every respect and the reporter appeared to be attempting to make it look like Mitt Romney was not telling the truth. I think Mitt Romney handled it very well. I also think it is disgusting the way the press has sided with the reporter (who was clearly wrong). This is a clear example of how unfair the press has been in attempting to make Romney look bad. They seem to have an agenda to do that and I think it is a pretty sad statement about them. Glen Johnson really has no business being a reporter - he is just trying to earn points with his liberal buddies in the press corp.

Posted by: sidconnor | January 18, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

This morning the CNN Politic Ticker reported that Mr. Johnson isa former employee of the Boston Globe. The Globe's bias against Mr. Romney certainly calls Mr. Johnson's credibility into question and the purpose of this non-story.

Posted by: marion3 | January 18, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Romney is bought and sold.
I don't think he has an orignal bone in his body. Too bad because his hair is so well kept.

Posted by: hhkeller | January 18, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Once again, I'm wondering how we could have reached the point people like this are seriously considered for the responsibility of running the most powerful nation in the history of the world.

It's depressing.

Posted by: zukermand | January 18, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

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