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Obama Derides Outside Spending

For much of the last week, Barack Obama has alleged that the series of independent organizations spending money on behalf of his main Democratic rivals in Iowa raise real questions about those candidates' commitment to serious reform of the political process.

Barack Obama
Obama arrives at a rally Friday in Clinton, Iowa. (Getty Images)

Today, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe put out a memo arguing that "this unprecedented level of outside spending could impact the outcome in Iowa and New Hampshire, and we believe voters in these states deserve to know exactly how much is being spent, where it's coming from, and who's benefiting."

According to the Obama memo, two pro-John Edwards groups -- the beneficently named Working 4 Working Americans and the Alliance for a New America -- have spent nearly $2.1 million on direct mail, radio and television ads. Three groups promoting Hillary Rodham Clinton's candidacy -- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers and EMILY's List -- have dropped $2.6 million, including, according to the memo, $309,000 against Obama.

While assuring supporters that the Obama campaign has the "financial and organizational resources to compete aggressively in all four early states and through February 5th," Plouffe adds: "There is no doubt that the size of the spending and its underhanded nature deserve further scrutiny."

Given the amount of time the Obama campaign has spent on highlighting the outside spending on behalf of other groups and the ties that one of these groups has to a former Edwards senior aide (Nick Baldick is advising the Alliance as first reported in the Sunday Fix), they clearly believe this is a winning issue for them.

But is it?

In The Fix's experiences covering campaigns, it is the exception -- not the rule -- that the source of funds for so-called "independent expenditure" ads actually winds up making a difference in a race. The truth of the matter is that average voters simply do not follow elections that closely and much of the back and forth is lost on them -- aided by the complexity of campaign finance laws.

Ask yourself this question: Does the average Iowa voters know what a "527" is? Can they differentiate that from a 501(c)(4)? We're guessing the answer to both questions is no. Do voters have a sense that massive sums of money are being spent on this election in Iowa? Absolutely. Do they know the intricacies of whose spending for whom and why? Probably not.

Obama's campaign clearly believes this presidential race is different. And there is some evidence to suggest they are correct. Because of the amount of money being spent, voters are much more educated about the process than they would typically be if it was a House or Senate race. Poll after poll shows voters are following this election more closely than any one in modern history, and in Iowa in particular voters tend to know far more about the ins and out of a campaign due to their quadrennial role in picking the president.

The final factor that could make the caucuses the exception to the rule, where the Obama and Edwards campaigns' efforts to paint their man as a true reformer who can bring about real change in the status quo, will actually pay off. As the race has entered its final week, Obama and Edwards have battled hard for the mantle of reform, and Obama sees the outside money being spent on Edwards's behalf as a way to tip undecided voters his way.

It's a major gamble, however, to spend precious time in the few remaining days of the campaign talking about the origins of campaign cash -- a topic that usually glazes over the eyes of the average voter. Obama and his campaign team have proved us wrong before and, if he winds up on top on Jan. 3, they'll have done it again.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 29, 2007; 4:12 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Fix Heads to Iowa
Next: The Fix Makes Des Moines (Finally)


For republicans who claim they'll vote for Obama, because they dislike Bush -- where were YOU in 2004? The fact you voted for Bush shows your JUDGEMENT. Obama first will never reach the White House, the whooshing sound of his support leaving, will be deafening once people realize he has ZERO experience.

But the fact independents/republicans say they'd vote for him, says a great deal, since you a-holes GOT BUSH ELECTED IN 2004 AND YOU WERE REPEATEDLY WARNED ABOUT VOTING FOR HIM AND THE CONSEQUENCES.

Posted by: eeave | January 1, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama on Vote Hope:

"My recommendation to people who are interested in supporting me is to support me through our campaign -- the way over 250,000 donors have supported us, the way hundreds of thousands of volunteers have supported us.

"Get involved in the campaign that we've set up, that is above board, that is transparent, that is legal,'' he said. "And I think if people channel their energies in that way, we'll all be better off.''

Asked if he was publicly suggesting that Democrats no longer contribute to such independent organizations, Obama said: "That's what I just did ... We do not think people should be donating to 527s. We would rather have them in involved in our campaign.''

Posted by: roo_P | December 30, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

In February 2007, standing before the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, Obama announced his candidacy for the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Describing his working life in Illinois, and symbolically linking his presidential campaign to Abraham Lincoln's 1858 House Divided speech, Obama said: "That is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a house divided to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America." Speaking at a Democratic National Committee meeting one week before the February announcement, Obama called for putting an end to negative campaigning. "This can't be about who digs up more skeletons on who, who makes the fewest slip-ups on the campaign trail," he said. "We owe it to the American people to do more than that."

How come obama is now resorting to the typical negative campaigning by splitting hairs about how they both got the financing to run this race? Just curious.

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 30, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

While reading the postings above, the thing that strikes me most is the totally uncivil tone of all the anti-Obama posters.

I note, too, that these openly hostile posters are clearly just as angry and/or disingenuous as the candidate they ARE supporting

Like attracts like.

That's why, I must surmise, most of the more reasonable minds that I've encountered are drawn to Obama.

Senator Obama's popularity gives me hope for America (that maybe - just maybe - the reasonable minds are in the majority).

Posted by: miraclestudies | December 30, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree with 'RKARKA.' This is admittedly a political tactic on the part of Obama but a tactic that will work well in both IA and NH. Voters in both states value independence, perhaps more than any other early primary states.

Edwards opened himself up for this with his constant harping about "special interests." Obama is just bringing the chickens home to roost.

Posted by: judgeccrater | December 30, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton
Of all of the candidates and interests groups participating in this campaign, the American Federal State County Municipal union (AFSCME) is running perhaps the most negative and misleading campaign. To date, they have spent $1.3 million on radio ads and direct mail - with over $300,000 spent on negative ads targeting Obama - and are reportedly readying a negative television campaign against Obama.

The ads have mischaracterized Obama's universal health care plan. AFSCME has attacked Obama's plan for not including an individual mandate, when it is the official position of AFSCME to oppose an individual mandate. The President of AFSCME testified at a Congressional hearing in 2006 that "we are concerned with the direction reform efforts have taken in some states. For example, the Massachusetts reform model attempts to achieve near universal coverage through the use of individual mandates."

Clinton also has benefitted by spending from Emily's List and the AFT, who have spent $485,777.43 and $799,618.59 respectively on her behalf.

This unprecedented level of outside spending could impact the outcome in Iowa and New Hampshire, and voters in these states deserve to know exactly how much is being spent, where it's coming from, and who's benefiting.
AFSCME: $1,333,456.96 (includes $309,545.60 explicitly against Obama)

AFT: $799,618.59

Emily's List: $485,777.43

Total: $2,618,852.98

Posted by: Katy7540 | December 30, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

To put Oprah's support into context, Oprah appeared with Senator Obama only three times during almost one year of campaigning. THREE TIMES! I attended one of these events and the event also gave those who attended the opportunity to voluntarily contribute to the Toys for Tots program by donating a new toy at the entrance of the arena.

Senator Barack Obama is the ONLY presidential candidate that will not take money from special interests in this presidential election. When he is elected President he will not owe anything to anyone but the American people who elected him. He is truly a candidate of the people.

Posted by: Katy7540 | December 30, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards, who is running in large part on a recently adopted campaign platform of taking on the big corporate interests in Washington, is relying on a former aide to run an unregulated 527 operating outside campaign finance limits to support his candidacy.

Even as he was decrying such influence last week, his former campaign manager was spending $750,000 on television ads in Iowa. If Edwards can't stand up to his own former aides how can stand up to the special interests in Washington?

Nick Baldick, who ran his campaign in 2004 and was on the campaign's payroll as recently as June, is now running Alliance for a New America. The Alliance for a New America has spent $1.5 million to help Edwards in Iowa, while the group Working for Working Americans, funded by the Carpenters Union, has spent more than $500,000 supporting Edwards, bringing the total spent on his behalf in Iowa to $2 million.

In their most recent financial disclosure, the Alliance for New America revealed that they had raised $495,000 from Oak Springs Farms, LLC. Oak Springs is funded through the assets of Rachel Mellon, who is 97-years old. According to the available records, which go back to 1980, she has never donated to a political candidate until a contribution was made in her name to John Edwards this year. Mellon's involvement in the decision to donate to the Edwards campaign is unknown. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Alexander Forger, who has power for attorney for Mrs. Mellon, is a major supporter of John Edwards' candidacy. Crain's Business Journal reported in February that Forger and "a group of prominent New York lawyers" hosted a fund-raiser for Edwards at Essex House -- the Central Park South address where his office is located. Forger has also personally donated $4,600 to Edwards' campaign, according to FEC records. This is not the first time Forger has used Oak Springs Farms to support Edwards; in 2006, he made a $250,000 contribution to Edwards' One America 527 group.

While Edwards has said he doesn't want this group to run ads, he has not called his former employee and friend and asked him not run these ads. And according to the New York Times, this group was started after consultations with Edwards' campaign manager and other senior members of the campaign.

These latest revelations make it clear why Edwards was able to announce that he could accept public funds while still spending all he needed to spend in Iowa. His campaign simply exploited the biggest loophole in the campaign finance system in order to get public matching funds while arranging through allies to benefit from a 527. That's how they avoided the spending limits that are a condition of the public matching funds.

When John Edwards applied for matching funds, he agreed to spending limits in return for the public money he is now receiving. But at that time, the Edwards campaign was actively involved in discussions about the establishment of an "independent" 527 effort, to be conducted outside the federal financing requirements. Members of the SEIU, which is funding the 527 that has spent the vast majority of the money in IA on his behalf, described consultations with senior Edwards staff and a visit to the campaign in Iowa, all intended to assure that the project delivered "the specific sort of support they'd [the Edwards campaign] like to see from us."

Within weeks, the Alliance for a New America, a 527 group organized just to boost Edwards' last-minute media spending in Iowa, came into existence. The group portrays itself as an issue advertising group, able to operate outside the legal restrictions of the federal campaign finance laws. Its goal is to help Edwards, who is specifically promoted in its advertising. Consistent with the close coordination envisioned by the planners, key individuals involved in this organization and steering its activities are close associates of the Edwards campaign.

Posted by: Katy7540 | December 30, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

It's amusing to me that John Edwards talks about his ability to fight special interests and corporate lobbyists, but then says that he can't control his supposed friend and former campaign manager's 527 group spending.

Hillary, meanwhile, talks about having the strength to stand up to special interests, yet does nothing while they pollute the process despite her plentiful campaign assets and lack of a need for outside spending.

They can talk all they want, but it is Barack Obama who is walking the walk and truly taking lobbyists and special interests out of the process.

Posted by: roy_washingtonpost | December 30, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

seems obama has his own 527! "vote hope" an obama support group in California, surprise surprise surprise........NOT!!! its funny how now obama is sounding more and more like Edwards ain't it? he and Hilliary are for change alright.....inter"changeable" policy's that is!!........obama and Clinton have taken so much lobbyist money in their careers that they are most definitely running for president to those they OWE and that is NOT the American he a Muslim? who really knows? but a lot of his donations come from people with Muslim names.......makes one wonder who he really is.....perhaps he's not "technically" a muslim but doesn't mean he might not be a muslim supporter.

Posted by: disapointedwithobama | December 30, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Want to know who has taken lobbyists money??
how about....clinton,obama,biden,dodd,richards, goes on and on....but no where is edwards!!! :) on the name of who you want to know about.....follow down the page to the list of those on any one of them and you will see a list of who that lobbyist also supported and with how much!!!!

Posted by: disapointedwithobama | December 30, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

lets look at the "real" facts here shall we! first of all CLINTON and OBAMA have been taking lobbyists money their entire career! millions of money and gifts and trips have been taken by both of them. They ARE in the POCKETS of those they took money from. They are NOT in this for the AMERICAN people. They owe a debt......EDWARDS owes no debt.....he has NOT taken lobbyists money....perhaps a 527 has? but EDWARDS has no control on who they take money from or what they do with it. Is he really fighting unfair? what's unfair is CLINTON and OBAMA taking lobbyists money.....and how the CORPORATE OWNED MEDIA is also financially supporting their campaign and is bias in their reporting...They are BRAINWASHING the American people into believing that clinton and obama are the ones american people are behind because that is who they want to sway the votes for... so that clinton or obama can REPAY their debt........Clinton has many 527's all taking big money and using to be nasty against edwards and obama, Obama has a 527 as well "vote hope" and i am sure we will see more come out of the woodwork in days to come....EDWARDS supporting 527's are endorsing him....and NOT playing nasty with the blame game...just getting the word out on edwards....balancing the scale against corporate owned mass media that refuses to give edwards equal press.....I support John Ewards for president and so does most of iowa it will catch on after he wins hands down in iowa...he is surging for sure!! America is rising up, we're not FOOLED by OLD political games......we won't make a bush/clinton mistake again...wake up america and rise up against all this political manipulation that works against you the people!

Posted by: disapointedwithobama | December 30, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Obama is correct. If you allow a 527 to campaign for you, you are taking money from Lobbyist. You do it now, you will do it later as a President. I for one only one a candidate in office representing me. Therefore I will not vote for anyone using 527.

Posted by: ethelk2044 | December 30, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I am a Biden supporter and I would vote for several Republicans before I would vote for Edwards. However, the idea that rich people cannot support liberal causes is patently absurd. Also absurd is the idea that rich liberals are somehow hypocrites if they have a priveleged lifestyle. I would also point out to those suggesting some kind of pact with the devil for Edwards to take Mellon money - it is not at all unusual for heirs of conservative b/millionaires to be liberals. The late Joan Kroc, widow McDonald's founder and conservative Ray Kroc, was one of the Democratic party's biggest contributor. McGovern's campaign was largely funded by one of the General Motors founder's heir.

As for the brouhaha over Obama's scholarship, he was the President of the Harvard Law Review for crying out loud. That is a singular intellectual achievement at one of the most prestigious law schools in the country.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 30, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The burden remains on Mr. Obama to explain why it's OK for billionaire talk show hosts to partake in the political process while it's not OK for laborers working for wages to do the same.

Posted by: JoeCHI | December 30, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

newagent99 are you serious or just racist? It is ashamed the real feelings people have when people think differently.

Are you questioning the integrity of the Harvard Law Review now? If so, you are the only one who is crazy enough to say it. Obama is by far, other than Ron Paul, the only scholar running for President.

Posted by: gentlegiant | December 30, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

NO more Clinton dynasty, Edward's Phony tactics and corrupted Health Industry.
Also its time to end 20 years of Clinton/Bush political


Barack Obama once quoted " if the United States had not gone to war in Iraq, the US Army would have had more resources to deal with the greater threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan"







Posted by: jkojs | December 30, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I think most Iowans who intend to caucus have made up their minds by now, whatever they may be telling the pollsters. (Playing hard to get works in political courting, too.)

The question is what are Iowans especially looking for? I'd say honesty, lack of hypocrisy, trustworthiness, seriousness, intelligence, ability to work well with others (both with advisors and across the aisle). A grown-up Boy Scout.

Hillary, unfortunately, is still the "I'm smart, you're stupid" valedictorian candidate - with a temper and a grudge although she desperately tries to conceal both. Edwards may truly be interested in helping poor people, but you can't help but notice there's always been something in it for him personally. (All right, a lot in it for him personally.)

Obama's still the one I trust to lead the whole country.

Posted by: TomJx | December 30, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Listen people- I would take either Obama or Edwards over Hillary by far. I believe this just shows how some candidates allow third party groups to attack their rivals without the candidates themselves having to take responsibility for the attacks. It is strange that former Edwards staff would leave and form such groups. It would be better for these groups to deal directly with issues as opposed to outright attacking other candidates.

But keep you eyes on the ball people, although Obama and Edwards have differences, neither is terrible and this is not the end of the world.

Posted by: gentlegiant | December 30, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

uhb, obama is NO law professor. he was hired as a lecturer for an introductory class that no Professor wanted to teach. Kindof like the TA who does the chem 101 intro.

As to the harvard law, was he the AA choice? Or a real one?

Posted by: newagent99 | December 30, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

While Edwards derides special interest groups contributing to candidates, I must ask what the Trial Lawyers Association is if not special interest? I have relatives who work in these firms, in DC, who tell me (and yes, they are Dems)they are expected to contribute to John Edwards regardless of whom they support. It isn't just an occasional lawyer that gives of his own free will, but many who expect their entire staff at all levels-clerks, secretaries as well as more upper level staff--to fund his campaign. I found this distasteful and it feels quite shabby given his pronouncements that he shuns ALL PAC money. That ain't right.

Posted by: dburro | December 30, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Do Iowans know what a 527 is? You bet your sweet bippy we do! We're also aware that the unregulated funds raised to benefit Edwards and Clinton are being used for misleading and unfair attack ads against Obama. We've seen them on tv. I agree wholeheartedly that "There is no doubt that the size of the spending and its underhanded nature deserve further scrutiny." Cmon Iowa, dont wait forever for the government to take action, stand up against Clinton and Edwards who insult our intelligence and believe they can pull this off right under our noses. Caucus for Obama!

Posted by: Katy7540 | December 30, 2007 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Please, let's open our eyes to the reality of John Edwards. This latest example of hypocrisy is quite consistent with his history. He has made millions upon millions of dollars from the "greed" of the very same corporations he now condemns, through his hedge fund management. He lives one of the most posh lives of any candidate, from his multi-million dollar home to his haircuts. He blindly supported this awful Iraq war when he could have opposed it. Now that he is running for president that is all bad? Are we so used to being manipulated and lied to by the Republicans, that we Democrats now can't even see when one of our own is doing it to us. He uses his soft-spoken southern voice, heavy with emotionally laden language to lull us into believing his closing arguments in this campaign.
I beg you Democrats, please let's not be fooled again.
We need to unite behind a candidate who has not shifted, maneuvered or squirmed out of crucial positions over the years, and who does not have to convince us that NOW what he believes is really what he believes, that NOW his positions have changed for real, not because they will get him votes.
The only electable candidate who personifies the real shift we are looking for from this type of politics is Barack Obama. No explanations needed, just, as his campaign says, change we can believe in .

Posted by: vitaletti101 | December 30, 2007 2:01 AM | Report abuse

ednyo2000 - There is no reason to embellish -
HRC failed the DC Bar exam only once. She took both the DC and AK Bar Exams the same summer and passed the AK Bar.

Frankly I am glad that I only crammed for, took, and passed one bar exam. Trying to study for and take two at once was foolhardy.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 30, 2007 1:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm kind of amused at how ednyo2000 points out that Edwards hasn't done anything to curb the power of lobbyists and corporations but touts Obama as the real deal. In just his first term as a Senator hasn't Obama taken money from lobbyists. And what has he done to curtail the influence lobbyists have in Washington? Nothing. I'm not proclaiming Edwards to be holier than thou on this issue, and Edwards himself said he's not 100% free from blame but believes that the ability to tackle poverty (a theme Edwards has been touting before he ever ran for President) and bringing about universal healthcare (a detailed plan that he presented months before the rest of the field). John Edwards' money (and plethora of it) doesn't make him any less committed to arming the forgotten class with the resources and opportunities that every American should experience. For anyone in this country to grow up as underprivileged as he did to be attacked because they made money to me is outrageous.

Posted by: cmanblack1 | December 30, 2007 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Edwards is a fake, hedge fund pirate, and a hypocrite. Great actor, though.The people of Iowa will not let his manufactured outrage at lobbyists and corporations win them over. He's done nothing to curb their power. The guy charges to give speeches on poverty for crying out loud! He did nothing in the senate that proved he cared about the poor. As far as Obama's scholarship is concerned, some of you need to show the man some respect because I'm pretty sure he's smarter than you and your candidates.HRC failed the bar exam twice.Fake Edwards and coattail-riding Hillary will not prevail.

Posted by: ednyo2000 | December 30, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

If this person, uhbkeys, thinks he is so successful then why not find a better "grass hut" for his grandmother to live in? I'm sure Kenya offers better housing than where his grandmother now lives, according to him. Or was he lying about that too? How about the criminality of snorting cocaine and smoking pot? Or did he do that before middle school, 12 years old? Of course he didn't know it was illegal, right? Okay....because he was so honest about it he is now entitled to be considered for the office of President of the United States. Right?

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 30, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

The the bright fellow pointing out Obama's lack of scholarship: go look up "Harvard Law Review President" on "the google," or perhaps "Constitutional Law Professor"

Barack Obama is not without his faults, but outrageous, false, and petty attacks on his character like these speak volumes about him.

One can assume that if you actually had anything substantive to say about Barack's character, you would. Therefor, we'll assume you have nothing, which is the truth.

Posted by: uhbkeys | December 29, 2007 11:01 PM
uhbkeys: impressed with the elmer gantry, snake oil type hawk.
So.....obama is a member of ??????????? scholarship group. Harvard Law Review? Is this an academic group that is well known or does obama wear this as a crown known primarily amongst lawyers that have graduated from Harvard, kinda like a fraternity?
Just curious.

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 30, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

cmanblack1 - - - I may not be for Edwards but I provide facts, not just hateful vitriol like so many posts I've read (many from Edwards' supporters). I just think people should be aware of the details of this whole 527 thing (and other misrepresentations about Obama). I think the DailyKos did a good job in researching the 527 issue.

Posted by: writeava | December 29, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I believe this will work in Obama's favor because he's been attracting crowds of 400-1000 several times a day all week, making this point..not specifically naming Edwards but obvious to all in the audience that it was him..his community organizing expertise has been minimized by CW all along to the detriment of the punditry's predictions, imo..

Posted by: maelisa | December 29, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

America is a Democracy - We are not a Monarchy.
Wiser folks than us - saw to it long ago, that we be fortunate enough to realize this life blessing.
Nepotism may be fine for the old-corner-store but it will only serve to fail us again -as it has, most resoundingly, for the entirety of this millennium.

Voting for the worst policy decision in our life times does not make one 'experienced'. It -IS- high time America elected a woman as commander-in-chief. When a self made woman of conviction and talent stands up and demonstrates the character that can stand as an example for us all - we should stand behind her - with conviction and fortitude. Hillary Clinton is not that woman. She is the spouse of a former and popular President. In a nation, 300 million strong, are we to believe that the person most suited to be the President just happens to be related to the last President ?!
Are we really to believe this is the case ?
Will we make this mistake, again ?

Barack Obama has the strength and certitude to take America in a new and positive direction - a direction that our evolving nation - being formed all around us all as we pass through our daily lives - very much is in need of. There really is an immediacy of the 'now' that we all share. We truly must begin to think big again and to face the immense challenges before us in brave and selfless ways again - like those people in the old faded photographs on our walls did - for us. It really is time to wake up again America. The time is, most certainly, now.

Barack Obama for President of the United States of America.

It's time for America to Rise and Shine again.

Posted by: PulSamsara | December 29, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

The issue is more of political strategy rather than it's legal implications. The storyline will be that Edward from one side of his mouth is railing against lobbyist money in our politics and at the same time the lobbyists are using backdoor channel to campaign for him. Proof? A manager in his campaign, who was on his payroll this year but resigned to form 527. When Edward said he was taking public campaign finance, most people were thinking that was political miscalculation for front-tier candidate. People knew that he could not raise campaign money at par with Hilary and Obama. Now the puzzle is beginning to make sense why Edward took that route. The proof is not a legal one but the perception in the public mind that he is a bloody hypocrite that is capable of many things.

Obama is tying hypocricy on Edward in a genteel and subtle way. Obama questions Edward about what he did on campaign ethics relating to lobbying as a US Senator for 6-years. None. These are issues that will be playing very well at the local press and talk-radio. Obama has been endorsed by many local newspapers and they will be writing editorials on Edward's hypocricies. After Iowa and if Edward survives as credible candidate, Obama will finish him off at NH where factual negative ad is not objectionable. Many Independents would be disgusted by Edward's duplicities. This story has legs, unless Edward does not survive as credible candidate after Iowa.

Posted by: jckckc | December 29, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

On several websites writeeva who posted before me has abashed Edwards at the sake of promoting Obama. Love that politics of hope you folks go about proclaiming. It's as genuine as "compassionate conservatism."
If I were Obama I'd stick to the issues, Edwards' momentum is not going to slow down in Iowa because of Obama's whining.

Posted by: cmanblack1 | December 29, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

The the bright fellow pointing out Obama's lack of scholarship: go look up "Harvard Law Review President" on "the google," or perhaps "Constitutional Law Professor"

Barack Obama is not without his faults, but outrageous, false, and petty attacks on his character like these speak volumes about him.

One can assume that if you actually had anything substantive to say about Barack's character, you would. Therefor, we'll assume you have nothing, which is the truth.

Posted by: uhbkeys | December 29, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

RE: Edwards pulling a fast one with 527s

Read the research the DailyKos did on Edwards' 527.

(1)A 527 is supposed to advocate "issues" NOT candidates. The 527 ads supporting Edwards clearly advocate for him, so it's not abiding by the law. When you advocate for a candidate, you're supposed to set-up as a PAC.
(2)The donors of the 527 INCLUDE PACs (see link on DailyKos).
(3)The 527 is run by an Edwards campaign manager (Nick Baldick) who was on his payroll this past spring.
(4)This isn't the first time Edwards has done this. Before the 2004 Iowa caucus, another Edwards aide, Jonathan Prince, left to form a 527 that spent money on advertising for Edwards in Iowa.

Edwards may be hiding behind a smokescreen of "legalese" but it is clear that he is exploiting a loophole in campaign finance laws to get more advertising dollars spent on his behalf in Iowa. Also, since PACs are contributing to the 527, Edwards IS benefiting from PAC money. He talks against 527s (and PACs), but when he can't raise as much money as his rivals, he sends out his lieutenants to start/work with 527s to funnel advertising dollars into Iowa on his behalf, then claims that he is not "coordinating" with them and makes a false show of "asking them to stop". Edwards is a phony.

With respect to the VoteHope group that is supporting Obama, that is completely different. Obama has nothing to do with them. They started up independently and he has asked them repeatedly to contribute to his campaign DIRECTLY rather than doing so through an independent group where he has no control over the message (there is past media coverage to prove this). It's one thing if some totally separate group sets up a 527 - it's quite another if, like Edwards, you bash 527 groups while at the same time your campaign has a history of having your staff leave your campaign before the Iowa caucus (in 2004, now in 2008) to work for a 527 which funnels advertising dollars into Iowa on your behalf. It's hypocrisy.

Posted by: writeava | December 29, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Chris. Finally someone inside the beltway acknowledges that Obama has defied the beltway conventional wisdom before and left it looking silly.
Obama has been doing reform for many many years. From when he was a community organizer to the reforms in the Senate.
Edwards is a very late comer. His populist streak was never around until about a year and a half ago.
And when he talks about his hating of special interests he has Mellon money funding his 527s with half a million a week before the caucus.
All campaign he has had trip ups to expose him and bring about the hypocrite question to the forefront.
While Clinton and Edwards have their special interests lobbing volleys at Obama, the upside is if he is the one to get a double barrel onslaught, that must mean he is the one to beat. So, Obama must be the frontrunner for sure in Iowa

Posted by: vwcat | December 29, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Edwards is the only real candidate with the courage to create the change we need in America today. No wonder the Republicans are so afraid of him winning!

Posted by: radiocboy | December 29, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama, please continue to waste your time talking about this while other candidates utilize their comparatively limited cash telling the electorate what they're going to do when elected. Vote in the survey--who should the Dems pick? At

Posted by: soonerthought | December 29, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

maq1: ya know...Bill Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar and one is known by the company they keep. Hillary keeps company with him nearly everyday. So, obama is a ????????? scholar? Ask E.J. Dionne, Jr. about his scholarship and George Stephanopoulos or how about Bill Bradley? Does obama belong to "another" well known scholarship group or is he just a wannabe member? Just curious.

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 29, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

oops! February, 2007 announced his candidacy ....oh well then 24 maybe 25 months okay.... that qualifies him. Right?

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 29, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

This is a big issue and I'm glad the Senator is pointing it out. While many voters may not know much about campaign finance laws, they should have their attention drawn to the hypocrisy of some candidates that claim to stand up to interest groups while benefiting from their campaign spending and maintaining connections to them, or the hypocrisy evident when a candidate claims to want to change a system after having spent years benefiting from its dysfunction. Obama is not only the most intelligent, capable and principled candidate in the field, he is the most committed to his words. this campaign finance issue is a case in point.

Posted by: maq1 | December 29, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

nrudy: obama assumed his seat in the U.S. Senate in January, 2005.... then announced his presidential candidacy in....... February, 2006 and has been on the stump since much for his EXPERIENCE in NATIONAL POLITICS. Come on people, 13 months experience is plenty...for some.

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 29, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

francislholland -- what a load of nothing. Edwards neither controls nor organized these groups. In fact, it's illegal for him to coordinate with them, even ordering them to cease. Even so, he publicly asked them to stop.

He is legally barred from doing anything, but somehow you want this to be his fault, and a reflection on him. That's just sleazy politics.

And if this is such a big deal for Obama, where's the legislation to block these groups? He's been in the Senate five years, and nothing until it became a problem for his campaign.

Now that's hypocricy.

Posted by: nrudy | December 29, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Chris, this will resonate because a) it's Iowa and the ones who caucus are saavy b) It's the final week, so people are really paynig attention there c) This plays into a weakness of edwards, the suspicions that his populism is phony fueled by unfavorable coverage about his wealth, headge fund employment with fortress, and of course the $400 haricut. While this may tip some undecideds to Obama, the bigger effect is that this could depress Edwards' base and turnout. Are people going to walk through fire for someone just credibly branded a hypocrite? We shall see. Also, Obama is "attacking from a defensive position" so he is able to land blows with little blowback to him as voters give Obama a pass to defend himself against outside, non-Iowa groups attacking him, playing into the Iowa pride things as well. Did you catch the quote about Edwards calling the Mellon family oligarchs but we now now these oligarchs are funding his 527. I can't believe Edwards would be so stupid to tell such a big whopper. Sorry guys, the guy is smooth, he is southern, but he is one big phony who has put the wool over many Iowa voters with his melliflous voice. Obama is piercing the ballon. We shall see how efeective this is.

Posted by: RKARKA | December 29, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Poll after poll shows voters are following this election more closely than any one in modern history, and in Iowa in particular voters tend to know far more about the in and outs of a campaign due to their quadrennial role in picking the president.'

Sorry CC but you miss an important point. I have traveled to over 44 of our fifty states, not to mention over dozens of overseas. When it comes to politics most people have not a clue what the name of their Senator or Congress rep is.

This is not just in small town America, who have seen their local papers being closed due to lack of interest. Anyone who rides the subways here in NYC can tell you that more people have iPods on than are reading a newspaper, except a free or daily tabloid.

As for polls there are many things that are not looked at by them. First is that people tend to give answers they thing that they should, so they don't seem stupid or the given choices, a,b,c,d or none of the above they guess. Next is that they do not take into consideration the many who now only use cells.

My last point is that I do not think 'voters are following this election more closely than any one in modern history'. I think the ones following are people like me, political junkies, and you in the press. Maybe to keep your jobs?

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | December 29, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

You bet we know what a 527 is. Can you spell S-W-I-F-T-B-O-A-T-E-R-S ? The trouble is they can throw all kinds of mud and the candidates can play innocent. Just watch for more sneaky inuendos from Clinton supporters about Obama.

Posted by: joy2 | December 29, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"...David Plouffe put out a memo...".

So what?

Obama surely will not mention this in public appearances in order to avoid the appearance of whining.

If there is anything I learned in the last two nights of socializing with the year-end eclectic group [YEEG}, no one likes a whiner. Most of the YEEG has not made up its mind, although the pro golfer lady is gung-ho for HRC. Most of the YEEG think that Obama and Huck are "decent". The few who are pol junkies have generally settled on McCain or Rudy or any D but HRC. Two of the junkie YEEGs think Biden and McCain are the best in their parties, as I do.

There is no love for WMR in the
YEEG. There seems to be a higher dislike for HRC and WMR than for the others, but at least HRC has some defenders, while WMR does not. The staunchest RG defender pointed out that NYC is historically the second toughest gov job in America and RG did it successfully, if not lovably.

Most of the YEEG are more concerned about outsourcing than about IAs/undocs - two of twenty+ had changed jobs in 2007 b/c of it.
No one had lost their job to a Mexican roofer.

If Obama or Huck whine, they lose their "niceguy" statuses [stati?] with the YEEG. A woman who works as a national trainer for the American Cancer Society had seen the Obama campaign criticism of the Edwards "money" and also seen Huck's Merry Xmas response to WMR. She would favor Obama against most Rs if the race were tomorrow but she really thought Huck handled WMR better than Obama handled the 527.

None of the YEEG dislike McCain but some think he is "too old". There were more leaning Ds than leaning Rs by maybe either one or two in the YEEG, but last year the D lean was a little stronger.

There are no WB defenders in the YEEG, even among the 8 or so who voted for him in '04.

One little slice of life, from Austin.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 29, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

obama's just ticked because he didn't get any of those endorsements he sought. Imagine the tune he'd be singing if he'd won an endorsement and the money was being spent on ads FOR him.

he'd being talking about how they are democracy in action....

great point about obama and oprah, jdun...

Posted by: newagent99 | December 29, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

We, the voters, get it but apparently this "guy" doesn't. And he is supposed to be intelligent? Obama is sadly scraping the bottom of the barrel eluding to Edwards doing something he wouldn't do. Come on people, these are politicians. At least Edwards has not accused him of taking money from the O, which we know he did. BTW Where is the O? Hmmm.... Is this the same kind of ploy. Today he is threatening his so called constituency about not running again if he does not win this election. Good. If he is not in this for the long haul then we are much better off.
Joe Biden For President 2008!!!!!!!!

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 29, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

This is an important line of attack because it shows that Edwards is a hypocrite, attacking big money in campaigns while taking $495,000.00 from the Mellon family. It's back to the brown paper bag money drops of the Nixon Administration. It shows that, in spite of all of John Edwards' talk of reform he's really a just a crafty hypocrite.

Meanwhile, John Edwards says he wants to be president to help the poor, but is there any evidence that the poor want his help?

Posted by: francislholland | December 29, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

So in Obama's world -- it is just fine to get millions of free media from celebrity friend Oprah -- but working men and women should have no voice ? Whose healthcare, jobs and education is at stake here ?

And what about the Vote Hope 527 helping Obama in California -- also funded by celebrities ?

Hypocrisy will win no votes.

Posted by: jdurkan | December 29, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

You mean we can do direct mail? ****... we got a blimp. :P

Posted by: jsu8233n | December 29, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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