In an ad that hasn't officially been released to reporters, the Obama campaign goes hard after John McCain for employing big-time lobbyists in high ranking positions.
The spot, entitled "Special Interest," leaked out on Friday despite what Democratic officials say was Obama's design of waiting until the weekend. The ad is indicative of the continued battle between the two candidates over who can best carry the mantle of reform.
"John McCain's chief adviser lobbies for oil companies, even from Russia and China. His campaign manager lobbies for corporations outsourcing American jobs. The campaign chairman he picked last year -- a bank lobbyist. If seven of McCain's top advisers are lobbyists, who do you think will run his White House? John McCain. We just can't afford more of the same."
The McCain campaign was out with a response immediately, claiming Obama was the one ineffectual when it came to taking on special interests.
"Suffering at the hands of his own underperforming, deeply partisan, do-nothing record, Barack Obama has hastily resorted to blatant hypocrisy or simple ignorance to his own lobby-driven campaign," said spokesman Tucker Bounds, spokesman. "The truth is Barack Obama's campaign is saddled with former lobbyists, and John McCain is the only candidate who has led the fight to root out the influence of corporate money in politics..."
So who is right? The fact that the question is still debated is, in itself, remarkable. David Donnelly, head of Campaign Money Watch, a national campaign finance watchdog group, offered the following statement regarding the back and forth.
"Under President Bush, Americans have witnessed Washington and the economy work well for the oil companies, the health insurance industry, and the big money players who can afford to hire one of John McCain's many lobbyists. During these difficult times, Americans want their government to listen to them, not to those who continue the pay-to-play system. Sadly, John McCain's campaign, as this ad describes, is captive to big money lobbyists, and he has refused in this campaign to support comprehensive policies that will clean up Washington."