Rick Davis, campaign manager: Verizon, SBC Telecommunications. Charles Black, chief political adviser: Alcoa, US Airways, General Motors, United Technologies, JP Morgan, AT&T. Mark Buse, Senate chief of staff: Goldman Sachs, Cablevision, Tenneco, Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Former Rep. Tom Loeffer, top fundraising official: Saudi Arabia, Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Toyota, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.To be fair, other candidates also use lobbyists in their campaigns. Hillary Clinton has two topsiders, Harold Ickes and Mark Penn, who are lobbyists, and Penn even heads Burson Marsteller Worldwide, a powerful firm with Microsoft as a client. Barack Obama has been advised by former Sen. Tom Daschle, who advises corporate clients. But McCain by contrast is off the charts. Public Citizen reports that McCain had at least 59 registered federal lobbyists raising money for his campaign, compared with 19 for Clinton. All this suggests that another element of the case against George Bush, his extreme friendliness to corporate America, might emerge as a key campaign issue. McCain already risks carrying the Bush albatross on Iraq and tax cuts. It's hard to imagine that his protestations of innocence and incorruptibility will be enough to reassure many independent voters that it's okay that he can be surrounded at his highest staff level by lobbyists of powerful corporations. It certainly won't help him to charge Obama with being naive. Speaking of Obama, there's an interesting Boeing angle in all this. McCain has been a powerful foe of Boeing, shooting down its contract to lease tankers to the Air Force, and continuing to bedevil Boeing in its hopes for a $40 billion contract to build 179 tankers. The original deal for Boeing was put together by Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Ted Stevens, the powerful Alaska Republican. McCain asked tough questions, and the whole thing exploded in Boeing's face, leading to the resignations of two Boeing CEOs. The Obama angle is this: his home state is Illinois, where Boeing has its headquarters. Furthermore, two key Boeing supporters for the new contract are Norm Dicks in the House and Murray in the Senate, both of whom are supporting Clinton (herself a powerful figure on Defense issues). In an Obama-McCain contest, Washington state would have a powerful economic stake in defeating McCain.
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