Reality Check

Reality Check: Obama Ad Ties McCain To Lobbyists

Ad Labels McCain As Someone With Strong Lobbyist Connections

MADISON, Wis. - A new Sen. Barack Obama ad tries to challenge Sen. John McCain's commitment to reform in Washington by pointing out his ties to lobbyists.

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McCain has branded himself and his running mate as mavericks and reformers, but Obama challenges that in an ad that examines McCain's inner circle.

The problem with the ad, a WISC-TV analysis found, is that someone needs to check the verb tenses.

The ad makes it look like these staffers are currently lobbying in Congress, while in fact none of them are currently lobbyists.

"It's over; it's over for the special interests. Wait a second: John McCain's chief adviser lobbies for oil companies - - even from Russia and China," said the ad.

McCain's senior adviser is Charlie Black. It's true that he has been a lobbyist, but he currently is not.

In 2004, he was listed as a lobbyist for Russian oil company Yukos. He's also lobbied for companies like General Motors and AT&T. Black left his lobbying job in March of 2008.

The ad continued, "His campaign manager lobbies for corporations outsourcing American jobs."

Rick Davis is McCain's campaign manager and a former telecommunications lobbyist.

He's lobbied for companies like SBC and Verizon, which have outsourced.

"The campaign chairman he picked last year, a bank lobbyist," said the ad.

First of all, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm is no longer McCain's national campaign co-chair; he stepped down in July. Gramm was a registered lobbyist for Swiss bank UBS until April.

He is still a vice chairman with the bank and, though a McCain supporter, he's no longer with the campaign.

The ad continued, "If seven of McCain's top advisers are lobbyists, who do you think will run his White House?"

Other McCain campaign staffers and fundraisers do have lobbying histories, a WISC-TV analysis found.

Many of them terminated their lobbying associations earlier this year after Davis reportedly issued an order that no person working for the campaign be a paid lobbyist.

Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, brings some lobbyist connections.

Biden's son only recently stepped down as a lobbyist with a Washington firm.

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