Tuesday, February 07, 2006

John McCain Flames Barack Obama

John McCain is unhappy that Barack Obama chose not to join him in cleaning up the Republican's lobbying mess. In his letter to Obama published in the Chicago Tribune, McCain did what was once considered bad form by questioning a colleague's motives:
I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership's preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions...
What did Obama say to merit the wrath of McCain? Instead of signing on to a McCain-led effort to craft a bispartisan response to the lobbying scandal, Yahoo News reports that Obama chose to support S. 2180, the Honest Leadership Act, a measure cosponsored by 40 Democrats:
Obama, in last week's letter, promoted a bill backed by House and Senate Democrats that would take similar action on members becoming lobbyists, disclosure and corporate jets. It also bans gifts, meals from lobbyists or organizations that employ lobbyists and creates a new office of public integrity in the House to monitor compliance of lobbying rules.
Obama also questioned the effectiveness of McCain's proposal to set up a task force to further study the lobbying ethics issue.
Aides to McCain confirmed that McCain saw Obama's first letter as partisan. "I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble," McCain wrote.
"During my short time in the U.S. Senate," Obama responded Monday, "one of the aspects about this institution that I have come to value most is the collegiality and the willingness to put aside partisan differences to work on issues that help the American people. It was in this spirit that I approached you to work on ethics reform, and it was in this spirit that I agreed to attend your bipartisan meeting last week."

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