- (Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
A common theme has emerged from President Barack Obama's critics from both the right and the left – he has not kept the promises he made in 2008. The most recent attack came from a Republican National Committee ad accusing Obama of coddling lobbyists.
The ad shows Obama in a 2008 campaign speech saying, "we will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists," with the words, "the promise, Candidate Obama, 2008" across the screen. The ad then cuts to TV news reports about lobbyist influence in the Obama administration. The ad ends with a photo of Obama at a dinner, insinuatingly with lobbyists, delivering a toast. The words, "from hope to hypocrisy, the senator who became a sellout," are across the screen.
The ad is based, in part, on an exposé earlier this month in The New York Times depicting a tight relationship between large donations to Obama's reelection campaign and visits to the White House. The article revealed that some wealthy donors were accompanied by lobbyists during their visit.
The criticism that Obama has not lived up to his campaign promises has been especially prominent from liberals.
A March 6 editorial by liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called "Settling in to Washington's ways" complains that Obama has placed lobbyists in prominent White House positions. They were not technically lobbyists at the time. They de-registered as lobbyists when Obama won office, but continued many of the lobbying activities they were doing while registered lobbyists.
"Such an arrangement may not violate the letter of Obama's ethics policy, but it makes a joke of the spirit of reform he promised," Milbank complained.
The Onion, a comedy website, also mocked Obama for not living up to his campaign promises in a satirical article called, "Obama Launches More Realistic 'I Have Big Ideas But We'll See How It Goes' Campaign Slogan."
David Gregory, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," quoted passages from The Onion's article Sunday while interviewing the Obama Campaign's senior adviser, David Axelrod.
"It gets a laugh, is there any greater truth to that?" Gregory asked.
Axelrod answered "no" and blamed Republicans for the lack of progress on Obama's agenda.
"I think big things can happen," Axelrod said, "but we've got to get past this period we've been in where we've had obstructionism as a political theory on the other side."