The Campaign Spot

‘All Statements from Barack Obama Come with an Expiration . . .’ Ah, You Know the Drill

Remember those bold pledges from Obama that he was going to stop government from serving lobbyists first? Promises like, “They won’t work in my White House!”

Apparently the plan is to keep them out of the White House by hiring them to work in places like the Pentagon.

President-elect Barack Obama, who campaigned on lessening the influence of lobbyists in government, has chosen a defense expert who is currently a vice president and lobbyist for one of the country’s biggest defense contractors to be his deputy secretary of defense.

Obama’s transition office announced that William Lynn, an undersecretary of defense in President Bill Clinton’s second term, is nominated to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ deputy.

Lynn is currently a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts and is the maker of the Army’s Patriot Missile system and the Tomahawk missile used by the Navy. The company is also developing a global positioning satellite communication system with the Air Force.

As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.

So what’s the explanation?

Obama’s transition office acknowledged that appointing a lobbyist did not, on the face of it, seem in line with the president-elect’s ethics stance but that Lynn’s qualifications and the recommendations that came from both Republicans and Democrats made him the top candidate.
“Because Mr. Lynn came so highly recommended from experts across the political spectrum, the president-elect felt it was critical that he fill this position,” said Obama transition spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Let me help you with that statement, Mr. Vietor. I think the words you’re looking for are, “All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.”


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