Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Protest Queen No Subsidies for Oil Companies

Fox 'n Friends Gretchen whippee during her interview with Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton elicited little more than was already known about Clinton's proposal for Prez Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies for the Olympics to be held in China this year...

Gretchen turns her attention to ask about the Iraq War surge and General Petraeayas whose name Move On.org screwed up on purpose in ads and Hillary didn't object.

No she wasn't asked why she didn't object to Moveon's tactics, she was asked about Petraeayas and her comments the surge isn't working, etc.

Asked about Obama's comment he's better at foreign policy yep you guessed it Hillary Clinton laughed... (there's a youtube video splicing all the laughs together).

Clinton actually said she was speechless about Barack Obama's highlighting foreign policy she said he doesn't have.

Odd, Gretchen didn't ask one question about Clinton's claims about experience while First Lady and her travels - claiming she was the first wife since Eleanor Roosevelt to travel to a war zone, or some such. (Mrs. Carter accomplished such first)

Hillary Clinton says she'll leave it up to the voters to decide on experience and qualifications, etc.

No question was forthcoming concerning husband Bill Clinton's consultant fees which have mounted to some millions and his support of a Columbia free-trade agreement.

With Congress about to vote on the matter, Gretchen didn't see the problem with one Clinton receiving hundreds of thousands in monies from Columbian trade supporters for speeches while the other Clinton professes a new approach (from her husband's) on such free trade pacts with foreign governments.

Bill Clinton collected $800,000 speaking fees from Columbia Free Trade Group. ALWAYS FOLLOW THE MONEY. Posted by Anonymous on April 10, 2008 - 5:55pm

...Bill Clinton collected $800,000 in “speaking fees” from a Columbian pro-free trade group...




Free Trade Agreement with Columbia goes before US Congress


Discussion forum highlight


April 08, 2008
Categories: Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton backed Colombia trade deal: 'Estoy a favor'


Gretchen asks how does she compete against Obama's money machine?

He's outspending me, careful about my resources, he ran a misleading ad, he hasn't taken money from oil companies, she voted against more subsidies for oil cos he didn't... OK

Yep. Clinton's comments were a major nudge for us to check the factchecker/s.

David Axelrod appeared on Morning Joe and was specifically asked about the ad which has received criticism lately for its primary statement that Obama doesn't "take money from oil companies."

Factcheck.org's article, Obama's Oil Spill
March 31, 2008, claims the comment is slick and misleading spin.

Newsbusters highlighted the Factcheck.org in its April 13, 2008 piece:

Obama's Deceptive Anti-Oil Ad: 'I Don't Take $ From Oil Companies'
By Warner Todd Huston April 13, 2008 - 12:02 ET


We thought we'd take a look at how their findings hold up under scrutiny.

Bill Clinton went further in recent comments which were also played and discussed on Morning Joe.

It appeared David Axelrod, Chief Strategist for the Barack Obama campaign, stood by the Obama statement in its full context - Obama "doesn't take money from oil companies OR Washington lobbyists."

We'll get the transcript as the group moved on rather quickly to Joe Scarborough's testy reaction to mostly (Fox) a rival network's charges from one of the network's influential pundits (O'Reilly) that MSNBC treads lightly regarding Barack Obama.

There is a basis to criticize Obama for his precise wording in the ad, "I don't take money from oil companies..." since candidates have been prevented from that "specifically" by law regarding any corporation.

Is there basis for Factcheck.org to raise the concerns it does in its piece?

factcheck.org does its best to raise concerns about "misleading" tactics. They provide the statement in the ad in full, but entitle it: Obama '08 Ad: Nothing's Changed

Now one could say, that's the gist of what Obama is saying about Washington, particularly in regard to special-interests and lobbyists. "Nothing's Changed." He's stated at the outset of his presidential campaign he won't take monies from lobbyists. It is prudent to be watchful to make sure he honors that.

He's all about change, the way things have been done are not the way he is going to go about the business of the country.

But the way Factcheck.org titles the Obama statement, Obama '08 Ad: Nothing's Changed and its headline "Obama's Oil Spill" hardly show a neutral portrayal of the ad just after the facts, ma'am. The wording implies nothing has changed with Obama either, and the headline shows a conclusion on the part of Factcheck.org, rather than stating the mere facts.

But worse, Factcheck.org neglects to supply readers a most telling factor in its analysis. They even claim the material wasn't available from the source they used for donations under $250.

Factcheck.org doesn't indicate the small amounts $250 or less coming from an array of donors as the AP (Yahoo News) clip reveals amount to "most" of the campaign contributions from those individual donors.

Then how did the AP (Yahoo News) article find:

...In January and February alone, Obama received nearly $18,000 from Exxon Mobil workers, according to Federal Election Commission records. Most of the donations were of $250 or less; the money came from workers ranging from executives to engineers to geologists to shift supervisors...


Hardly exclusively the type of donors who would raise eyebrows. And not the way Factcheck.org portrays.

Aren't the smaller donations from more individuals more in keeping overall with Obama's overwhelming fund-raising statistics: small amounts from some hundreds-of-thousands of individuals - reaching according to news reports - over a million individual donors, to date.

So one has to question Factcheck.org's article entitled as it and whether its findings provide as impartial and forthright material as they should.

Factcheck.org also makes this statement:

Two of Obama's bundlers are top executives at oil companies and are listed on his Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the presidential hopeful.


We're checking that because there are distinctive differences in terminology including the term, "bundlers."

We've found a partial response from the Obama campaign, here:


From the response, we still can't make a determination whether oil company executives actually "bundled" monies from individual donors into PACS.

The Obama campaign site contains this quote from a spokesperson:

"Senator Obama is the only candidate in the race who doesn't accept campaign contributions from special interests PACs and Washington lobbyists, and that includes oil companies and oil lobbyists.


Apparently, there is a difference between bundling contributions from "special interest PACS," and the amount of monies individually donated by individuals (which also has a cap of $2,500 per individual) working for a particular company, oil company or otherwise.

We're leaning towards the truthfulness of the Obama spokesman, Tommy Vietor, as one should understand that such special interest PACs would be public information as such, and that amount is legally set as limited to some $5,000 per candidate, per election.

Soft money bundlers maximum limitation


The Factcheck.org site also has this to say:

When the Clinton campaign criticized Obama's ad, calling it "false advertising," Obama's campaign quickly noted that he didn't take money from political action committees or lobbyists.

We'd say the Obama campaign is trying to create a distinction without very much of a practical difference. Political action committee funds are pooled contributions from a company's or an organization's individual employees or members; corporate lobbyists often have a big say as to where a PAC's donations go. But a PAC can give no more than $5,000 per candidate, per election. We're not sure how a $5,000 contribution from, say, Chevron's PAC would have more influence on a candidate than, for example, the $9,500 Obama has received from Chevron employees giving money individually.

In addition, two oil industry executives are bundling money for Obama – drumming up contributions from individuals and turning them over to the campaign. George Kaiser, the chairman of Oklahoma-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co., ranks 68th on the Forbes list of world billionaires. He's listed on Obama's Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the candidate. Robert Cavnar is president and CEO of Milagro Exploration LLC, an oil exploration and production company. He's named as a bundler in the same category as Kaiser.

We're not making any judgments about whether Obama is influenced by campaign contributions. In fact, we'd note that he singles out ExxonMobil in this ad, even though he's received more than $30,850 from individuals who work for the company. But we do think that in theory, contributions that come in volume from oil industry executives, or are bundled by them, can be every bit as influential as PAC contributions, if not more so...


So on the one hand Factcheck.org isn't saying Obama has been influenced by what they claim are bundler's efforts, on the other hand "contributions that come in volume from oil industry executives, or are bundled by them, can be every bit as influential as PAC contributions, if not more so."

It's as if Factcheck.org wants to proclaim at the same time it disclaims... we'll just leave you with this, they imply.

Factcheck.org wording is also called into question.

on the other hand "contributions that come in volume from oil industry executives, or are bundled by them...

Obama Campaign Promises New Disclosure on Bundlers
November 06, 2007 11:56 AM
Rhonda Schwartz and Justin Rood Report:


Again, the Factcheck.org site makes a big deal of the potential a couple of oil industry execs according to them, bundled, monies, but makes no effort to reveal the most contributions that came from the oil company quarters came from individuals contributing less than $250.

Even more troubling is the statement:

After noting details about PACs and the maximum amount of contribution from them, $5,000, Factcheck.org says:

We're not sure how a $5,000 contribution from, say, Chevron's PAC would have more influence on a candidate than, for example, the $9,500 Obama has received from Chevron employees giving money individually.

They're not sure because they are apparently focused on the big bad "oil companies."

They don't appear to understand even the individual working for Haliburton has a right to contribute to the campaign of anybody they'd like.

And a whole bunch of individuals related or unrelated to whatever big bad company of the day or year have the same right to contribute. It's called freedom of speech.

They've left out of their piece most of the monies came from individuals in the form of contributions of $250, or less.

Factcheck.org wraps things around wording intended to do nothing less than sway by this statement:

Here's a chart we made, using the OpenSecrets.org database, of contributions to Obama from individuals employed by some of the largest oil companies in the U.S. Our numbers are conservative because the database doesn't include donations of less than $200 (federal law doesn't require the reporting of donations below that amount), and we haven't included sums donated by the spouses or other immediate family members of the employees. Additionally, we haven't included donations from people who work at smaller firms in the industry.


...from individuals employed by some of the largest oil companies in the U.S.

It's as if that in and of itself is a no no - to even work for "some of the largest oil companies in the U.S." and donate to Obama's campaign, just awful, Factcheck.org seems to be swaying us to believe.

That's like saying: employed by some of the largest school districts in the U.S. or the largest Planned Parenthood counseling service in the U.S., or the largest health-care industry in the U.S., or Haliburton, or whatever we can tag the "largest" of something we don't favor.

Factcheck.org is also a project of the Annenberg Foundation. It's a worthy project, but it becomes of far less value and engenders skepticism when neutrality has taken a secondary position to the ultimate mission - find the facts - leave out the slant.

Unfortunately for us, the piece has a view, and that's what should be missing from any true fact checker.

On another front, the Washington Post article lays out in at least one sentence a bit of material that needs fact checking itself in its article:

Big Donors Among Obama's Grass Roots
'Bundlers' Have a Voice in Campaign

Donors who have given more than $200 account for about half of Obama's total haul, which stands at nearly $240 million.


Doesn't that equate to at least half of Obama's total haul is accounted for by those who have given less than $200?

What's wrong with that? Why didn't the WP entitle its piece Big and Small Donors Equal Among Obama's Grass Roots.

But look closely and you'll see that the WP says "about half" of Obama's total comes from those who gave more than $200.

Why didn't the WP use the starting figure of $250? Then they might have to say: More than half of Obama's total haul came from individuals contributing $250, or less. And then they would have to say: less than half of Obama's total haul came from individuals contributing more than $250.

It's all in how our news media wants to play the role of watchdog or the role of influence in politics.

Factcheck.org reference to material from the Center for Responsive Politics


May be connected with others?

Reining in the campaign bundlers
Posted by David Kassel on December 13, 2007


(Net the Truth Online)

AP: Fact check: Obama and oil money
By Jim Kuhnhenn Mon Mar 31, 1:53 PM ET

...THE FACTS: True enough, Obama does not take money from oil companies. No candidate does. It is illegal for corporations to give money to politicians. Corporations, however, do have political action committees that collect voluntary donations from employees and then donate them to candidates. Obama doesn't take money from PACs. He also doesn't take money from lobbyists.

But he does accept money from executives and other employees of oil companies and two of his fundraisers are oil company executives. As of Feb. 29, Obama's presidential campaign had received nearly $214,000 from oil and gas industry employees and their families, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Clinton had received nearly $307,000 from industry workers and their families and Republican Sen. John McCain, the likely GOP presidential nominee, received nearly $394,000, according to the center's totals.

Two of Obama's fundraisers are Robert Cavnar, the chairman and chief executive of Houston-based Mission Resources Corp., and George Kaiser, the president and CEO of Tulsa-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co.

In January and February alone, Obama received nearly $18,000 from Exxon Mobil workers, according to Federal Election Commission records. Most of the donations were of $250 or less; the money came from workers ranging from executives to engineers to geologists to shift supervisors. Overall, he has raised about $34,000 from Exxon Mobil workers since the beginning of his campaign. Exxon Mobil employees have given Clinton about $16,000 since the beginning of last year.


Washington Post The Trail
Ad Watch
Obama Ad Ignites Questions on Oil Money
By Howard Kurtz
It all depends on the meaning of the words "oil companies."

In a new ad airing in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama uses a gas-station backdrop to declare: "Exxon's making $40 billion a year and we're paying $3.50 for gas. I'm Barack Obama and I don't take money from oil companies or lobbyists and I won't let them block change anymore."

This drew an e-mail blast from Hillary Clinton's team, which accused him of "false advertising." Clinton aides said Obama's presidential campaign has received more than $160,000 from oil and gas companies -- including $8,400 from Exxon and $12,370 from Chevron just last month. And two oil-company chief executives have acted as Obama fundraisers.

But the Illinois senator does not, as his campaign was quick to note, accept donations from corporate political action committees or lobbyists. The contributions flagged by Clinton's side come from individual executives and employees in the oil industry. That distinction, of course, may be lost on viewers who see Obama say flatly he takes no money "from oil companies."


Another Washington Post factchecker The Trail piece

Clinton Critiques Obama PAC
Nov. 26, 2007


Good rundown of some org connections and connections and connections, but not in a negative way. We check everything, you know.

GMCA Report Card


For the really hooked


Political Fact-Check Web Sites
by Paula J. Hane
Posted On October 1, 2007

...The distinguished Washington Post writer Michael Dobbs is the author of The Fact Checker. The site also calls upon the research expertise of Alice Crites, who has been the "crack researcher" for The Post’s investigative department for the better part of the last decade, where she worked on three Pulitzer-winning series.

The Fact Checker aims to be simple, straightforward, and unbiased. And, it wants to involve readers in the discourse—the fact-checking is designed to be a collaborative effort. Readers are encouraged to get involved in the discussion on the Web and to suggest subjects to fact-check. Significant new fact-check items are also posted on The Trail, The Post’s daily diary of Campaign 2008...


Note the Newsbreaks site points out Washington Post factchecker effort relies on material from the likes of opensecrets.org and Factcheck.org

What readers have to recognize, if material from one source is slanted, use caution when reading material it's based upon.


Unite and Concur Resources



Fayette Commissioners remarks about Barack Obama during conference call

As Obama was making his first political foray into Westmoreland County, the Clinton campaign tried to take some of the luster off his visit. In a conference call with reporters, Westmoreland County Commissioner Thomas Ceraso and Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Vincent Zapotosky accused Obama of taking contributions from oil companies, but airing television ads claiming he hasn't.

They demanded Obama remove the ad from the air. They said that while Clinton also has accepted oil company money, she is not airing ads claiming she hasn't.

Ceraso said Pennsylvania voters "deserve a little straight talk" and need a clear choice "between talk and action and rhetoric and results."

They said Obama accepted $160,000 in donations from executives of Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and Chevron and voted for Vice President Dick Cheney's energy bill.


No comments: