Obama Hires Senior Adviser With Questionable Ties
by Jeff Dinelli
Barack Obama has hired Moses Mercado to be the candidate's senior adviser, and eyebrows are being raised throughout the campaign trail and Washington. Mercado is a campaign veteran, having worked for Dick Gephardt and John Kerry previously, but that's not the problem. The problem is he's also a lobbyist with Ogilvy Government Relations, whose clients include the National Rifle Association, the Carlyle Group, the Blackstone Group, Monsanto, Pfizer Inc., United Health Group, Sempra Energy and Constellation Energy.
This contradicts his boasting of being above the evil business interests he says have led to global warming, a huge gap between the poor and the well-off in this country, and have made prescription drug prices outrageously high. In June Obama made a speech lamenting the role of lobbyists in the political process, and that he "sought to make the case that the culture of influence in Washington affects the pocketbooks of Americans in myriad ways, from drug prices to student-loan interest rates -- both of which, he argued, are inflated through industry manipulation of public policy." He went on to say, "What's most outrageous is not the morally offensive conduct on behalf of these lobbyists and legislators, but the morally offensive laws and decisions that get made as a result."
If Obama can get away with criticizing other candidates for working too closely with lobbyists, what are we to make of his hiring a lobbyist with a very shady clientele list for a major position in his campaign? Is this a change in philosophy or what?