Barack Obama has started getting some major-league vetting from the media, and so far he looks like a AAA prospect brought up a season or two too early. After releasing a TV ad saying that he doesn’t take money from the oil industry, ABC News calls shenanigans. Jake Tapper notes that Factcheck did what its name implies, and like Jed Clampett, found some bubblin’ crude in Obama’s neighborhood:
When my family back in Pennsylvania turns on the TV these days, they may see this Barack Obama TV ad where he’s standing in a gas station saying the following:
“Since the gas lines of the ’70s, Democrats and Republicans have talked about energy independence, but nothing’s changed — except now Exxon’s making $40 billion a year, and we’re paying $3.50 for gas.
I’m Barack Obama. I don’t take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists, and I won’t let them block change anymore. They’ll pay a penalty on windfall profits. We’ll invest in alternative energy, create jobs and free ourselves from foreign oil. I approve this message because it’s time that Washington worked for you. Not them.”
Factcheck.org today takes a look at Obama’s claim to not take money from oil companies and concludes that the statement “misleading” since according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics Obama has taken more than $213,000 from individuals (and their spouses) who work for companies in the oil and gas industry — not to mention that two of Obama’s top fundraisers are top executives at oil companies”.
And as Tapper points out, nobody takes money from oil companies, or any other kind of corporations, because it’s illegal to do so. At best, Obama issued a deceptive non-sequitur, and at worst, flat-out lied about his funding. Shall we now get into a debate over the word “companies”, akin to Bill Clinton’s parsing of the word “is”?
Put this on top of the CJR article about which AP wrote so well earlier, and we can start sensing a shift in coverage for Obama. It started with the Saturday Night Live satire that skewered the national media’s apple-polishing coverage of Obama for the previous year, which coincided with the start of the Tony Rezko trial. Obama’s rumored distance with beat reporters may have contributed to the shift as well, but whatever prompted it, the press has started testing Obama — and so far, he has responded poorly.
I think Republicans may have overestimated Obama. Many thought it would be easier to beat Hillary Clinton in a general election, but Obama looks almost completely incompetent under pressure. In the last couple of weeks, he has been caught by the Washington Post and ABC News in a series of misrepresentations and errors, on top of his fumbling attempts to explain away his 20-year association with a hate-speech, demagoguing conspiracy nut.
Update: One of our commenters says, What’s the big deal? It’s only 0.2% of his contributions! The big deal is that he has oil executives out raising money for him when he claims that he won’t deal with oil-industry lobbyists and hasn’t taken a dime from “oil companies” — in other words, he’s lying through his teeth. New Politics, eh?