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Commentary: Obama already struggling with lobbyist promises

  • Story Highlights
  • Brown: A year ago, Obama said lobbyists' "days of setting the agenda are over"
  • But, she says, newspaper reports Obama team is loaded with ex-lobbyists
  • Obama team says its rules on lobbying ties are strict, Brown says
  • But that's not the promise Obama made, she says
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By Campbell Brown
CNN
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Editor's note: Campbell Brown anchors CNN's "Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull" at 8 p.m. ET Mondays through Fridays. She delivered this commentary during the "Cutting through the Bull" segment of Monday night's broadcast.

CNN's Campbell Brown it's true that lobbyists often are well informed on how Washington works.

CNN's Campbell Brown it's true that lobbyists often are well informed on how Washington works.

(CNN) -- I want you to hear something President-elect Barack Obama said just about a year ago:

"I am running to tell the lobbyists in Washington that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. They won't work in my White House."

Just this weekend The New York times published a list of names -- a rather long list of names of people -- who are working on Obama's transition team or who have accepted jobs in his White House who are either former lobbyists or who have close ties to lobbyists.

The Times reports that some of those people were lobbying as recently as this year. Video Watch Campbell Brown's commentary »

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Now, the Obama team is quick to point out that their rules and restrictions on lobbying ties are far stricter than any previous administration.

And the Obama folks concede that eliminating anyone in Washington who had ever lobbied Congress or who has a family member who lobbied Congress would be foolish.

And it's true, you could argue the reality of Washington and our government is that lobbyists are often the most informed people on a given issue.

But we certainly never heard Obama articulate it quite that way when he was candidate Obama. What he said then was:

"That's what happens when lobbyists set the agenda and that's why they won't drown out your voices anymore when I am president of the United States of America."

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And that is a promise that he may already be struggling to keep.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Campbell Brown.

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