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White House Denies Cozying Up to Special Interests; Reality Begs to Differ

2:02 PM, Jun 15, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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The Obama campaign just sent out the following fundraising email from the president today:

I've set aside time for four supporters like you to join me for dinner.

Most campaigns fill their dinner guest lists primarily with Washington lobbyists and special interests.

We didn't get here doing that, and we're not going to start now. We're running a different kind of campaign. We don't take money from Washington lobbyists or special-interest PACs -- we never have, and we never will.

We rely on everyday Americans giving whatever they can afford -- and I want to spend time with a few of you.

As Tim Carney notes, this is demonstrably, laughably untrue:

Umm, that's not really accurate.

Obama spends many nights every month dining with special interests. I know, because I review the lists of the folks who pay $30,800 for the privilege of private dinners with the President.

I guess Obama could argue that the wealthy folks funding his campaign aren't "special interests." But if he did so he would be lying or twisting words beyond recognition.

Is Cecile Richards, head of uber-powerful abortion lobby Planned Parenthood not a "special interest"? Because she dined with Obama at a fundraiser in Austin earlier this year. How about Google lobbyist (unregistered) Vint Cerf, who gave the max to Obama?

You ever hear of Duke Energy? You know, the largest nuclear power company in America? Duke's CEO gave more than $30k to attend a fundraiser with Obama. Industrialist Elon Musk, who owns an an electric car company -- is he not a special interest?

Hedge fund mogul Raj Rajaratnum -- since convicted of insider trading -- gave the max to Obama, and most likely attended a fundraising dinner.

And we'll just take this story from today's Politico to drive the point home:

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday denied that the amount of money donors raised for Barack Obama in 2008 had any role in their appointments to key administration positions.

“Being a supporter does not qualify you for a job,” Carney told reporters. “But it does not disqualify you.”

“I’m saying that the president appoints people based on their qualifications,” Carney said.

But no, the Obama campaign has never been about special interests. The president just wants to break bread with the little people.

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