Obama's claim of independence questioned

•Obama is raising more than his opponents from executives of some of the corporate interests he criticizes. Obama has received more money from people who work at pharmaceutical and health product companies, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. He's taken in $528,765 through February, compared with $506,001 for Clinton and $139,400 for McCain, despite saying last July that "I don't take pharma money."

Vietor declined to answer questions about lobbyists' role in the campaign and the candidate's decision to accept contributions from lobbyists' spouses and partners. He called Obama's policy an imperfect but important symbolic step. Vietor said Obama "has long believed that lobbyists exert far too much influence over the national agenda."

Obama attracts small donors

Obama has called his refusal to accept PAC and federal lobbyist money "a multimillion-dollar" sacrifice, but his opponents' numbers suggest otherwise. Clinton has raised about $2 million from lobbyists and PACs while McCain has taken in about $1.2 million, according to the center.

Obama points to his unprecedented success in raising small sums from tens of thousands of regular citizens. As of Feb. 29, he had raised 41% of his money in increments of $200 or less, compared with 26% for Clinton and 13% for McCain, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute.

Yet Obama's 20 largest sources of money, grouped by employers, are executives from major corporations and law firms with a Washington lobbying presence — including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Google, according to the center. Clinton's and McCain's top donors include executives from some of the same companies, such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

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