Yee-haw

By Jennifer Parker

Oct 18, 2007 10:06am

So later this month, according to THIS INVITATION, the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, is holding a "Rural Americans for Hillary" lunch and campaign briefing at the end of this month….

..but she’s holding it in Washington, DC….

…at a lobbying firm…

… and specifically, though it’s not mentioned in the invitation, at the lobbying firm Troutman Sanders Public Affairs…

…which just so happens to lobby for the controversial multinational agri-biotech Monsanto.

You read that right: Monsanto, about which there are serious questions about its culpability regarding 56 Superfund Sites, wanton and "outrageous" pollution, and the decidedly unkosher (and quite metaphoric) genetically-bred "Superpig."

…A company that the website "Ethical Investing" labels "the world’s most unethical and harmful investment."

Holding an agri-summit in the plush halls of the lobbyists for Monsanto doesn’t sound like the kind of "rural Americans" a presidential candidate would necessarily want to be photographed with.

Particularly if Clinton’s two primary opponents — former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. — don’t take money from lobbyists and are trying to depict the frontrunner as too much a part of the corrupt Washington system, lobbyists, corporate America, et al….

But then again, it doesn’t say Clinton will attend this luncheon — just senior staffers and congressional endorsers! (Is that better or worse?)

Response from the Clinton campaign to come….

But what do you think?

– jpt

UPDATE: An Edwards supporter sends along this cover of the Raleigh News & Observer showing the Carolinian — by contrast — "Get(ting) his Boots Dirty as he Woos Rural Voters," per the headline.

UPDATE 2: Clearly the Edwards campaign reads this blog.

Edwards for President communications director Chris Kofinis just issued a statement saying:

“While John Edwards was in rural Iowa yesterday talking about his plans to help family farmers, the Clinton campaign was in Washington, DC planning an event with the lobbyists from the biggest corporate agriculture company in the world. The difference between John Edwards and Hillary Clinton could not be more clear. Here’s some news for the Clinton campaign, when folks in rural Iowa talk about the problems with hog lots, they don’t mean parking lots on K Street.

“John Edwards believes family-owned farms are critical to America’s future and that the corporate greed that’s killing the family farm is hurting America. Apparently, Hillary Clinton doesn’t feel the same way. While John Edwards has introduced policies to ensure family farmers can compete against big agribusiness, protect the food we eat and preserve farming communities, Hillary Clinton, beholden to Washington lobbyists, is tailoring her rural policy to reflect the needs of big agribusiness. While corporate America and lobbyists may want someone like Clinton in the White House, regular Americans are ready for someone who will stand up for them and fight for real change.”

Ouch.

UPDATE 3: Phil Singer with the Clinton campaign points out that Fortress Investments, the hedge fund Edwards used to work for, has invested in Monsanto. And one of Edwards’ top advisors, Peter Scher, is the managing partner for Mayer Brown, a firm that lobbies for Monsanto.

Singer says: "When Edwards was in the Senate, he frequently split from Hillary and supported the views of corporate agribusiness over family farms."

Singer adds, "In 2004, John Edwards said ‘If you are looking for the candidate that will do the best job of attacking the other Democrats, I am not your guy.’ But he’s become that guy now that his 2008 campaign has stalled."

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