Obama’s Selective Outrage on Third-Party Groups

By Jennifer Parker

Feb 26, 2008 2:42pm

The Service and Employees International Union announced it will start running TV ads on behalf of its endorsed candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.

In one of the ads running in Ohio, “Leadership,” various SEIU members say: "we need Obama cause we need someone who is not owned by the corporations," and "Barack Obama recognizes that we should all have the same health care as our members of Congress" and "Barack Obama is going to stand up to the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies to make health care affordable.

Speaking of pharmaceutical companies, the announcer in the ad "What We Need," almost sounds like he’s selling a new drug — Obama as the panacea for the nation’s ailments.

"He stood up for kids when they needed healthcare," the ad says. "We need someone like Obama. Obama. Who will take on drug companies. Who will help us keep our homes. We need to change Washington. So, we need to change the people who run it. It’s that simple."

Our friend Marc Ambinder reports today that according to "independent expenditure notices filed with the Federal Election Commission, the Service Employees International Union plans to spend more than $700,000 over the next week to help Barack Obama in Texas and Ohio."

That doesn’t include, Ambinder reports, the almost $200,000 to pay the salaries of members of SEIU local 1199 to volunteer on behalf of the lanky Illinoisan, $300,000 from the group’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) on door-to-door canvassing, $400,000 on direct mail in Ohio, $200,000 from the union’s federal political action fund on phone banking plus $50,000 on what’s called "voter persuasion."

You will recall Mr. Obama in the past expressed outrage when the SEIU was helping former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, in Iowa (more on that HERE).

He doesn’t seem so outraged anymore.

There’s also Vote Hope 2008, a pro-Obama third-party group that also didn’t really arouse his ire (you may recall we covered this HERE and HERE).

What say you about this contradiction?

– jpt

UPDATE: Obama spox Bill Burton writes to say, "While Senator Clinton has benefited from more than $5 million in spending from outside groups and said nothing, Senator Obama has long said that he would prefer those who want to support his him do it directly through the campaign.”

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