Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain-Palin Campaign Conference Call On Barack Obama's Empty Reform Record

"So looking across the whole spectrum of Senator Obama's career in Springfield, I don't recall him as being a reformer." -- Former Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL)

Today, the McCain-Palin campaign held a press conference call with former United States Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL). Of the 300 million people in United States of America, Senator Fitzgerald is the only individual to serve in the Illinois State Senate with Barack Obama and the United States Senate with John McCain. He'll discuss the widening gap between Obama's rhetoric on the campaign trail and his actual record as a Chicago politician, both in the Illinois State Senate and in Washington:

Former Senator Peter Fitzgerald: "And as Brian said, I served in the Illinois State Senate from 1993 to 1998, when I was elected to the U.S. Senate. I defeated Carol Mosely Braun and went on to the U.S. Senate in 1998 and served in the U.S. Senate from January '99 to January 3rd of 2005.

"And in my last two years in the Illinois State Senate, I did serve with Barack Obama and got to know him reasonably well. In fact, I chaired the State Senate State Government Operations Committee and Senator Obama was the ranking Democrat on that committee and I worked pretty closely with him for two years. I was, at that time, in my last two years in the State Senate and I was campaigning for the U.S. Senate. But, I got to know him pretty well and, of course, had to work with him very closely as he was my ranking colleague on my committee. In the U.S. Senate of course, I served with Sen. John McCain for six years, and I served on his Commerce Committee for four years and got to know him extremely well and was his ally on many, many reform issues both before the Commerce Committee and before the Senate in general. And I feel that I have a very good idea of the policies of both of these men and know their politics fairly well. I have followed Senato r Obama's career in the U.S. Senate with interest because he is my successor. I did not run for reelection in 2004. Barack won the Democratic nomination and of course went on to get elected. And since he was my successor, I did follow him very closely. I had a lunch with him right before he went into the Senate dining room and I followed his every move pretty carefully.

"I just wanted to make a few points here. I think Senator Obama, if you look at his career, he has always run as a reformer and as a kind of post-partisan figure. His campaign slogan this year is 'hope and change' in the presidential race and certainly that slogan itself encourages the perception that he would shake up business as usual in Washington, that he would rock the boat, that he would be a reformer and that he would also bring people together, that he would not be a partisan figure, he would not be an ideologue, but that he would work across party lines. And I think that when he ran to succeed me in the U.S. Senate, he ran pretty much on the same lines. Reform was a theme of his 2004 Senate race and certainly he encouraged the perception with his speech before the Democratic convention in 2004 that we need to bring people together, that we can't have red states and blue states, and we need to get Republicans and Democrats to work together.

"It's my judgment after having worked with him and having worked with Senator McCain and having followed them very carefully, that for Senator Obama reform and nonpartisanship is something to campaign on, but it's not something he naturally does when he gets in office. And if I think back to my days in Springfield with him, Senator Obama, I don't ever really recall working across party lines. He was a very partisan and ideological Democrat who represented a district that really was probably 90% Democrat, and certainly I saw him as reflective of his district in that he was just one of those state senators from Chicago who viewed the Democratic party as being right 100% of the time and the Republican party wrong 100% of the time. He's not one to work across party lines.

"I think if you look at his reforms that he speaks about frequently on the campaign trail: he talks about having sponsored an ethics bill in Springfield. Well, that bill did not originate from him. It actually originated from a working group led by former U.S. Senator Paul Simon and former Federal Judge Abner Mikva. They put together that bill, and they went to the Democratic leader of the State Senate, Emil Jones, and asked Emil Jones to give that bill to Barack Obama to carry it in the State Senate and Barack Obama did carry that bill and it did pass, but it really passed with little or no opposition."


"His campaign reform in Washington was similar and it really happened in almost identical ways. It was Senator McCain who chaired the Abramoff investigations that led to the reforms that happened shortly after Senator Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate. Everybody in the Senate was for it. The bill passed on voice vote by unanimous consent and nobody opposed the Abramoff reforms. Those reforms originated with Senator McCain. Obama ended up getting his name on it because the Democratic leader Harry Reid appointed Barack on his behalf to handle the bill. And so again, I don't think that shows any true effort at reform. Really, these were just bills that he could call reform that really didn't take any courage to propose, to introduce, or to debate. No one was offended by those bills.

"So looking across the whole spectrum of Senator Obama's career in Springfield, I don't recall him as being a reformer. Rather, I never recall him speaking out on governmental corruption in Springfield, in Chicago where corruption is all around him."
"Of course, everyone knows that Senator McCain's record of reform that's lengthy. It goes back years. He has the scars to prove it. He's fought and introduced reforms that have generated that position that have made the special interests angry, that have made his colleagues angry going back to before I served with him."
"So, Senator McCain is actually someone who really actually governs in the way that he campaigns and, of course, he's campaigned as a maverick and as a reformer, but he is in reality a maverick and a reformer and someone whose courage I admire as much as anybody with courage as I know in this country."

Listen To The Conference Call
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