Menu

Has Obama Really Excluded Lobbyists From His Staff?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Having It Both Ways

President Obama has more than 40 former lobbyists working in senior positions in his administration despite his statement during the State of the Union that he has, "excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs."

The Examiner reports they include IRS General Counsel William Wilkins, a former lobbyist for the Swiss Bankers Association. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn was appointed 10 months after he lobbied for defense contractor Raytheon. And Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who lobbied for Fannie Mae during the housing boom.

A White House spokeswoman responds: "As the president said — we've turned away lobbyists for many — many positions — we only hired some of the lobbyists who applied for policymaking jobs."

Roll of the Dice

President Obama has sinned against Sin City again. Wednesday the president told a crowd in New Hampshire: "When times are tough, you tighten your belts ... you don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada quickly responded to the president's second Vegas-related comment in a year, saying: "The president needs to lay off Las Vegas — and stop making it a poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money."

Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley said, "Enough is enough!"

And Las Vegas Democratic Mayor Oscar Goodman said, "the president is a real slow learner."

President Obama wrote to Reid, saying, "I was making the simple point that families use vacation dollars — not college tuition money — to have fun."

Dear Abby

South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford says her husband asked her for relationship advice after his affair. She writes in her memoir that the governor wondered aloud whether he should follow his mistress to Argentina and what he should do about the media.

Mrs. Sanford says she wished her husband would have kept his thoughts to himself. Their divorce is expected to be finalized this month.

Fox News Channel's Megan Dumpe Kenworthy contributed to this report.

Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau. Click here for more information on Bret Baier