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Special Report

Obama Takes Swipe at ATMs

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Promise Kept?

President Obama campaigned on a promise to abolish the practice of rewarding special interest groups. But a new report questions whether that promise has been kept.

iWatch News says nearly 200 of the president's biggest donors have landed plum assignments, federal contracts worth millions or have attended elite White House events. The investigation found one third of Obama bundlers, those who raised anywhere from $50,000 to more $500,000 in campaign donations or their spouses joined the administration in some role.

iWatch notes the size of donations may have been a factor in bundlers getting a foot in the door -- quote -- "less than one in five at the $50,000 level got an administration position. Half of $200,000 bundlers were picked for some post; 80 percent of the $500,000 bundlers were appointed."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said this during today's briefing:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The people who got those positions got them because of their credentials. They also happen to be donors in some cases. There are obviously numerous and far many more cases of people who weren't donors who were appointed the jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

This of course happens in other administrations. President Bush appointed about the same number of bundlers to administration jobs during his eight years that President Obama has appointed in two.

Rise of the Machines

President Obama also ruffled some feathers when he used ATMs and airport kiosks as reasons for rising unemployment. Here's what he said:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: A lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

The ATM Industry Association was quick to complain -- quote -- "ATMs today play a critical role in providing extensive employment in the ATM and cash-in-transit industries."

House Speaker Boehner's office even sent a joking e-mail out today from an automated teller machine saying "it" isn't to blame for the sluggish economy.

Go Fish

And finally, this is not a fish story. The San Francisco Chronicle reports a new proposal by the city's Animal Control Commission attempts to ban the sale of all pets, now including fish such as goldfish and guppies.

Supporters of the ban say it's better for the global fish populations. But critics argue it's just another outrageous proposal.

The animal panel had previously suggested introducing birth control pills into birdseed to solve the city's pigeon problem.