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If you were wondering how Washington works, an ad from the Barack Obama campaign ostensibly offers a primer – "A Guide to Understanding Washington Lobbyists" — while it attacks Hillary Clinton.
The Web-only ad outlines the following steps with on-screen text:
Step 1: "Lobbyists donate to politicians."
Step 2: "Politicians defend lobbyists."
Step 3: "Americans pay the price."
As part of the first step, the ad states:
"Senator Hillary Clinton has taken over $800,000 from lobbyists, more money than any other candidate — Republican or Democrat:
* Over $130,000 from energy lobbyists
* Over $130,000 from drug company lobbyists
* Over $125,000 from health care and insurance lobbyists."
We asked the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which categorizes and analyzes political contributions, whether this text was accurate.
The $800,000 number is correct. A recent analysis by the center showed Clinton has accepted $865,290 from lobbyists, based on data released on March 20, 2008.
The threshold of contributions by industry the ad lists for Clinton is probably too low, said Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the center.
The center's analysis found the following amounts that lobbyists gave to Clinton:
* Energy: $442,800
* Pharmaceuticals/health products: $450,450
* Hospitals, health services/HMOs and insurance companies: $552,050
* Health professionals: $114,755.
Based on these numbers, we find Obama's statement that Clinton has taken more than $800,000 from lobbyists to be True.
Interview with Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics
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