DNC Targets McCain

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It’s about time! The Democrats are finally turning their attention toward nemesis John McCain!

As Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fight each other, the Democratic National Committee issued a press release questioning McCain’s calls for federal transparency.

The release, which we’ve included after the jump, specifically addresses McCain’s shady dealing with military contractors, like European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. McCain repeatedly interceded in EADS talks with the Pentagon, says the DNC, and his campaign currently employees two EADS lobbyists.

McCain’s “bizarre” refusal to address the allegations only emphasize the candidate’s commitment to Republican ideology and tactics:

After casting himself as a “Maverick” in 2000, the new John McCain is walking in lockstep with President Bush, pandering to the right wing of the Republican Party, and embracing the ideology he once denounced. On the campaign trail McCain has callously abandoned many of his previously held positions, even contradicted himself, in a blatant attempt to remake himself into a candidate Republicans can accept in 2008. So just who is the real John McCain? The Democratic National Committee will present a daily fact aimed at exposing the man behind the myth.

It’s getting ugly – and we love it!

DNC: McCain Myth Buster: John McCain and Transparency

Today’s McCain Myth: McCain would have an open and transparent presidency

WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is being issued by the Democratic National Committee:

John McCain says “[a]ccountability and transparency are the pillars of essential reform” and that he will fight to make government more transparent as president. But on the campaign trail, McCain refuses to answer questions about his own role in steering a $35 billion tanker deal to a European defense contractor — a deal that will outsource 44,000 American jobs to Europe. [johnmccain.com, accessed 3/12/08]

According to reports, after the Pentagon started from scratch on a tanker contract process, McCain weighed in on behalf of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) at key steps in the process. When EADS wanted the Pentagon to take extra features on its planes into account when awarding the contract, McCain asked for it. When EADS wanted the Pentagon to ignore unfair subsidies it was receiving from European governments, McCain asked for it. When EADS wanted the tanker deal to be awarded in a split contract, McCain asked for it. [Mobile Register, 1/16/2007; Inside the Airforce, 2/2/2007; Seattle Times, 6/10/2006; Aviation Weekly, 10/2/06; New York Times, 12/26/2006; Financial Times, 8/6/2007; Mobile Register, 10/2/2007]

Now we know that McCain’s campaign is being run by at least two lobbyists who worked for EADS. A third lobbyist was raising millions for his campaign while working for EADS, while EADS executives were steering campaign cash to McCain when he needed it most. In response to concerns about the appearance that he weighed in on behalf of lobbyists and donors, McCain said it is “one of the more bizarre things that I have ever seen in my life.” McCain has yet to explain why he sent two letters to the Pentagon making the same arguments EADS had about how to award the contract, if lobbyists or representatives for EADS discussed the tanker deal with his Senate staff, or why he is still using a four-year-old investigation of Boeing to cover his efforts to tilt the scale towards EADS. [CNN Live Feed (Exeter, NH), 3/12/08]

What is truly bizarre is John McCain’s refusal to answer questions about his actions in this deal. How can McCain believe voters will trust him to bring transparency and openness to government if he can’t even answer questions about his own record?

McCain Says Public Scrutiny “Bizarre”: “Two executives of Boeing went to jail. The CEO was fired. And we were able now and insist on a fair process as to the selection of that tanker. And now, some people are saying that I was involved in with a, with a lobbyist or something like that. It’s really one of the more bizarre things that I have ever seen in my life.” [CNN Live Feed (Exeter, NH), 3/12/08]

EADS on “Extra Features.” EADS’ team “has complained that a draft version of the request includes no criteria for measuring the competing planes’ extra features – chief among them the ability to carry cargo and passengers in addition to fuel. Those added features are considered a key advantage in winning the contract.” [Mobile Register, 1/16/2007]

McCain on “Extra Features.” McCain wrote to incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a letter that “echoed” the EADS complains that the Pentagon was not planning to “effectively evaluate differences between the candidate aircraft’s capability to execute key missions such as airlift and the number of passengers it can haul in addition to fuel.” [Inside the Airforce, 2/2/2007]

EADS on European Subsidies. In mid-2006, the EADS team “urged the Pentagon on Friday to drop a requirement that might favor Boeing ‘s rival drive to sell aerial-refueling tankers to the U.S. Air Force” by taking into account a pending trade dispute on European government subsidies to EADS/Airbus. [Seattle Times, 6/10/2006]

McCain on European Subsidies. McCain “exchanged a volley of letters with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England over the WTO issue. McCain says he’s concerned that taking that matter into account will ‘eliminate the competition even before bids are submitted.'” Ultimately, “under pressure from Mr. McCain, announced it was rewriting some of the rules for the bid relating to WTO.” [Aviation Weekly, 10/2/06; NY Times, 12/26/2006]

EADS on Split Contracts: “Loren Thompson, a defence analyst at the Lexington Institute, said EADS had always assumed that the air force would not pursue a split purchase. But he said the company was lobbying Congress to urge the air force to consider giving it a portion of the contract.” [Financial Times, 8/6/2007]

McCain on Split Contracts: In 2007, McCain joined with both Alabama Senators to introduce an amendment that defense analysis believed “could lead the Air Force to split the contract between the two bidders,” Boeing and Northrop/EADS. [Mobile Register, 10/2/2007]

After casting himself as a “Maverick” in 2000, the new John McCain is walking in lockstep with President Bush, pandering to the right wing of the Republican Party, and embracing the ideology he once denounced. On the campaign trail McCain has callously abandoned many of his previously held positions, even contradicted himself, in a blatant attempt to remake himself into a candidate Republicans can accept in 2008. So just who is the real John McCain? The Democratic National Committee will present a daily fact aimed at exposing the man behind the myth.

Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, www.democrats.org.

This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Source: Democratic National Committee