Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Rural Americans for Hillary" Event at D.C. Lobbyist Office Draws Fire From Rivals

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has come under fire from rival Democrats for planning a "Rural Americans For Hillary" event to be held at the office of a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm.

An ABC News blog reported this morning that the Clinton campaign will hold a lunch and briefing at Troutman Sanders Public Affairs, lobbyists for agribusiness giant Monsanto.

Monsanto was recently in the news in Iowa when the Iowa Attorney General's Office began an investigation of the company's business practices.

The John Edwards campaign pounced on the opportunity to highlight Clinton's close connection to powerful Washington lobbyists, and the Barack Obama campaign quickly joined in the fray. Both Edwards and Obama used rural surrogates to fire the shots at Clinton.

In a press release from the Edwards campaign, former Congressman Ben "Cooter" Jones said Clinton's "idea of talking to rural Americans is having a campaign lunch in Washington, D.C. with agribusiness lobbyists." He said Clinton simply doesn't relate to folks in rural Iowa, "and from what they tell me, they don't relate to her either."

The Obama campaign released a statement from former Iowa Farmers Union president Gary Lamb. "When it comes to the issues facing rural America, it seems like Sen. Clinton is listening to Washington lobbyists instead of spending time in Iowa with folks who have been farming for decades," he said. "I know Sen. Clinton said that she believes Washington lobbyists represent real Americans, I just can't believe that she thinks they know how to farm."

Both Obama and Edwards have recently campaigned in Iowa touting their rural policy proposals. Clinton has yet to release any specific policy proposals regarding agriculture or rural development.

Repeated requests for a response from the Clinton campaign were not answered.

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