March 3rd, 2009
01:01 PM ET

How can Pres. Obama defeat the lobbyists?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Barack Obama is saying "bring it on" to the nation's lobbyists.

How can Pres. Obama defeat the lobbyists?

The President says passing the budget will be difficult because of pushback from special interest groups.

The president vows he will fight to change health care, education and energy policy in dramatic ways, upending the way business is done in Washington.

In his weekly radio address, Mr. Obama pointed out that the current system may work for the "powerful and well-connected interests" but that he works for the American people. The president believes his budget will help millions of Americans - but only if Congress can beat back special interest groups. He says he knows lobbyists are gearing up for a fight and says "My message to them is this: so am I."

Some critics say some of Pres. Obama's proposals are almost radical, but he insists this is what the American people voted for in November. He goes on to say passing the $3.6 trillion dollar budget won't be easy even with Democrats in control of Congress - precisely because of the pushback from special interest groups entrenched in Washington. The president singled out some groups in particular: insurance companies, banks, big student lenders and oil and gas companies.

Republicans have continued to slam the president's spending proposals, saying that almost every day brings another "multi-billion-dollar spending plan being proposed or even worse, passed." Of course the nation didn't elect the Republican candidate for president last November.

Here’s my question to you: How can President Obama defeat the lobbyists?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Tom from Boston writes:
I don't know if he can "defeat" them Jack, but he certainly can greatly diminish their influence. To do so he must absolutely never let anyone in his administration take a dime from them for any reason.

Shirley writes:
Let's have some real light on the subject. Name the lobbyists, name the cause they are lobbying for, and name the legislators they are lobbying. Let's make sure the information is available to the public–on the network news and in the newspapers and on the net.

Nancy in Chicago writes:
Defeat lobbyists? This is the man who hailed the economic 'steal-from-us' package as the savior of our economy. He served every special interest project they could think of cramming into that package, before ramming it through. Who needs lobbyists with a president like that?

Richard in Kansas writes:
President Obama should pay attention to the only lobbyists that matter – the ones that elected him to get these things done. Do that and the special interests will find themselves marginalized.

DJ from Columbus, Ohio writes:
Jack, The president must be careful. If he defeats the lobbyists, he may very well be putting people out of work. The lobbyists, believe it or not, do work on the behalf of American workers. For example, I work for FedEx. I want my lobbyist, my advocate, fighting against any proposed legislation that may adversely affect my employer and/or industry, thereby threatening the security of my job. It is a catch 22 indeed.

Mead writes:
Jack, It's not a matter of how Obama can defeat the lobbyists; it's a matter of whether he can defeat them, and he can't. Lobbyists have been in DC long before Obama got there. They are far more entrenched than he ever was or ever will be, and they will be a force in national politics long after the Barack Obama Presidential Library is built.

Filed under: Lobbyists • President Barack Obama
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. JD in NH

    President Obama has the ultimate weapon: the pen. He can refuse to sign legislation that has the fingerprints of lobbyists on it. Maybe once they realize we have elected a President who cares more about the people than the corporations they'll back off so we can get something good done for this country.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  2. Katiec Pekin, IL

    It is going to be extremely hard as the lobbyists, special interest power are so embedded with the politicians.
    He needs to continue talking to us and exposing those who
    refuse to support middle class America having control of our
    country. He must make public the antics of the politicians who
    refuse to change.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  3. Jim


    The best way to defeat things that fester in the dark is to shine a light on them. The Obama administration should continue telling it straight and standing up to those whose only aim is to undermine the President's efforts.

    Reno, Nevada

    March 3, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  4. Craig in Palm Springs

    He can tell them to look for other jobs, but, oh there aren't any other jobs.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  5. Spencer from Virginia

    Simple Jack, he just needs to keep doing what he's doing. He sid he's ready for a fight.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  6. Charles, Lansing, MI

    It is impossible to defeat the lobbyists because almost as many Democrats as Rebublicans are in their pockets. The president found out he couldn't find a handful of honest people in Washington DC to fill a few cabinet posts. The people have to throw the whole bunch out in a general election and that is also an impossibility. When the country is finally bankrupt and special interests have nothing left to buy it will be too late.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  7. Ann, Allentown, PA

    I will definitely be rooting for him. Can he do it? I doubt it. They are so entrenched in the system, bombs woultn't budge them.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  8. Drew

    I guess you can look at it two ways: Lobbyist are buying votes with promisses of financial support for things like re-election campaigns and lavish "conferences" in far off exotic places or Law makers are accepting bribes in return for support.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  9. Joe in DE

    Needs a lot of support from voters.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  10. Ken in NC

    President Obama can defeat the Lobbyists by calling on the services of the “Now Unemployed Former Vice President“. As a Special Assistant to the President, the Former VP could take the Lobbyists on all expenses paid hunting trips. The funds for payment to the Former Vice President under this program would qualify under the Stimulus Package as it would create so much needed new work for local police agencies and EMS agencies in each of the locals the hunting trips take place that they would have to hire and train new personal.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  11. glenn andrew in Texas

    Jack, if you can't beat them, join them. Since the poorer folks are generally not well represented by special interest groups, what the Democrats need to do are fund lobbyists with the stimulus bill (s) for those underepresented folks. That way, everyone has a full-sized chair at the pork table.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  12. Philip from Toronto

    Can't be done, lobbyists have the time, brains, money, organization, jobs in the future for the kids, wives and politicians. They are indefeatable. Politicians rely on them for funding, writing legislation, and sound bites. Lobbyists Rule! Get to know one better.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  13. Austin Houston, Tx

    A good way for President Obama to defeat the lobbyists is to first to be strong and firm by not letting them get to him. Second, needs to help cut the non-existent bond that all politicians in some way have with lobbyists.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  14. Paul Austin,Texas

    By pushing to have them pack their bags and send them home. It is time for the government at all levels to stop taking favors and whatever from these legal crooks. A lobbyist is a great job if you can get it you make big bucks to BS those with little or no mind of their own you get all expenses paid to boot by some type of company or another. He should push for legislation to ban lobbyist from Wahington for good.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  15. matthew fisher

    Jack i have been listening to you for years where ever you have been.
    i think it's time for you to make more of an impact in our country then radio and television.
    Run for something you will be suprised how many people would vote for you. don't let you great brain and expressions go to waste.
    i don't write any one except Lou Dobbs and now you,
    i hope this is a good luck letter

    March 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  16. Sue Turner

    Dear Jack,
    Don't know about the effect from lobbyists but I am very concerned regarding expenditure of the stimulus package and the jobs going to illegals. About 20 miles from my house, work is being done on a power plant and all but the foreman are from Honduras, sending all their money home, how is that going to help U.S. unemployment? INS will do nothing unless they commit a crime, isn't being here a crime?

    Sue from Casper, Wyoming

    March 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  17. Austin

    A good way for President Obama to defeat the lobbyists is to first to be strong and firm by not letting them get to him. Second, needs to help cut the non-existent bond that all politicians in some way have with lobbyists. Finally, if there is no more good grace that the lobbyists receive from the politicians then we will see them have withdraws and in the end would be better for U.S. politics. Thus causing Obama to defeat the lobbyists.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Jason, Koloa, HI

    Help to enact laws that change the name of lobbying to what it really is........bribery. And then actually enfore the laws.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  19. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, President Obama must veto any bill that crosses his desk that even looks like it was influenced by some pay to play idiot. Then call in whomever tried to get it into the bill and read them the riot act.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  20. Remo in Austin,Texas

    Simple, he can click his heels like Dorothy, and leave Oz.
    You know Lobbyists just didn't magically appear. Their industries, that they represent, created them to get heard on the Hill. Yes there are good and bad lobbyists, however they represent sectors that can't get heard any other way. It's the politicians the allowed themselves to be influenced. Good or bad.

    Frankly, I had hopes with the new adminstration, but with a second "Bail-Out" of AIG and the car companies wanting more money, when if ever, will we see a return?

    Is attacking Lobbyists just another tactic in moving the public attention elsewhere?

    March 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  21. Conor in Chicago

    He can't. Have you ever been on Capitol Hill? Lobbyists have reserved parking spaces, they draft legislation, pay for campaigns, and steer the ship of state for their interests instead of ours. It is a symbiotic relationship between career politician and career lobbyist. To think that Congress and K street are going to let Obama do anything to change the power they yield is completely nuts. I'd expect some manufactured crisis’s/scandals for Obama in the near future. It's how K street and Congress work to keep their power.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  22. Kai from Landover, MD

    I would create a website that can expose as much as possible who is being seen with whom. Alomost something to the TMZ style of exposing. Then when you linked that with some legislation which raises questions you can go back and get a pretty good idea why? Therefore you put the blame on the politician. They would then push away the lobbyist due to the potential blackeye it would cause.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  23. RI Santa Rosa CA

    3 words: control campaign contributions.

    As long as politicos need to run for election and lobbyists can control campaign contributions, we, the people, are in trouble.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  24. Tina Tx

    Lock the door to the kingdom. You have to have some lobbyists but some one has let them run amok and that must stop or we will not be America anymore.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  25. Chris from Buffalo, N.Y.

    President Obama can defeat the lobbyist by using the same techniques that other presidents used who promised to defeat the lobbying in Washington such as Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford....oh wait, none of them fulfilled this promise. But I'm sure President Obama will be the one exception.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  26. Dennis in Grand Rapids, MI

    Start a grassroots approach to get voters to pester the hell out of Congress to pass a law to ban lobbyists. Then everything else should come easy? Right?

    March 3, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  27. Kathy in Chicago

    You know what they say Jack, "if you can't beat them, join them" and because Obama is a politician, I am sure that is exactly what he will do. You mean to tell me that not one lobbyist contributed to Obama's campaign? Sure, and I'll take that bridge your trying to sell me for a dollar too.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  28. Rodney, Minnesota

    Put the bright lights on them. Lobbyist are comfortable in the dark rooms and closed doors of Congress. How about a sign up sheet posted on the internet? It seems to work for me to see the bills and government at work on these accountability websites.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  29. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    He just needs to stand his ground.......the American people have his back on this.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  30. Gigi

    The only way it can be done, and it can be done, is for the American people to decide they want it to happen and hound their representatives in Washington D.C. It is the only way and if your a Republican and you want out of this mess tell your reps. Until the people come together it will not be done.

    He can not defeat the lobbyists with out us. Lets put the lobbyists out of work and the people back to work.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  31. John A. Maloney Jr.

    Declare them enemy combatents wich they are and ship them to the cayman islands.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  32. Kevin Monticello Fl

    Well Jack, the lobbyists in favor of pet projects and over seas Governments clearly need to be ousted and defeated. Unfortunately it may not matter much though as it seems more and more bail out money is being given to Mexico, Palestine, British Socialists , and everyone except the American working man and woman who so desprately need the biggest amount of help.......if this doesnt change and soon, we may be seeing the last days of a truly great nation!!!!

    March 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  33. Greg, Ontario

    He needs to get you people to point them out. The media needs to start pointing at the lobbyists and saying these are the people who are buying your politicians and this is what they want them to do and why. The word lobbyist means nothing without the face to put to it.
    " insurance companies, banks, big student lenders and oil and gas companies"....start being reporters again and start saying Joe Whathisname, from Shell Oil, lobbied Senator Whoever to vote against such and such a Bill. People want to know who exactly is messing with the people they voted for Jack and you have the power to drag them into the light.

    March 3, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  34. Simpliticus

    By simply ignoring them! Watch the stimulus money go to locations not involved with lobbying activities! If lobbyists have not been involved with the dispensation of the stimulus package dispersion of cash, that to me suggests the end of lobbying activities altogether! Lobbying can only then occur at the state level but Obama has intoned the motive of watching how well states will spend this money, lobbyists included! Follow the money!

    March 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  35. Laura Ashe (Richmond KY)

    Line item veto for one. For those in Washington who bow down to the lobbyist, I say this administration needs to call them out publically! The American people spoke loud and clear in November. It's time for those in Washington to start doing the people's business. Don't even get me started on the banks....

    March 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  36. Cheryl Candora

    Special interest groups and lobbyists like to work behind closed doors where no one can see what they're doing. The best way for Obama to beat back the lobbyists is to bring them out into the open. Tell the American people - as publically and as often as possible - which groups are lobbying against the people, and which politicians are dealing with them. If politicians are afraid of being "outed" and vilified to their constituents, they probably won't want to deal with the special interest groups, thereby drastically reducing their power and reach.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  37. Bob D. Morristown, NJ


    He's already defeated the lobbyists by getting elected, and doing so by garnering enough $5, $10, & $25 contributions from millions newly enfranchised political activists, despite the major lobbyist sponsors contributing against his election.

    Now he needs to keep the new activists engaged for the next mid-term election and beyond to give him the fillibuster proof senate he will need to enact more of his mostly worthy agenda.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  38. Gracie, MD

    By cutting off their access. It's that simple Jack. President Obama needs to cut off the water supply. They've been riding the gravy train for far too long. It's time they get a reality wake up call.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  39. Jeff Crocket

    He can't and shouldn't. Lobbyists are as important as the media in supporting free speech, and supporting the American people. The problem with Lobbyists isn't themselves. It is the politicians who accept the cash and hide the activities of lobbyists! That is the change we need.

    Jeff Crocket
    New Britain, CT

    March 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  40. Maurice - Two Rivers, WI

    It is easy. Tell the American public to never re-elect anyone in Conges or impose term limits on Congress like we have on the President. There is no other way. This will at least bring a slow death, if not a rapid death to the lobbyists.

    Two Rivers, Wisconsin

    March 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  41. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Obama's 'challenge' to lobbyists will turn out to be nothing more than grandstanding for the media. If Obama is serious about slamming the doors on lobbies, he should start by proving his promises by example. Exposing and shutting down ACORN would be a great start. Meanwhile, I'm not holding my breath. We've heard it all before.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  42. Mike S., New Orleans

    Obama can defeat the current system of lobbyists by exposing the politicians who are beholding to them. Period.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  43. CJ in Atlanta

    The trouble is, the lobbyists are at work on our Congressmen, not the President. Obama can't control what bribery the Congressmen accept.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  44. Doug

    Jack, Defeating lobbyists will not be easy for President Obama; however, I believe that letting the public know who has been targeted and dominated by lobbyists will make life tougher for lobbyists and very interesting for Congress on The Cafferty File.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  45. Jim/NC

    The government owns the banks or heading in that direction and student lenders are in the same position. The government has an 80% stake in AIG. It appears to me the only lobbyists left is oil and gas and a few other minor players. Congress will be his problem. Of course, President Obama does have 17 lobbyists in his administration that will lend some help in holding them off. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  46. Ryan

    He has already let them have there way with his previous spending bills so why would he all of the sudden stop? The damage has been done, he can't continue to say one thing and then do another.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm |

    President Obama needs to refuse to sign the bills with earmarks in them.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  48. Tim in Texas

    Shut down the phones, lock the gate, no snail-mail, no email. Put every member of Congress in a room with television cameras trained on them 24-7. No closed meetings, no earmarks, no name-calling. If they don't hash it out and get a budget passed in one week, pump in Disco music for a day. If that doesn't work, crank the heat up to 85 degrees. If that doesn't work, serve prison food only. Nobody enters or leaves until the job is done.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  49. C.M. - Colorado

    Ban lobbying.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  50. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Since Rush Limbaugh has the GOP primed to oppose anything Obama does they are rapidly being exposed as opportunists and their public support will deteriorate.

    When they oppose needed initiatives like Universal Health Care Obama will tear them apart one at a time and the public will do the rest.

    There are too many people suffering at the hands of drug companies and unscrupulous health care plans as well as those who simply can't afford health care and my guess is they just won't remain apathetic on this issue.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  51. karen-phoenix

    None of his proposals are radical. They are all just good government working for the people of America the way our founders intended...for the people, by the people..... The GOP since Eisenhower has been trying to go back to the robberbarren era with NO middle class and the poverty level working like slaves for the ultra rich!!! God Bless Obama, his team and if they do not succeed, we, the middle class are lost and gone forever!!

    March 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  52. Anthony Smoot

    Hey Jack

    I love the President, Ideal of defeating the Lobbyist, if you want to defeat the lobbyist you would need to blow up the captial and congress and start over, they are everywhere they are like roachs. I just hope that Our President get some of the people work done in the next 8 years. The Lobbyist are not the problem it is MONEY is the root of all evil.

    Thank You

    March 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  53. Jenna Wade

    How can President Obama defeat the lobbyists?

    Out law them. Make it so that they can't give one red cent to any elected official or party.

    They can recommend to their hearts delight, just like citizens.

    Roseville CA

    March 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  54. Renate

    I am from Canada, and I like President Obama, I just think he starting too many things at one time, he should concentrate on the economy

    March 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  55. Karen in CA

    Short term, all he can do is continue to rally public support for parts of the budget which lobbyists influence most, to lessen their power with legislators who'll be more beholding to their voters than the lobbying industries. Long term, the only solution is public funding of elections.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  56. Olaniyi--NJ

    By doing the exact opposite of what Bush did–STAND up to Congress and their cronies on K and Eye Street (especially all the people who love to critcize and or contradict themselves–Hoyer, Pelosi, Reid, Boehner, and McConnell).

    March 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  57. Tom Cushman

    Make sure the companies they work for don't see one penny of the bail out funds! That will either put them out of business or insult them not to come back.


    March 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  58. RobRoy, Atlanta GA

    Mr. Cafferty,

    In my opinion, President Obama is the new sheriff in town and because the majority of America elected him he should be respected and given the opportunity to have a whack at turning this country around. God knows that the last Commander in Chief did it his way which didn't work. My personal feeling is, now that the lobbyists' pockets are not being padded they are bitter. GET OVER IT!

    Atlanta, GA

    March 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  59. Gretchen from Denver

    The president will have to fight the lobbyists with common sense and with faith.

    The people who are always reminding us of what good Christians they are need to face it that we will not be judged spiritually, religiously or culturally by our wealth, but by how we take care of the weakest among us. If there is another way to read the Scripture that the religious right is always quoting...I would like to hear it.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  60. j/NJ

    How can President Obama defeat the lobbyists?

    He can't at least not substantively despite well grounded intentions...unfortunately America is on many levels a highly partisan and highly regimented society, a virtual breeding ground for lobbyist activitiy...no politician can change that not even Obama...on the other hand perhaps he can mitigate the controlling influence of lobbyists to some extent but the capitalistic ethic is too strong and too self serving to eliminate the political influence of this group completely...

    March 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  61. Chris Twemlow

    Well Jack, it seems pretty simple to me. Put all the lobbyists on Obama's national DNC (do not call) list.

    Vancouver, BC

    March 3, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  62. Sherry

    Lock the doors with Congress inside the Capitol. Jam the cellphones. Don't let them out until the budget is passed.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  63. MARSHA

    Jack, Our new President will beat the lobbyist the same way he beat the invinsible Clinton political jagernaut and the Republican party....with the help of the American people.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  64. Jane (Minnesota)

    He can't defeat them on his own. Without limits on campaign spending it's going to be tough to get Congress to address Lobbying. He could post which members of Congress are taking trips, etc on the lobbists dimes to give the problem transparency. That way possibly an election can start to correct it.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  65. Mark

    It might be effective if the President would put a watchdog on each and everty lobbyist and report their activities on a blog.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  66. mitchell, arkansas

    President Barack is still supported by an entire MOVEMENT, and we'll never give up on him. unfortunately, 25-30% of people refuse to support him and hopes he fails. the same 25-30% are conservatives, in bed with those industries, and their agenda is pursued by their massively overpaid lobbyists.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  67. Rick in LA

    The President can't do it alone. Every American who agrees with him should call or write their Representatives in Congress and insist that they don't take money from the PACs. They're ruining our country

    March 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  68. Tim Harris

    Lobbyist are like roaches you can only try and control them.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  69. Cindy

    Good question. I think the president needs to continue to go to the people with his message. He needs to talk louder than his detractors. We did vote for change and he is making the changes we all need and want. The economy won't recover until his programs have a chance to work. Wall street is reacting because it isn't receiving a truck full of money. The economy MUST slow down. That means the rich must realign their expectations, just as we average Americans have had to do for 15 years.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  70. Deborah Webb

    The key word in your statement is radical. Keep in mind that we are americans and radical is what we have always been about.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  71. ann

    Did not Pres.Obama promise to curtail or get rid of the Lobbyists in Washington? – That was one of his promises – Lobbyists and special interests groups were not elected and should be allowed to influence the decisions of government.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  72. Bill....Michigan

    It will be a huge job.
    He must invite any members of congress who are not "on the take"
    to join him.
    The American people must vote the others out.
    President Obama can only do it with the people's support.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  73. david

    This will be the test because everbody he has to work with is getting money from the lobbyists. So they're not going to vote against their interest. He really going to have use a lot of political capital to get around that group.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  74. Rob Martinez

    Jack, If Obama keeps talking about how lobbyists control congress and YOU the media make it a focal point everyday, then people will start asking their leaders to focus on defeating the lobbyists, but if this becomes yesterdays news tomorrow, then the lobbyist have already won.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  75. dan krause

    If he really wants to deal with these lobbyists, borrow a page from the Bush political book; arrest them all, designate them as terrorists, and ship them off to Guantanamo.
    If that doesn't seem feasible, lock these people in a dark room and make them listen to tapes of Rush Limbaugh broadcasts for twenty-four hours. By the time they get out of that room, they'll be applying for jobs as social workers.


    March 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  76. Marc

    There's an old saw, "Shoot the lawyers." (I forget the context.) Let's update it to, "Shoot the lobbyists."

    Thousand Oaks, CA

    March 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  77. Donna Wisconsin

    Keep on doing what he is doing! Keep the light on those who are in bed with the lobbyists. Don't be afraid to name names. Radical change is never fun but we already know the ways of the past are what got us in this mess. President Obama IS the CHANGE we voted for!

    March 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  78. Susan from Twn Falls Idaho

    The same way he defeated Mccain. Show cool-headed leadership and let common sense prevail. Not everyone understands the value a president that stands firm in his beliefs. We have been a nation of sheep following blindly without questioning where we were lead. God help us all if that were to happen again. I have more confidence in this president than I have ever had in one.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  79. Andre B.

    The only way he can defeat the lobbyists and for that matter all special interests groups is to pit the American people against the Congress with the threat of lawmakers losing their often times uncontested seats in Washington. The American society is aware and knowledgeable of politics at all three levels more so now than ever and it can work. The days of Congressmen voting and drafting their own legislation without the backing of the communities they represent are coming to an end (hopefully).

    March 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  80. Tim in San Antonio, TX


    The President has been straightforward with the American people and he should keep doing that. We, however, need to get off our couch, grab a phone or email the people we voted to represent us and demand that they work with the president and that we are the ones that put them there, not the lobbyists.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  81. Rich (Michigan)

    Lobbying cannot be defeated because it operates under the aegis of free speech. But it sure as heck can be better regulated and scrutinized. More stringent prohibitions on lawmakers and legislative staff trading public jobs for off-the-scale lucrative lobby jobs has to occur. There needs to be at least two years daylight between leaving the public trough and the exclusive lifestyle of lobbying.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  82. johnchristopher

    He is going to need all the help of the American people who understand that their president is up against the most powerful forces behind the industrial military complex. That is one war the American people should fight and must win.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  83. Judi New Orleans

    He can't unless we do our part. Give us names phone numbers & emails andlet the constituents let these greedy hacks know they're serving on borrowed time unless they start serving the people who elected them

    March 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  84. J. Hall

    That's not the right question Jack. The question is do we 'want Obama to defeat the lobbyists' when it comes to this issue. The answer is an inextricable 'no'. I get nervous when either party has too much power, and right now we've given the democrats too much power. I pray for grid-lock in the hopes that that will stop them from spending any more of our hard earned money. Thanks for giving the people an voice Jack.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  85. Mark Bruce

    I don't know how to stop the lobbyists, but they have to be stopped.
    They are killing us. The American people are behind Barak Obama
    and anything that he asks us to do to help him, I/we will do it. Whatever
    it takes.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  86. Rick, Indiana

    Funny, hes gearing up to fight the lobbyists. Which lobbyists is he fighting exactly? The ones that already exist or the 60-new ones he just created through his 'new jobs' and stimulus plan? Perhaps he could take a step in the right direction by not producing more of them. Or maybe he should forget about the lobbyists and focus solely on cutting his puppet strings and actually standing up to pelosi and reid.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  87. DJ in Columbus


    The president must be careful. If he defeats the lobbyists, he may very well be putting people out of work. The lobbyists, believe it or not, do work on the behalf of American workers. For example, I work for FedEx. I want my lobbyist, my advocate, fighting against any proposed legislation that may adversely affect my employer and/or industry, thereby threatening the security of my job. It is a catch 22 indeed.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  88. Bob Bush

    Pass laws to get lawyers, pharmaceutical companies and insurance company advertising off TV. How that would clear the air! And send lobbyists home.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  89. Ivan Ivanoff

    Pres. Obama can defeat the lobbyists when he takes the people out to the streets.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  90. Markus

    Get rid of them!...they are parasites and republicans.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  91. Patrick, Austin, TX

    I wish him all the luck in accomplishing that task. I do not see how he can do it. Members of Congress have no shame. Most of them are not much different that Blagojevich. They would sell out their own mother for campaign contributions. If you find a good solution, you should send it to the Whitehouse.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  92. Darr/ Cleveland

    By creating a political environment where a lobbyist is not an essential ingredient in the political process. To do this he must create a viaduct linking the lobbyist to the politician that is free from monetary influence which, in theory, would reverse the traditonal pay for a vote way of doing business as usual in Washington. So in other words, he can't defeat the lobbyist.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  93. Paul

    Take it to the people. President Obama has Air Force One and can go anywhere in this country and talk directly to people. What they are doing in Chamber, is to transmit the message from K Street. He has to stay away from Capital Hill, an extension of K Street.
    Take it to the people Mr. President.

    Chantilly, Virginia

    March 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  94. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    nice to hear from Mr. Blair! When he mentioned that President Obama is facing boldly the problems that are presented to him on the economy, the environment and security...then wouldn't you say that it is clear that these three problems are connected to each other and it is within these three problems that solutions can be found and applied at home and abroad! Why not create a green economy in Gaza!!!

    March 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  95. jerry in jersey

    With our help, and lots of it. We have to keep the pressure on our representatives and senators, write letters, comment online, contribute to candidates who will support the President. Nag, nudge, bother, be pests, work in campaigns if possible. We have a once in a life-time chance (and this is my 12th President) to do something for ourselves. If we don't no one else will.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  96. Karl from SF, CA

    He needs to have a prime time state of the budget meeting with Congress and call out the people who have proposd pork, 40% of which is from Republicans, and make them explain on live TV why they have requested their items and who is behind the request. I know it’s almost impossible to embarrass a politician, but we should try. There are many legitimate items, but call out the ones that stink of lobbyist so bad they can’t be ignored. Putting them on a website for all to see would help, too.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  97. Stephen Court


    The only way to defeat the lobbyists is to remove campaign contribution money (otherwise known as bribes) from the political process. Central, yes government, funding of all national elections, i.e. House of Representatives, Senate, President, is essential to giving fair access to the political arena to all Americans, not only those with enormous amounts of money. Just think, we might even make it possible for actual, everyday Americans to run for elective office on an even playing field with the wealthy and politically connected.

    Can this be so bad? The only downside I see is a glut of empty office space on K Street. But then it might be possible for new, energetic companies that produce some tangible product rather than hot air to occupy that space.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  98. Mike Gillespie

    How do we deal with lobbyist..
    We need to demand term limits on our elected
    officials. Change the faces of the people lobbist have
    to do business routinely and it will work itself out.
    Gone are the days of career politicians....

    March 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  99. Jim Lindfors

    Make the public aware of the names of the lobbyists and companies who are lobbying so the people can communicate our votes to them directly or through the stock exchange or the marketplace.


    March 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  100. Richard Williams in Larchmont, NY

    Simply this, as long as as President Obama keeps telling it like it is, there will be transparancy and accountability. Lobbyists do not like to be seen. Keep that spotlight on them.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  101. Douglas from Montana

    Have all the lobbyist go on a fishing trip in the ocean in a small boat with a big anchor.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  102. Peter Fern Park, Fl.

    Attach the names and faces of the lobbyist, Congressman or women and Senators to the bills being brought up for action and explain it's impact on the American voter.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  103. Mark stone

    It's easy Jack, just expose them! The American people voted for change, exposing lobbyists, political action groups, and special interest groups, is a good start. Go for the health insurance companies first, they shoudn't be in the health care equation anyway, yet take a third of our health care dollar!

    March 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  104. Kevin in Webster, MA

    It dosen't really look like he wants to. At least not all, maybe some, alright a few, Maybe one or two. You get the idea.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  105. Bill

    It will take nothing less than a scorched-earth Sherman's March on K Street!

    March 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  106. A Iqbal

    Jack, Lobbyist abide by the hydraulic theory...they just find a way around anything thrown at them like water. Besides, every lobbyist is in bed with a congressman or senator. Separating the two is impossible. Obama can only hope to pressure his own party enough to pass legislation that will help the average American unlike the madness of the last 8 years, when big businesses, wall street, and the rich were running wild.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  107. Ron from SF

    Keep coming back to the American people and identifying those that stand in the way of change. Most of the problem is Republican self interest, but many Republicans are lobbyists too. We've got to identify them, show what their objective is and how harmful that is. Like Health Care. Thanks to Bush, we've got millions more without it and all the while Health Care CEO's make more millions, as do their lobbyists.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  108. Bill Silag

    We must be relentless in letting Congress know that we support Obama's efforts. We must take back our government from the lobbyists and special interests– this is what the fall campaign was all about..

    March 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  109. Annie.... Cape Cod

    I feel the president could fight the lobbyists if the politicians
    were not such moochers. Let's face it they are for sale.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  110. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    By continuing to do what he's been doing since day one! It's the Republicans who can't stand the thought of losing the lobbiests that they have owned and used for the last eight years so they turn their anger towards a man who is trying to change all the crap that goes on in D.C.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  111. Mark B

    I'd give 3 to 1 odds he can K.O. those Lobbyists in one term of office. You won't get odds like that in Las Vegas. Rush already asked. "Back to you Wolf."

    March 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  112. Sharon, Rockford, IL

    Until the president is given the line item veto he won't be able to stop them. If all lobby driven items could be vetoed out of any bill the lobbying would stop because they would lose their control. Unfortunately, our legislators have become tainted by the lures lobbyists offer – they are a bit like the banks – taking more then they are legally entitled too and thus are supporting programs that are not "people" driven. Our government is supposed to be the peoples' government, not the corporate government but that is what it's become.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  113. Glenn Johnson

    Ignore them!!!!

    March 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  114. Dan in Massachusetts

    As long as members of Congress, their staffs and aides can go from capital hill to K street, we don't stand a chance. We should redefine Lobbyists as Special interest advocates, with all communications recorded, absolutely no breakfast, lunch, dinner, trips or gifts allowed and no access to the white house or the congressional gym. The problem with this proposal is the people I need to pass it, look forward to their "lobbying" days when they can cash in before we crap out.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  115. Addie Corn

    How can Pres. Obama defeat the lobbyists?

    March 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  116. JR in Norfolk VA

    And just what are groups like ACORN? These are special interest groups as bad (if not worse) than the ones The One has sworn to get rid of. These new lobbyists are hell-bent on redistributing income and bankrupting the wealthiest of our nation. God help us from Obama's way of "fixing" things.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  117. Michael Brunette

    Jack –

    The problem will not go away because the lobbyists are much smarter than we are. Not only do they fund each wave of politicians hitting Washington, the public is just too lazy to pressure their representatives to disconnect from the lobbyist. It's the new American way!

    March 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  118. Michoma from Minneapolis, MN

    Point them out, don't listen to them in the White House, veto any legislation that has been influenced by lobbyist that gets to his desk.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  119. Jeanne - Oregon

    President Obama needs non-partisan support from every single American! We must endorse his plan by communicating with our local representatives. We must endorse his plan by evaluating our own personal economic habits and living within our means. We as voters must support the President. His commitment is sincere and evident...we must look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we, too, are committed to making positive change for this great country of ours. He can't do it alone, but together we can and will impact a turnaround for this country.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  120. Sherri Illinois

    The American people voted for President Obama and healthcare for every American was one of his campaign promises. Hillary Clinton ran into a brick wall in the 90's when her husband was President because AGAIN, the Republicans and their Lobbyists fought her until she had to give it up. We are in a new day & time, the American people are hurting and want help which would include healthcare universal I believe its TIME has come!. All Presidents & Congress have FREE healthcare for life and its the topnotch healthcare, you wouldn't see any of them seating for 4 hrs in a ER waiting & waiting & waiting!!!. God bless President Obama. he's doing more for the middle & low income Americans than President Bush did in his 8 yr tenure!.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  121. david doherty

    By pulling out the veto pen, and not being afraid to use it.

    Dave from NH.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  122. rpb Viburnum Mo

    The war is on and the American people finaly have a heavy wieght on their side. Obama has to win.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  123. Toni from OK

    It will be hard. Right now insurance corporations are meeting with all of the employees to tell them to write a letter against the health care bill. He will have to fight the insurance and drug companies who are very powerful. I know I reitred from a big insurance firm after 28 years of which 10 were on the Management side.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  124. Phil P. in NJ

    One at a time, Jack. Just one at a time.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm |