U.S. Chamber, White House trade non-barbs

Oct. 26, 2009 at 3:09 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- A lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it would take the high road in what he called a "name-calling campaign" from officials at the White House.

"We're not going to take the bait and engage in a name-calling campaign here of invectives back and forth. We're going to stay focused," lobbyist Bruce Josten said, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The White House denied it was trying to alienate the chamber. "There has, of course, been disagreements," said Deputy Press Secretary Jen Psaki. "But we're going to continue to work with the chamber on a variety of issues," Psaki said.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to appear as a keynote speaker at the chamber's November board meeting and President Barack Obama has invited both chamber and National Federation of Independent Business members to a discussion at the White House Thursday, the Post reported.

But tensions remain. During his run for president, Obama said he would "work for the American people" rather than "well-connected interest."

"Under the Obama administration, Washington is changing and the role of big lobbying organizations like the chamber has changed as well," Psaki said.

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