Romney, reporter spar on lobbyist claim

Jan. 20, 2008 at 7:14 PM
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COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney turned feisty with a reporter who challenged the role of lobbyists in his campaign in the run-up to South Carolina's presidential primary election.

A wire service political reporter interrupted Romney during a South Carolina campaign appearance as Romney was saying lobbyists are not running his Republican presidential campaign, The Boston Herald reported Friday.

The journalist told the candidate that wasn't true, pointing out Romney's top campaign adviser is Ron Kaufman, a Washington lobbyist who worked on President George W. Bush's campaign.

Kaufman, who works for the politically wired lobbying firm Dutko Worldwide, regularly sits next to Romney on planes between campaign stops, the newspaper reported.

"Ron is a wonderful friend, an adviser," Romney said. "He's not paid. He's an adviser like many others, but I do not have lobbyists running my campaign."

Another top Romney adviser, former Rep. Vin Weber, R-Minn., also is a lobbyist, the Herald said.

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