Obama defends lobbyist hires

Feb. 3, 2009 at 8:41 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday defended the hiring of lobbyists to serve in his administration despite his pledge not to do so.

In an appearance on Fox News, Obama said he has approved the hiring of three former lobbyists out of hundreds of new White House hires.

"We disclosed these ahead of time," Obama said of the hires. "We set a very high bar. And everybody acknowledges that we have the toughest standards, not only of people who have lobbied previously, and the restrictions on them working in this White House, but also going forward."

Some advocates told The New York Times Obama's rules are more significant than others imposed in previous administrations.

"This is a direct attack on the culture of Washington and in an extremely powerful way," said Fred Wertheimer, president of the advocacy group Democracy 21.

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