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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 10, 2008 10:23 AM

McCain v. Boeing in TV spot

Posted by David Postman

A group pushing for public financing of political campaigns is airing a TV spot in D.C. criticizing Sen. John McCain’s role in the multi-billion dollar Air Force tanker deal. The contract went to Airbus, prompting a formal complaint by Boeing and much criticism from Washington state lawmakers.

The non-profit Public Campaign Action Fund is considering airing the ad in Washington state and Missouri - both places with heavy Boeing employment, said spokesman David Donnelly.

But what’s the connection between public financing of campaigns and the Boeing deal? Donnelly said:

Our mission is to promote public financing and hold politicians accountable who oppose reform while doing favors for special interest donors and lobbyists.

The group also filed a complaint yesterday with the Federal Elections Commission. The group claims that a lobbying firm may have subsidized the salary of a McCain campaign staffer and that another lobbying firm - owned in part by campaign manager Rick Davis - improperly discounted a bill to the campaign.

A spokesman for the McCain campaign said that the senator should be hailed, not criticized, for his role in the Air Force tanker deal. Rick Gorka said people are unhappy with McCain because he stopped an earlier tanker contract from being awarded to Boeing. That contract was tainted by scandal inside Boeing and the Pentagon.

“That deal stank,” Gorka said. “John McCain is a guy who will stand up to these kinds of things regardless of the fallout. He ended up saving the taxpayer $6 billion.”

On the latest contract, McCain has been accused of interceding on Airbus’ behalf. (The claim is made again in the Public Campaign TV spot.) McCain has said that’s untrue. During a visit to Washington state last month, McCain said there’s no evidence of that and that he fully supports the government review of the contract prompted by Boeing’s complaints.

HEY COMMENTER JIM: I deleted one of your comments because it was so clearly over the line of acceptable debate. And others are clearly offensive. I have to say if I deleted comments just because I disagreed with them yours about McCain would be gone, too.

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