Barack Obama trumpets corn-derived ethanol as an alternative energy source and has endorsed tariffs that benefit the industry. But the Times reports that many in the Obama campaign, from Tom Daschle to the candidate's top environmental adviser, have close ties to the corn industry—a kernel of the surprise victory in Iowa.
Ethanol production is one issue where Obama diverges sharply with John McCain: The Republican wants to end multibillion-dollar government subsidies and opposes a hefty, possibly illegal tariff on superior ethanol from Brazil. But Obama says eliminating the maize money would imperil "our country’s drive toward energy independence." An Obama spokesman insisted his views were based on merits.