Lobbyists Open War Chests to Battle Obama

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2009 10:00 AM CST
President Barack Obama speaks after an economics meeting yesterday at the White House.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In his address to Congress, President Obama made it clear certain industries are in his crosshairs, from agribusiness to defense to health care. But those industries aren’t taking it lying down, the Wall Street Journal reports. They’re spending big on lobbyists, hoping to derail—or at least reshape—details of Obama’s budget. “It is in Congress where the rubber meets the road,” said a farming rep.

After Obama’s Tuesday address, hospitals giant HCA Inc. unveiled a $20 million lobbying campaign to pressure Democrats toward free-market health moves. Electric, coal, and mining interests are behind a $40 million push for subsidies for carbon capture in coal plants. And the defense industry escalated efforts even before the speech; the Aerospace Industries Association has spent $2 million on ads, and Boeing hired several new heavy-hitting lobbyists.