Obama Tries to Hobble Chamber of Commerce

Conservative business group now 'radioactive' in Washington
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2009 8:50 AM CDT
Obama Tries to Hobble Chamber of Commerce
The United States Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009 in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – The Obama administration is deliberately freezing out a US Chamber of Commerce seemingly chilly to its entire agenda. White House officials have pointedly ignored the Chamber, speaking instead directly with the CEOs of its member companies. “We prefer the approach where the actual people who are on the front lines come and advise us,” Valerie Jarrett tells Politico, not-so-subtly implying that the Chamber is out of touch.

Obama attacked the Chamber directly last week, for “spending millions” to spread “completely false” accusations about his financial protection proposals. The strategy is working; companies have loudly left the chamber, and even some lobbyists are shunning it. “They’ve taken a real hit,” said one. “In the White House and on the Hill, among the people who run things, they are radioactive.” The Chamber says the effort amounts to “a frontal assault against free enterprise,” and one which business leaders won’t take kindly. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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