Fun with CQ Moneyline: Nearly $200,000 for the President's election came from one company's executives, who happen to work for the nation's biggest operator of nuclear power plants.
You can bet they are now applauding Obama's continuing drive for federally-backed industry loans despite the horror in Japan.
Nearly 250 executives with the Chicago-based Exelon Corporation wrote checks for Obama's 2008 campaign that eventually totaled $197,261. Obama's closest Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, got $700 from Exelon workers. His general election foe, Republican John McCain, collected $35,600.
Ties between Obama and his home state's nuclear powerhouse go back to his 2004 Senate election, when Exelon gave him nearly $50,000. His longtime advisor, David Axelrod, was a consultant for the company.
Early in 2008 the New York Times reported on how Obama the senator had dealt with news that Exelon "had not disclosed radioactive leaks at one of its nuclear plants." After initially siding with outraged citizens by introducing tough legislation, he eventually weakened the bill to Exelon's liking -- and never got it passed (despite claiming on the presidential campaign trail that he had won passage).
"On one side were neighbors of several nuclear plants upset that low-level radioactive leaks had gone unreported for years; on the other was Exelon, the country's largest nuclear plant operator and one of Mr. Obama's largest sources of campaign money. "
-- New York Times, (2/3/2008)
Since those days, the President has justified his friendly relations with the nuclear giant, the third largest in the world, citing his belief that radioactive power is vital to the Administration's green energy agenda. But the Japanese catastrophe reminds us that clean is not exactly spotless.
Not surprisingly, Obama's benefactor is a leading advocate for tens of billions in federal loan guarantees to its industry -- a desire that the White House still dutifully promotes despite the tsunami-provoked backlash against nuclear power.
Exelon's CEO John W. Rowe laid down the marker last year in a speech:
"We support loan guarantees to jump start new nuclear construction, which will be needed to diversify our generation mix and replace the current aging nuclear fleet."
Last month Obama's 2012 budget sought $36 billion in underwriting for new reactors, doubling the $18.5 billion that George W. Bush had set aside.
So far Obama is not backing away from this nuclear war against fossil fuel. Pick your poison.
That's change we can believe in, all right.
What a crook.