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Obama: Business as usual
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 14, 2008

To give a perfect example of the points Jon was making about earmarks and their ability to corrupt or do favors, consider this. Barack Obama got an earmark through for a million dollars which went to the University of Chicago Hospitals:
Here's one highlight: Obama sought money for the University of Chicago Hospitals. Wife Michelle works for the University of Chicago Hospitals, appointed in spring 2005 as vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. She is now on leave from the job to campaign for her husband. Top campaign adviser and friend Valerie Jarrett is the Chair of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board and also Chair of the Executive Committee of that board. She has also been named Vice-Chair of the University's Board of Trustees. Obama taught at the U. of Chicago law school and the Obama's two daughters attend school there.
The Obama campaign explains it like this:
Obama Requested $1 Million For Construction Of A New Hospital Pavilion At The University Of Chicago. In 2006, Obama requested that the University of Chicago receive $1 million to support its Construction of New Hospital Pavilion. For more than 75 years, the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH) has provided state of the art medical care on the South Side of Chicago. UCH is one of the largest Medicaid providers in Illinois, and it provided more than $90 million in uncompensated care for Medicare and Medicaid patients this past year. To continue providing the best care for patients from all walks of life, UCH is proceeding with the construction of a new 600,000 square foot facility that will ensure their ability to provide the best care for patients well into the future. Funding will go towards assisting the construction and equipping a new hospital pavilion that will increase the Hospitals' clinical capacity by over one-third. [Obama Request Letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, 4/7/06]
Jim Geraghty quoting Byron York:
"In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office."
Geraghty concludes, "Looks like that raise was worth it."

Now, you may conclude that this is all much ado about nothing, that while it may appear to be shady, it probably isn't, that a million bucks is a veritable drop in the financial ocean and besides, that's the way politicians have always done business forever.

But isn't that the point? This is supposed to be the politician who is going to "change" all of that, isn't he? Isn't that the "hope"?
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