Barack Obama is running TV ads asserting that Republican rival John McCain is "in the pocket" of Big Oil, and the Democratic National Committee is pushing an "Exxon-McCain '08" campaign.
But while Obama's campaign points to the flood of contributions from oil executives that flowed to McCain after he changed his position and came out in favor of more offshore oil drilling, a watchdog group says that it turns out that Obama has received more campaign cash from executives at some of those companies.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported today that employees of Exxon, Chevron, and BP have all contributed more money to Obama than to McCain.
"Through June, Exxon employees have given Obama $42,100 to McCain's $35,166. Chevron favors Obama $35,157 to $28,500, and Obama edges out McCain with BP $16,046 vs. $11,500," the center said.
But McCain has raised more from nearly every other top giver in the oil and gas industry, including Hess Corp. -- $91,000 to Obama's $8,000.
And, overall, McCain's campaign has received about three times more from the oil and gas industry than Obama's has -- $1.3 million compared to about $394,000.
Democrats continue to flog McCain's ties to the industry, and responded to the campaign finance report.
"Let there be no mistake, the oil and gas industry knows that Exxon-McCain is the ticket to four more years of record profits and skyrocketing energy costs," said DNC spokesman Damien LaVera. "Our political opponents can try to muddy the waters if they want, but Big Oil has steered more than $2 million to the Exxon-McCain 08 campaign for a reason. John McCain's promise of more of the same reckless giveaways and tax breaks for Big Oil and obstruction of alternatives to oil is exactly what Big Oil is looking for, which is why Exxon-McCain is their ticket this November."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.