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Obama promises sweeping government reform
Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters after giving an address on government reform at the N.H. Community Technical College in Manchester, N.H., Friday, June 22, 2007. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Democrat Barack Obama on Friday vowed to institute ethics reforms if elected president, including tough restrictions on lobbying by former political appointees.

The first-term Illinois senator, who has backed legislation to reduce the influence of big money and special interest in lawmaking, offered several proposals. Most notable would be prohibiting political appointees in his administration from lobbying the executive branch for the remainder of his time in office.

Those who join an Obama administration would not be able to work on regulations or contracts directly related to their former employers for two years.

"When I am president, I will make it absolutely clear that working in an Obama administration is not about serving your former employer, your future employer or your bank account - it's about serving your country, and that's what comes first," he said in a speech at New Hampshire Community Technical College in Manchester, N.H.

Under the current administration, Washington lobbyists have turned government "into a game only they can afford to play," Obama said. "A game played on a field that's no longer level, but rigged to always favor their own narrow agendas."

"In our democracy, the price of access and influence should be nothing more than your voice and your vote," he said.

Obama's plan also calls for ending the abuse of no-bid contracts, restoring objectivity to the executive branch and increasing public access to information. He acknowledged that such promises are common but argued that he has the experience and will to follow through.

In the Senate, Obama has supported legislation that would impose additional restrictions on lawmakers becoming lobbyists and establishes new disclosure rules for lobbyists.


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