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Please, Make It Stop!

Another aspect of the fallout from Jim Johnson’s resignation from the Obama campaign is, as Marc Ambinder terms it, a "war of attrition" between the campaigns. Right now, Sen. Barack Obama is winning, having effectively picked off five of McCain’s high-level advisers in last month’s so-called "lobbyist purge." But it seems to be a Pyrrhic victory, as it has now cost him his top vice presidential nominee vetter, and now that Republicans have seen that Obama can be cowed by negative media attention, they are taking aim at another of Obama advisers. According to Politico’s Mike Allen:

The Obama campaign has indicated that there are a couple more McCain advisers it would like to see go the way of the dodo as well. The campaign said this after Johnson’s resignation:

“We don’t need any lectures from a campaign that waited 15 months to purge the lobbyists from their staff, and only did so because they said it was a ‘perception problem. It’s too bad their campaign is still rife with lobbyist influence and doesn’t see a similar ‘perception problem’ with the man currently running their own vice presidential selection process, a prominent DC lobbyist whose firm has represented Exxon and a top Enron executive, or their campaign chair and John McCain’s top economic adviser Carly Fiorina, who presided over thousands of layoffs at Hewlett Packard while receiving a $21 million severance package and $650,000 in mortgage assistance,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.>

The head of McCain’s vice presidential search team is Arthur Culvahouse, who has lobbied on behalf of Lockheed Martin and Fannie Mae. Politico’s Jonathan Martin argued yesterday that the Obama camp may have a point concerning Fiorina:

As McCain laments the sky-high pay packages of CEOs — as he did yesterday before NFIB — he’s going to be hit with questions about one pretty lucrative deal.

As Obama’s camp points out, Carly Fiorina, now a top McCain economic adviser and frequent surrogate, took a $21 million severance package upon being ousted from Hewlett Packard in addition to $650,000 in mortgage assistance.

So where will the war of attrition end? Will any campaign adviser — typically well-connected, Washington insider types — be able to pass the squeaky-clean test that appears to be developing? Will the 2008 presidential campaign ultimately go down in history as the first to be staffed entirely by interns?

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