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ABC: No question McCain intervention helped Airbus
David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday March 13, 2008

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Republican presidential candidate John McCain might be glad that he hasn't received a whole lot of attention since he officially locked up his party's nomination earlier this month, because most eyes are on the still-ongoing Democratic race.

But critics of the Arizona senator are starting to make waves about the Arizona senator's relationships with lobbyists with a European company, by charging that the results cost Americans jobs, according to ABC News.

European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. and Northop Grumman Corp. were awarded a $35 billion Pentagon contract last month to build new Air Force tankers, instead of Boeing Co., and the Seattle-based company is formally challenging the agreement.

Boeing's complaint asks the Government Accountability Office to make sure the EADS contract is fair. McCain pushed for EADS to get the contract, and his campaign employs three former EADS lobbyists, although there is no specific evidence of impropriety, according to ABC.

"Mr. Clean has a bunch of lobbyists that work for a company that won that contract," House Democratic Caucus chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., told the network. "Some people claim the way the specs were written, it was all but certain that the company that his campaign lobbyists worked for couldn't but get that contract."

McCain defended the arrangement, saying none of the EADS lobbyists he now employs lobbied him about the companies contract, and he notes that he doesn't lack Boeing connections either, according to ABC:

But today in New Hampshire, McCain argued that his interest in opening up the bidding process was to benefit the taxpayer. He cited his 2004 congressional investigation of a previous Boeing tanker deal, which uncovered a procurement scandal. "The rather bizarre aspect of it is that I killed off a program that was going to cost the taxpayers an additional $6.2 billion, executives went to jail, CEOs were fired," McCain said.

"What Senator McCain said he has tried to do is make the process for bidding more open, transparent and competitive," explained ABC's Jake Tapper explained in a segment on the network. "In making that argument, McCain has benefited this consortium run largely by Airbus. It has benefited that company without question. Was Senator McCain trying to benefit that company? That's an open question but Boeing seems to think so. A lot of the Democrats in Congress seem to think that the deck was stacked against Boeing. "

More details from The New York Times here.

This video is from, broadcast March 13, 2008.