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Edwards Consultant Tied to Anti-Union Ads

Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, speaks at Saluda Shoals Park in West Columbia, S.C.
Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, speaks at Saluda Shoals Park in West Columbia, S.C. (By Chris Keane -- Bloomberg News)

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Friday, July 20, 2007

While on a tour highlighting poverty this week, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards faced more questions about whether his focus on the issue was undermined by, among other things, his work at a hedge fund and his $6 million house. A closer look at his campaign finance reports reveals another potential contradiction: His campaign paid more than $200,000 in May and June to a Georgia-based media consultant that was working at the same time with an antilabor group dedicated to exposing the way unions have plowed "mandatory union dues" into their "radical political agendas."

While Edwards was launching his first campaign ads, the group Center for Union Facts launched its own advertising aimed at stopping unions from using membership dues for political contributions. (The ads can be viewed at Edwards's consultant, LUC Media, operates from the same suite, at the same address, with the same chief executive as the agency that purchased advertising time for the Center for Union Facts, a company called 1-2-1 Interactive Media.

Christopher M. Werner, who is listed on Georgia incorporation papers as the CEO of both firms, said the two companies are "totally separate entities, with separate staff." Werner said, "I have an interest from way back, but I don't do any work for [1-2-1 Interactive]." He added, "We're thrilled to be working for Senator Edwards."

Edwards aides said they are looking into the matter.

-- Matthew Mosk

Obama: The Old Kid on the Block?

Is Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) trying to battle the perception that he does not have the right experience for the White House? His campaign launched an "Obama for commander in chief" -- rather than the less awkward "Obama for president" -- tour in Iowa this week, featuring a two-star general speaking on his behalf to help burnish Obama's credentials.

And in a speech in Washington on Wednesday, Obama made a point of mentioning a career that began "more than 25 years ago," underscoring his time on the job. In many surveys, it is Obama's perceived lack of experience that seems to hurt him most against front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), -- a lifelong political insider who is running on her time in Washington.

-- Anne E. Kornblut

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