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Experience by the Numbers

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Experience has been a bone of contention between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. There has seemed to be no real way of discerning the truth except to take each candidate on his or her word. At least that is what I thought until recently.

Two mass circulating emails have in different ways addressed concretely Senator Barack Obama's legislative experience. The first puts his experience in numbers. The second links to articles and sites that outline, and in two instances quantify, both his Senate and his Illinois legislative career.

The emails made clear that this is the kind of work that should be the focus of the TV and print press rather than reporting, which is actually more just reiterating, what each of the candidates espouse with only spotty critical analysis. The press has overwhelmed the voters with the horse race and their predictions when we could use the investigative work to keep the candidates honest and cut through some of the political bull.

This is not my research so I can't assure complete accuracy but here is Obama's record as outlined in an emailed from an unidentified source:

"During the first (8) eight years of his elected service he sponsored over 820 bills:
  • 233 regarding healthcare reform
  • 125 poverty and public assistance bills
  • 112 crime fighting bills
  • 97 economic bills
  • 60 human rights and anti-discrimination bills
  • 21 ethics reform bills
  • 15 gun control
  • 6 veterans affairs
  • and many others.
His first year in the U.S. Senate, he authored 152 bills and co-sponsored another 427. These included:
  • Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006 (became law)
  • The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act (became law)
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (passed the Senate)
  • 2007 Government Ethics Bill (became law) Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill (In committee)
  • and many more.

In all since entering the U.S. Senate, Senator Obama has written 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096."

Obama seems to have an impressive record especially, as Clinton's camp claims, for someone who has no experience. I'd be curious to know how these numbers compare to Hillary Clinton's legislative record during her 8 years in the Senate.

At least Obama's record is public unlike many of the 30 plus years of Clinton's, including her calendar as First Lady. How can we have accountability in government if the candidates are often selective with their records and their opponent's and the press focuses on reiterating these selective views as opposed to investigating them?


For the links to Obama's US Senate record click here and here.

For a link to Obama's Illinois Legislative record, click here.