Even though war advocate John McCain is decisively pro-military and highly likely to extend U.S. involvement in the Iraq War for as long as another 30 years, and is also highly likely to start a new war with Iran if elected president, he has failed to endear himself to most in the military contractor community which largely views Senator Clinton as a more reliable ally. Both McCain and Clinton are members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
What makes the defense contractors highly wary of McCain is his investigations into a number of large defense contractor deals which have sometimes helped to kill major deals such as the $23.5 deal with Boeing and the Air Force to lease or buy 100 aerial refilling planes. The result of McCain's investigation resulted in the head of Boeing resigning as well as two Air Force officials, and two other former Boeing officials being sent to prison.
As of February 15, McCain has attracted $129, 350 in defense contractor donations compared to Clinton which has drawn in $143, 433. Obama has drawn in just $70,502 largely because he is a relatively unknown quantity compared to the reputations of McCain and Clinton. Clinton has helped to steer a number of large military contracts to her native state of New York, and has largely avoided the military contractor corruption investigations that have often been blamed on McCain by the military contractors.
Unlike Bush, who has been seen as major ally for defense contractors who strongly supported him in 2000 and 2004 because of his determination to create a massive windfall for them by starting a new war with Iraq, McCain is simply seen as far too erratic and unpredictable, if not a major source of problems for military contractors, especially if there is any hint of waste or corruption.
Normally you would expect military contractors to rush to support such a strong war advocate as McCain because of all the big profits they would see from selling arms goods to the U.S. military. But given his reputation as more of a trouble maker for defense contractors rather than a reputation like Clinton for mainly only helping to pass along earmark military contracts for her home state, many defense contractors are sort of cool to sending McCain the biggest campaign donations so far.
2008 may shape up as a strange year in which the biggest military contractor money largely stays away from the Republican candidate this year. McCain's vision to "win" the Iraq War which could extend the U.S. role there for decades or possibly start a new big war with Iran just don't seem to be big enough lures at this point to attract the biggest defense contractor campaign money for McCain.
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