Study Finds Obama More Experienced Than Half of His Rivals

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The Big Lie about Senator Barack Obama's experience is put to rest by a new study revealing the actual experience of the leading Democratic and Republican candidates for President. Of the nine top candidates for their parties' nomination, only three have served as an elected official longer than Senator Obama, the only candidate whose experience has been questioned. Both of his Democratic rivals -- and half of the Republican hopefuls -- have served in elected office for fewer years than Senator Obama.

Which of the Presidential candidates has the most experience as an elected official? According to a new study by the researchers at Planning/Communications, it's not who the campaign rhetoric suggests.

Topping the principal Democratic contenders is Senator Barack Obama with 11 years in elected office versus just seven for Senator Hillary Clinton and six for former Senator John Edwards -- according to their own official biographies. The facts show that not only does Senator Obama have more experience as an elected official than the other major Democratic contenders, he tops half of the leading Republican hopefuls as well. Obama is the only candidate of either party to have his experience questioned by his opponents.

Senator John McCain sits at the head of the class among the leading Republican contenders with 24 years in elected office, followed by Congressman Ron Paul at 18 years, and former Arkansas Governor Michael Huckabee at 15. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Senator Fred Thompson each have served eight years in elected office while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the least experienced of all the candidates with a single four-year term as an elected official.

"With all this talk about experience, especially on the Democratic side, we decided to do something unusual in politics today, identify and report the facts," explains study co-author Daniel Lauber, President of Planning/Communications. "No single job on earth really qualifies somebody to be President of a great nation. It seems that the most neutral, unbiased measure is the length of time a candidate has served as an elected official," Lauber adds.

"Serving as an elected official is the only position in which you're directly accountable to a diverse electorate. It's the only job that tests the skills a President will need to govern effectively, " study co-author Verlench explains.

"To put politics aside and assess the truth, we conducted a study of how long each Presidential candidate has served in elected office, based on the official records of each candidate," explains Lauber, a past President of the American Planning Association and American Institute of Certified Planners. "Examining each candidate's own official record, this study shows that Senator Clinton and the Republicans are orchestrating a Big Lie against Senator Obama when they claim he lacks experience.

Only three of the leading candidates for President have served in elected office longer than Senator Obama. Five have served less.

"With so many other candidates having less experience in elected office than Senator Obama, you've got to wonder how and why Obama's opponents have been able to get away with circulating this Big Lie," questions Lauber. "With this study the press can put an end to this latest example of the Big Lie."

Daniel Lauber, an attorney and city planning consultant is President of Planning/Communications in River Forest, Illinois. Deborah Verlench is Research Director.

Download a high resolution graphic showing the candidates' experience here (over on the right) as well as at . Also available here is a PDF file of this release with the graphic chart. If you have any trouble downloading the file, send an email to to request us to email it to you as an attachment.


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