WASHINGTON, IOWA -- John Edwards took his anti-lobbyist rhetoric to a new level this afternoon at a community meeting, promising to keep them from infiltrating 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
"When I am President of the United States, no corporate lobbyist or anyone who has lobbied for a foreign government will work in my White House," said Edwards.
Campaign spokesman Mark Kornblau said that Edwards is the first candidate to say he would ban all corporate lobbyists from working inside his administration.
Edwards's declaration is a clear shot across the bow of Barack Obama, who has been hitting the Edwards about 527 groups working on his behalf. Just two weeks ago, Obama was asked if he would ban anyone who had lobbying on his or her resume. He responded that he would enforce a ban only to the extent that the new job would be associated with the lobbyist's prior industry.
"If somebody lobbied ten years ago and they are applying for a job that's completely unrelated, then, you know, it would not be an outright ban of that sort," said Obama told reporters in Waterloo, Iowa.
"What I'm saying is the revolving door, the pattern of people going from industry to agency back to industry – that will be closed in the Obama White House."
In the news conference following today's event, a highly skeptical press corps asked how Edwards could enforce such a ban.
Edwards said his definition of lobbyists would be "people who have lobbied – been registered lobbyists in Washington on behalf of corporate interests" at the federal level.
Edwards added that it applies only to those lobbyists "who've lobbied against the interests of the American people, and those who have lobbied on behalf of foreign governments," as opposed to lobbyists working on behalf of pro-labor or other causes championed by Edwards.
When asked how he could characterize those "who've lobbied against the interests of the American people," Edwards said, "This will be a judgment I'll make."
CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic contributed to this report.