As Uber accelerates, politicians get involved

Uber is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the world.

Every time someone uses the smartphone app to summon a ride instead of hailing a taxi, it adds to the five-year-old company's multi-billion dollar bottom line.

But some prominent politicians have found that there's another reason why the company is valuable this election year, CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues reports.

As Uber hits the road in more cities, prominent Democrats and Republicans are hitching a ride on the message its explosive expansion, and the opposition to it, sends. Some Republicans believe it's business versus big government.

"It's a perfect example of how big companies and big corporations and established industries use government regulations to drive out and prevent competition," said Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

In cities across the country and all over the world, Uber is facing resistance. Traditional taxis and some unions accuse the company of thriving without facing the same rules and regulations.

With Uber now becoming a campaign issue in this country, Robert Werth, the president of the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association, believes some politicians are traveling down the wrong road.

"I don't really think that this issue is an issue that is at the top of the pyramid when we're looking at the whole remit of issues that our society is faced with today," Werth said. "I think that this is a basically a simple political ploy."

The Republican National Committee launched an online petition in support of Uber.

"Companies like Uber are the embodiment of the free market. It's not the government's job to protect the old way of doing things," an RNC spokesman told CBS News.

And it's not just the RNC. One of president Obama's former top election strategists, Democrat David Plouffe, is now working for Uber.

While bi-partisan support for the company this election year could help it expand, it may also backfire, turning some customers and supporters off.

"Republicans may have put it on their website, but Uber isn't a Republican or Democratic issue, it's a quality of life issue," said CBS News political analyst and GOP strategist Frank Luntz, adding that, "at a time when so few Americans trust what Washington is doing, and they're struggling to get by, you want to be on the side of a company that actually improves the quality of life and is a company focused on the future. So it may make political sense, but most importantly it's beneficial to the average American who desperately needs transportation."

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