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DNC Tweaks McCain After GAO Tanker Ruling

Hours after the Government Accountability Office upheld Boeing’s protest of the Air Force aerial refueling tanker award, the Democratic National Committee sought to score a few political points against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

McCain has had a long history with the tanker program, derailing an initial bid by Boeing to lease tanker aircraft and helping adjust an early draft of the Air Force’s tanker solicitations to ensure Northrop Grumman would provide the Pentagon with competition for the program.

After doing so, several of his campaign advisers signed on to lobby for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., Northrop’s partner in the tanker program, including Tom Loeffler, William Ball and Susan Nelson of The Loeffler Group.

And that relationship gives the DNC a place to poke.

"Now that the GAO has found that the tanker deal was not the 'open' and 'transparent' process he claimed to be seeking, Senator McCain has a responsibility to stand up for America's working families and insist the Air Force reopen the bidding on this tanker," said DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney.

"After siding with his lobbyist friends in helping steer tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs overseas the last time around,” she said, “Senator McCain has an opportunity to do the right thing now.”

But she added, “We're not holding our breath."

McCain’s campaign could not be immediately reached for comment.

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