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Obama's First Law Known As "Google for Government"


Location: Chicago, IL

Some A-list celebrities now say U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is their presidential pick for 2008. Oprah Winfrey and Halle Berry have gone public urging him to run.

Tuesday was a big day for the junior senator from Illinois. For the first time, a bill he sponsored became law.

CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports the fruits of Obama's legal labor will be found on the Internet.

The new law provides Americans with a new website, what Obama calls a "Google for government." Eventually, anyone will be able to type in a few key words and learn details of where federal tax dollars go, and perhaps whether those trillions are being spent wisely or foolishly.

While he was the last legislator President George W. Bush saluted, it was still a big day for a freshman who's joked about how tough it is when you're almost dead last in seniority.

"I finally got a bill passed," Obama said.

It's a good-government measure designed to give journalists and average citizens access to budget secrets Washington insiders now try to hide, like that notorious "earmark" done late at night authorizing hundreds of millions of dollars for a bridge to a virtually uninhabited island up in Alaska, the so-called Bridge to Nowhere.

"All of us have an interest in making sure that our tax money is spent wisely. If it's going to bridges to nowhere in Alaska, if it's going to some fat cat contractor who has a relationship with a legislator, that's money that could've gone to teacher salaries," Obama said.

Obama cited the new law as proof that, even though he is sometimes criticized by fellow Democrats for cooperating with Senate majority Reoublicans, the effort is worth it.

"It will shine the light. The famous saying that sunshine is the best disinfectant. This will apply some sunshine on the budgeting process. It's just one step. We've got to take more steps to control how we spend money here and make sure it's spent wisely," Obama said.

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