But K Street sources emphasized that doors in the White House are open not just to favored friends of Obamas minions.
My sense is they take a very practical view of their interaction with lobbyists, activists and interest groups, another top Democratic lobbyist said. If people can support or promote the presidents agenda, there is a very business-like working relationship.
This source said the more welcoming welcome mat unfurled in recent months to K Street is less a function of realizing that lobbyists can do them some good than it is a matter of the presidents agenda getting ramped up and needing the type of support that lobbyists can provide.
Some sources describe a more sophisticated, less black and white approach by the White House a recognition that reviled enemies can also be friends, depending on the issue.
Lobbyists for groups like the American Medical Association, drugmakers and others who might be natural enemies of the Obama administration on some issues are brought in as the president tries to assemble alliances to get his health reform agenda passed.
Meanwhile, obvious allies registered to represent environmental groups and alternative energy companies are helping drum up support for the climate change bill.
Lobbyists with health care and financial services clients believe they have particular cachet with Obama aides as these issues assume center stage.
But those looking for project funding the type of influence peddling that Obama vowed to crush are less successful.
Its different for people doing appropriations and the stimulus bill, one veteran Democratic lobbyist said. Theyre kept more at arms length.
The go-to types for K Street in the West Wing extend well beyond the office of the public liaison, which is viewed in some quarters as a place to ping with concerns but not always to get serious business done.
Among those in high positions seen as willing to answer the phone are White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, Senior Adviser Peter Rouse, officials in the White House legislative affairs office and White House health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle.
But few, if any, lobbyists seem to think they have a chance at actually landing jobs within the administration. After a storm of criticism over some early exceptions made by Obama to tough rules limiting the hiring of lobbyists, K Street believes Obama has barred the door.
Thats gotten more stringent than when they started, one source said. A few got in under the wire, but now thats come to an end.