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Google's Schmidt pays Capitol Hill visit

Search giant chief meets with politicians to discuss a list of seemingly wide-open topics; no word on whether hot-button topics like the DoubleClick deal came up.

Earlier this week, we explored the political assault on Google bubbling up from an unlikely mix of companies and consumer groups--and noted none of its top executives had paid any recent personal visits to Capitol Hill in support of their company's practices.

Well, we may have spoken too soon.

On Thursday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt descended on Capitol Hill for meetings with a number of members from both chambers, the firm's Public Policy Blog reports. The list of seemingly wide-open topics included "health care, patent reform, immigration, privacy and consumer issues."

So what about the two topics that have arguably landed Google the most attention among the Washington set these days: challenges to its proposed DoubleClick acquisition and its "open access" stance in an upcoming auction of coveted wireless spectrum?

The search giant isn't telling. A spokesman reached by CNET on Friday declined to reveal more details about the substance of the meetings, except to characterize the discussions as "wide-ranging."

Schmidt started his East Coast jaunt earlier this week in Charleston, S.C., where he witnessed the first Democratic presidential debate to take cues from video questions posed by users of Google's YouTube service. And last weekend, he spoke about education at an annual gathering of the National Governors Association in Traverse City, Mich., Google said.