Barack Obama is now apparently denying his ties with Acorn. Here’s what he’s posted on the subject at his “Fight the Smears” website. These claims are contradicted by several sources, a number of which I linked to in my piece, “Inside Obama’s Acorn.” In that piece, you’ll find a link to a Los Angeles Times piece in which Chicago Acorn leader Madeline Talbott is described as so impressed with Obama that “she invited him to help train her staff.” You’ll also see a link to a statement by Obama himself, made in pursuit of Acorn’s endorsement. Obama says: “I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.” In my piece, “No Liberation,” you’ll find a link to a 1995 profile of Obama which says: “Obama continues his organizing work largely through classes for future leaders identified by ACORN and the Centers for New Horizons on the south side.” My articles provide background, but the quotes and links I’ve presented here, and in the past, pretty conclusively contradict Obama’s current claims at “Fight the Smears.”
Perhaps the strongest evidence against Obama’s attempt to deny his ties to Acorn comes in an article by Toni Foulkes, a Chicago Acorn leader, and a member of Acorn’s National Association Board, in the journal Social Policy. That article appears on pages 49-52 of the combined Winter 2003-Spring 2004 issue, Vol. 34, No. 2, Vol. 34, No. 3. I provide a link to a pay-for-access page to that article in my “Inside Obama’s Acorn” piece. As I’ve just been informed by a reader, however, the journal Social Policy appears to have pulled the link to that article, rendering it inaccessible, even by purchase. You can find the apparently pulled link here.
A link to a second article also appears to have been pulled here. I was previously unaware of this second article, “Towards a Chicago School of Youth Organizing,” by Alyson Parham and Jeff Pinzino. I would strongly suggest that people try to find this article in hard copy at a library. (What is it about Obama and libraries?)
The Toni Foulkes piece clearly contradicts Obama’s denials of ties to Acorn at “Fight the Smears.” Here’s a key passage:
Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992…Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5000 of them)…
Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus, it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. [Actually, the congressional race was in 2000, SK] By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends.
Has Social Policy blocked access to those two articles to protect Obama? Was the Obama campaign involved? How does Barack Obama explain his denials of a link to Acorn in light of the evidence? Shouldn’t the press be asking him about this?