The Obama campaign says its candidate is a victim of “smears” — and has even created a Web site to fight such attacks.
But a Newsmax investigation finds many of the so-called smears are largely based in truth — and the Obama campaign uses half-truths, clever language, and ad hominem attacks to spin the facts.
Obama’s www.FightTheSmears.com focuses mainly on anti-Obama messages being repeated on the Internet and talk radio, the only media where Obama's ideological allies are not dominant.
These "smears" and the Obama rebuttals are often framed in lawyerly language that leaves much wiggle room in the candidate’s answers.
FightTheSmears.com also makes no attempt at objectivity, describing Obama’s critics as “pushing misleading research and distorted claims” because they are “ideologues” busy “spreading a ‘pack of lies’ about Barack.”
In a section of the site titled, “Who’s Behind the Smears?” visitors can see a chart naming seven groups and six individuals with lines that suggest multiple, sinister connections between them.
The people and groups named are real and are members of Washington’s small but conservative sphere of power and influence. The Obama conspiracy chart links all of these conservative individuals and groups back to the critics who dogged the “Clinton 1992 Campaign.”
This may come as something as a surprise to Hillary Clinton, as many of the “smears” against Obama first surfaced during her heated primary contest with him.
Newsmax reviewed 10 random claims and related rebuttals posted on Obama’s ever-changing FightTheSmears.com to gauge their veracity. Here’s what we found:
Claim No. 1: Obama's campaign is funded by the rich, big corporations and foreigners.
“Barack Obama was the only major presidential candidate this year to completely reject contributions from The Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs that have dominated our politics for years,” the Obama site says of the persistent online criticisms of its fundraising.
“Instead, this campaign has been owned by the more than 3.1 million everyday Americans who have donated in small amounts.”
Not so, according to campaign finance records. Nearly half of the $600 million raised by Obama to date has come from wealthy donors and special interests. Obama's allies months ago dropped their ad linking Republican rival “Exxon John” McCain to Big Oil after it came to light that Obama had taken far more money from Exxon-Mobil than McCain.
“The Obama campaign has complied fully with federal election law,” claims the Obama site, “including donor eligibility and contribution disclosure requirements.”
However, one giant loophole the politicians wrote into the law allows contributions in amounts of $200 or less with no donor identification. Obama claims that $300 million in campaign funds was given by these small donors, and he won’t release their names and addresses.
McCain has released his whole donor database, including those who have contributed less than $200.
Critics argue that the other half of Obama’s campaign haul — the part not raised from big corporate donors and special interests — came in a small flood of anonymous donations that might be foreign or corrupt, or both.
Claim No. 2: Obama has had a close, ongoing relationship with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.
The Obama site acknowledges that its candidate and Ayers ”served on the board of an education-reform organization in the mid-1990s,” but maintains most stories about the links between Obama and Ayers are phony or exaggerated.
It does not mention that Obama and Ayers worked together on the board distributing millions of dollars with the aim of radicalizing Chicago schoolchildren.
Nor does the site acknowledge that Obama kicked off his first political campaign in the living room of Ayers, the former Weather Underground leader. (Obama is currently saying it was not the first event. There is no dispute that one of Obama’s first political events in his first run for public office was held in Ayers’ home.)
There is also no dispute the Weather Underground bombed the Pentagon the Capitol, the home of a New York Supreme Court justice, and a police station, among other targets. FBI agent Larry Grathwohl, who infiltrated the group, has recounted Ayers teaching him how to make bombs and saying, “In the revolution, some innocent people need to die.”
“Smear groups and now a desperate McCain campaign are trying to connect Barack to William Ayers using age-old guilt by association techniques . . .” says the Obama Web site.
Actually, McCain and Obama critics are questioning why Obama would continue to associate with a man who, as recently as 2001, said he did not do enough and wished he had bombed more.
Conservatives also note that if Ayers had bombed abortion clinics, the liberal media would brand him a pariah forever. What does it tell us about the liberal media’s and Obama’s judgment and values that they see nothing wrong with embracing unrepentant terrorist Ayers today?
Claim No. 3: Obama takes advice from executives of troubled mortgage backer Fannie Mae.
“John McCain started smearing Obama about non-existent ties to Fannie Mae in some of his deceptive attack ads,” says FightTheSmears.com. The site downplays connections between Obama and two former heads of the giant mortgage-backing institution — James A. Johnson and Franklin D. Raines — whose corruption played a key role in the current financial crisis.
But an editorial in the Aug. 27, 2008, Washington Post described Johnson and Raines, as “members of Mr. Obama’s political circle.”
Raines advised the Obama campaign on housing matters. Obama chose Johnson to select his vice presidential running mate. But because neither are advising Obama today, this Web site’s present-tense claim that he “doesn’t [not didn’t] take advice from Fannie Mae execs” is technically, if deceptively, true.
Johnson also reportedly helped raise as much as $500,000 for Obama’s campaign.
And despite Obama’s lack of seniority in the U.S. Senate, he pocketed more than $105,000 in political contributions, the third-highest amount given to any lawmaker, directly from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama’s Web site leaves all this unmentioned.
Claim No. 4: Obama has close ties with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a group suspected of massive voter registration fraud.
Obama’s site says the candidate was never an ACORN employee and that ACORN “was not part of Project Vote, the successful voter registration drive [Obama] ran in 1992.”
In defending Obama, the site resorts to smearing former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell — calling him a “discredited Republican voter-suppression guru” — for daring to fight the vote fraud so often associated with operatives of ACORN, among the largest radical groups in the United States.
As Newsmax has documented in ["Clever Obama Tries To Bury ACORN Past,"] Obama’s Web site is attempting to deceive when it says Obama was never “hired” to work as a trainer for ACORN’s leaders. In fact, he did the work for free from at least 1993 until 2003.
ACORN spokesman Lewis Goldberg acknowledges in the Oct. 11, 2008, New York Times that Obama trained ACORN leaders. And Obama worked as a lawyer for ACORN.
As to heading up Project Vote in Illinois, Obama said during a speech to ACORN leaders last November, "[When] I ran the Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack-dab in the middle of it.”
Veteran journalist Karen Tumulty described Project Vote in the Oct. 18, 2004, issue of Time magazine as “a nonpartisan arm of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now” after interviewing its national director.
The co-founder of ACORN, former Students for a Democratic Society official Wade Rathke, described Project Vote as one of ACORN’s “family of organizations.”
Over the years, ACORN and its front groups, like the one Obama ran in Illinois, have registered more than 4 million voters. When authorities in Virginia checked ACORN registrations, it found that 83 percent were fraudulent or had problems. This, in theory, could mean ACORN may have created the opportunity for stealing more than 3.3 million votes in this November’s election, a margin far wider than that by which Obama is likely to win.
Claim No. 5: Obama has shown only wavering support for individual gun-ownership rights.
“During Barack’s career in the Illinois and United States Senates, he proudly stood to defend the rights of hunters and sportsmen,” says Obama’s Web site, “while doing everything he could to protect children — including his own two daughters — from illegal gun violence.”
But the National Rifle Association, it continues, “is distributing a dishonest and cowardly flyer that makes confrontational accusations and runs away from verifying them.”
Actually, the NRA does a meticulous job of laying out documentation, as Newsmax reported in September ["NRA to Fight Obama Over Gun Rights Flip-Flops,"] to show that Obama has supported handgun confiscation; the handgun ban in Washington, D.C.; a virtual ban on high-powered rifle ammunition; and many other draconian restrictions on Second Amendment rights.
If elected, wrote the NRA, Obama “would be the most anti-gun president in American history.”
Claim No. 6: A fervent supporter of abortion rights, Obama supports late-term and partial-birth abortions.
The Obama Web site dismisses such criticism as the work of “radical anti-abortion ideologues running ads against Barack.”
But as an Illinois state senator, Obama voted repeatedly against legislation to protect infants who, during a late-term abortion, were “born alive.” Such protection, he has argued, already exists in Illinois; it does, but is subject to the abortionist’s decision whether such an infant has a good likelihood of survival.
Nurses have reported instances in which surviving aborted babies were left by abortionists to die without water, food, or warmth.
Obama’s Web site notes that even the Republican author of one of these bills, former state Sen. Rick Winkel, has written that “none of those who voted against [his bill] favored infanticide.”
True, but Obama’s site does not quote the rest of Winkel’s statement: “[T]heir zeal for pro-choice dogma was clearly the overriding force behind their negative votes rather than concern that my bill would protect babies who are born alive.”
Obama has a 100 percent pro-choice voting record according to NARAL Pro-Choice America; his rating from the National Right to Life Committee is zero.
How extreme is Obama on this issue? In the U.S. Senate, he has voted against bills that would prohibit minors from crossing state lines for abortion without parental notification.
"Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old,” Obama has said. “I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
Claim No. 7: Obama showed little interest or support for American combat troops during his overseas visits.
Doubts about Obama’s true support for the military cropped up during a campaign trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Europe.
A widely circulated e-mail, penned by Army Capt. Jeffrey S. Porter, described Obama's visit to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan: “As the Soldiers lined up to shake his hand, he blew them off . . . He again shunned the opportunity to talk to soldiers to thank them for their service . . . I swear we got more thanks from the NBA basketball players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders than from [Obama].”
Porter later recanted, sending a follow-up e-mail that said, in part: “After checking my sources, information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong.” He did not specify which information was wrong, leading Obama skeptics to suspect that this officer has been disciplined by his superiors.
Heading home, Obama touched down in Germany, where he “was scheduled to visit the American hospitals at Ramstein and Landstuhl.” But as The Washington Post reported, Obama “canceled the trips after being told by Pentagon officials that he could only visit in his official capacity as a senator, not as a candidate” and could not have his visits with hospitalized soldiers videotaped by the media.
Prominent liberal mainstream media reporters such as NBC’s Andrea Mitchell rushed to defend Obama, saying that the press had never planned to cover his visits to military sickbeds. But Obama canceled both visits and used his free time instead to shoot hoops, with the media recording his best shots.
Claim No. 8: Barack Obama is a Muslim.
FightTheSmears.com states bluntly that Obama is a Christian, not a follower of Islam.
In fact, Barack Hussein Obama’s Kenyan father was raised Muslim, though he reportedly was not religious.
His mother divorced and remarried another man, a Muslim from Indonesia. As a youngster in Indonesia, Barack Obama attended two schools and was registered at both as a Muslim. He received religious instruction in both schools as a Muslim, including studying the Quran. According to a childhood friend, Obama occasionally attended services at a local mosque.
Obama’s Muslim upbringing has been detailed in a 2007 Los Angeles Times report (reprinted in The Baltimore Sun) headlined "Islam an Unknown Factor in Obama Bid." Middle East expert Daniel Pipes has studied the question of Obama’s Muslim faith and says he is “lying” when he says he was never a Muslim.
It’s important to note that Obama’s Web site does not say he was never a Muslim. But in the past, Obama’s site and FightTheSmears.com did make the claim Obama was never a Muslim. Since that claim is obviously false, it is no longer used.
Obama says he became a Christian in his late 20s. He now describes himself as Christian. Until recently, he spent two decades as a member of a Chicago United Church of Christ congregation that embraces Black Liberation theology. Somewhat like the Roman Catholic liberation theology of Latin America, the Chicago UCC church preaches elements of neo-Marxist class warfare. It combines these radical socialist elements with black racialism.
Claim No. 9: As president, Obama would raise taxes dramatically for most Americans.
Millions of Americans recognize that Obama is likely to raise taxes. But like a good conjurer, who tricks you into watching his right hand while doing things with his left, the Obama Web site assures readers with a red herring.
The Illinois senator will not tax your water, as claimed in some fringe e-mails, FightTheSmears.com maintains.
What Obama will do, however, is tax businesses and capital gains more heavily, even though America already has the world’s second-highest business taxes.
“Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases” said former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson at the 2008 Republican National Convention. “They tell you they are not going to tax your family. No, they’re just going to tax businesses! So unless you buy something from a business, like groceries or clothes or gasoline . . . or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small business, don’t worry. It’s not going to affect you.”
During his campaign, Obama has promised to raise various taxes that will fall on most economic classes, including the dividend tax, the FICA tax cap, the capital gains tax, the estate tax, and new taxes on gasoline.
He also called for the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2010, which will automatically raise taxes on most Americans. By letting the Bush cuts expire, Obama would produce a $2 trillion tax increase that some economists predict will rumble through the already weakened economy like an earthquake.
Claim No. 10: Obama was born outside the United States and is ineligible for the presidency.
The Obama Web site dismisses the claim that the candidate was born anywhere but in the United States as “completely false” and “groundless.”
As proof, the Obama’s campaign has produced a “certificate of live birth” from Hawaii indicating that Barack Hussein Obama II was born Aug. 4, 1961. Critics, however say the document could have easily been forged and is not a substitute for a certified birth certificate.
No reporter has been allowed to see the original certificate of live birth or its certificate number, which is blacked out on copies of it on the Obama site.
Skeptics note that Obama’s “Father’s Race” is identified on this document as “African,” a geographic and modern politically correct term rather than a 1961 racial designation. The standard term used on American birth certificates until the U.S. Census changed it in 1980 would have been “Negro.”
Former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, Philip J. Berg, a Democrat with mixed credibility (he has supported conspiracy theories involving 9/11), has filed a lawsuit to force Obama to produce a certified copy of his birth certificate. According to Berg, Obama’s paternal grandmother has said she was present at his birth in Kenya, after which his mother promptly returned with her baby to the United States.
If that is true, Obama could be constitutionally ineligible to be president.
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