Barack Obama/Controversies

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Wiki the vote tall.gif This article is part of the Wiki-The-Vote project to detail the positions and records of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama. This article covers Obama and Social Policy. See the main page on Barack Obama for other positions and more info.
Summary (how summaries work)
2005 investments In 2007, it was reported that Obama had invested more than $50,000 in two companies whose major investors were some of his largest political donors. In 2005, Obama had pushed for more funding for avian flu, where one company had interests. The other company's principal backers included four friends and donors who had raised over $150,000 for his political committees. However, the latter company was invested in through a blind trust and a spokesman said that when Obama learned of the investments in late 2005 he sold both at a $13,000 loss.


Born Alive Opposition

See also Obama born alive controversy

The most notable and widespread example of Obama's lying involves the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. From 2004-2008, Obama lied repeatedly about not voting against a bill identical to the federal bill while he was an Illinois state senator. Following a CNN expose[2][3] and documentation released by the NRLC[4], Obama's campaign conceded he "misspoke" but produced new lies that he has since been using, that Illinois law was already sufficient to protect newborn children.[5] However, his comments contradict what he stated in the Illinois State Senate transcripts:

"Senator O'Malley, the testimony during the committee indicated that one of the key concerns was - is that there was a method of abortion, an induced abortion, where the -- the fetus or child, as - as some might describe it, is still temporarily alive outside the womb. And one of the concerns that came out in the testimony was the fact that they were not being properly cared for during that brief period of time that they were still living. Is that correct?" ... "Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a - a child, a nine-month-old -- child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it - it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute. For that purpose, I think it would probably be found unconstitutional. The second reason that it would probably befound unconstitutional is that this essentially says that a doctor is required to provide treatment to a previable child, or fetus, however way you want to describe it. Viability is the line that has been drawn by the Supreme Court to determine whether or not an abortion can or cannot take place. And if we're placing a burden on the doctor that says you have to keep alive even a previable child as long as possible and give them as much medical attention as - as is necessary to try to keep that child alive, then we're probably crossing the line in terms of unconstitutionality."

The issue was brought up by Obama's opponents in 2004 (Alan Keyes), 2008 (Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Sarah Palin), and 2012 (Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum).

2003 Emil Jones Deal

When Illinois' U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald announced he would be retiring in April 2003, Obama jumped at the opportunity, declaring that he would be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004.[1] To boost his chances at reaching the U.S. Congress in the 2004 elections, in 2003 Barack Obama approached the newly crowned head of the Illinois Senate, Emil Jones Jr., with a proposal. According to Jones, who Obama has since called his "godfather"[2] the conversation went as follows:

"After I was elected president, in 2003, he came to see me, a couple months later. And he said to me, he said, ‘You’re the senate president now, and with that, you have a lot of pow-er.’  And I told Barack, ‘You think I got a lot of pow-er now?,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, you got a lot of pow-er.’ And I said, ‘What kind of pow-er do I have?’ He said, ‘You have the pow-er to make a United States sen-a-tor!’  I said to Barack, I said, ‘That sounds good!’ I said, ‘I haven’t even thought of that.’ I said, ‘Do you have someone in mind you think I could make?,’ and he said, ‘Yeah. Me.’ "[3]

Because of the deal, Obama's entire Illinois Senate legislative record was, as longtime Obama reporter Todd Spivak put it, built in a single year. During his 7th and final year in the Illinois Senate, Obama sponsored an incredible 26 bills into law, including many he now points to when criticized as inexperienced - as CNN's Suzanne Malveaux observed, "With help from on high, Obama got his name on hundreds of bills that he pushed through."[4] and MSNBC.[5] Jones not only had Obama craft legislation addressing daily tragedies to raise his political profile[6], he also appointed Obama head of almost all high-profile legislation in the Illinois Senate, angering other state legislators with more seniority who'd spent years supporting the bills.[7] Illinois State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of the famous racial profiling bill requiring videotaped confessions in police interrogations, complained bitterly about Jones' decision.[4][8] Jones' influence had a major impact on Obama's chances in the 2004 elections, preventing major political players from backing Obama's opponents. To quote Emil Jones,

"He knew if he had me in the run for the Senate, it would put a block on the current mayor. The current mayor and the father of the controller, which was Dan Hynes, they were roommates in Springfield when the mayor was a state senator, so they had a relationship. Another big financial backer for the governor was Blair Hull. Barack knew if he had me it would checkmate the governor, ’cause the governor couldn’t come out and go with Blair Hull, ’cause the governor needs me. Same with the mayor. So he had analyzed and figured all of that out. He knew I could help him with labor support. And I could put a checkmate on some of the local politicians that didn’t know him, but they couldn’t really go against me." -Emil Jones[9]

1996 Knocking Opponents Off the Ballot

See also Obama 1996 Election Controversy

Obama in 1996 used a team of lawyers, including fellow Harvard Law School graduate Thomas Johnson, to challenge his opponent's petition signatures on technicalities after the filing deadline had passed. Such tactics are legal and frequently used in Chicago; in 2006 they eliminated 67 of the 245 aldermanic candidates;[10] yet nevertheless led to the term "hardball" by the New York Timesand "cutthroat" by David Mendel as reported by both CNN[11] and MSNBC.[12] The Chicago Tribune declared Obama had mastered "the bare-knuckle arts of Chicago electoral politics", noting "The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it." As one of Obama's four opponents, eliminated through his ballot challenges, would put it:

"Why say you're for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates? He talks about honor and democracy, but what honor is there in getting rid of every other candidate so you can run scot-free? Why not let the people decide?"
-Gha-is Askia, 1996 Illinois Senate candidate[13]

Mark Ewell, another candidate, filed 1,286 signatures, and Obama's challenges left him 86 short of the minimum requirement (757).[14]) If names were printed instead of signed in cursive, they were declared invalid. If they were good but the person registering the signatures wasn't a registered voter (e.g. underage) they were invalid.[15] Thanks to his lawyers, Obama would win the election without a single other candidate on the ballot.

2005 investments

On March 7, 2007, the New York Times reported that Obama had invested more than $50,000 worth of stock in two "speculative" companies whose major investors included some of his largest political donors. One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease. The most recent financial disclosure form for Obama also shows that his blind trust bought more than $50,000 in stock in a satellite communications business whose principal backers include four friends and donors who had raised more than $150,000 for his political committees.[16]

On March 6, 2007, Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama, stated that the senator "did not know that he had invested in either company until fall 2005, when he learned of it and decided to sell the stocks... He sold them at a net loss of $13,000." Burton further explained that "Obama’s broker bought the stocks without consulting the senator, under the terms of a blind trust that was being set up for the senator at that time but was not finalized until several months after the investments were made."[17]


In the weeks leading up to the 2008 Presidential election, MSNBC reported the FBI was looking into ACORN voter fraud in several states.[6] Obama's staff worked to delay investigations into Obama's former employer.[7] In this way, hundreds of thousands, if not many more, votes may have been overcounted. Documents released by Judicial Watch on March 11, 2010 reference serious allegations of corruption and voter registration fraud by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform, as well as the Obama administration’s decision to shut down a criminal investigation into these matters.[18] For a more detailed treatment, see ACORN scandals.

Marxist New Party

In 1995, Obama accepted the nomination and ran as a candidate of the openly Marxist New Party. For a more detailed treatment, see Obama's terrorist and communist associations.

Education Propaganda

Ethical issues over candidate Obama's infiltration of the education system to spread propaganda arose following an incident at a Wisconsin public school. The public school was caught pushing Barack Obama's memoir Dreams from my Father, under the claim the instructions were to teach the students about "literature."[8] Since then, allegations of "Obamaganda," used to describe education propaganda praising Obama, have been reported across the United States.[9]

Civilian National Security Force

On July 2nd, in Colorado Springs, Obama gave a speech where he called for the Service Employees International Union, his former employer, to become a "civilian national security force" with as much power and funding as the U.S. military. The SEIU is a union that Barack Obama has made a pledge to help give them more power and strength, and to eventually help him "paint the nation purple."[19][20][21]

57 States controversy

During Obama's campaign through Oregon, Senator Obama was quoted as saying he had visited 57 states, not including Hawaii and Alaska. [22]

"It is wonderful to be back in Oregon," Obama said. "Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it."

Special Olympics

Candidate Obama cultivated an image of sportsmanship and competition; as President, Obama ridiculed disabled people who compete in the Special Olympics. The comments "set us back decades," according to the program's director.[23](Video)

Articles and resources

See also


  1. _
  2. Associated Press (2009, June 18). "Obama's Political 'Godfather' In Illinois."
  3. Purdum, Todd (2008, March). "Raising Obama." Vanity Fair.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Malveaux, Suzanne (2008, August 20). "Barack Obama Revealed." CNN.
  5. MSNBC (2008, February 20). "Obama Becomes Rising Star Among Democrats."
  6. Associated Press (2009, June 18). "Obama's Political 'Godfather' In Illinois."
  7. Spivak, Todd (2008, February 28). "Barack Obama and Me." Houston Press.
  8. Spivak, Todd (2004, March 25). "In the Black." Illinois Times.
  9. Purdum, Todd (2008, March). "Raising Obama." Vanity Fair.
  10. Jackson, David & Long, Ray (2007, April 4). "Barack Obama: Showing His Bare Knuckles." Chicago Tribune.
  11. Malveaux, Suzanne (2008, August 20). "Barack Obama Revealed." CNN.
  12. MSNBC (2008, February 20). "Obama Becomes Rising Star Among Democrats."
  13. Jackson, David & Long, Ray (2007, April 3). "Obama Knows His Way Around a Ballot." Chicago Tribune.
  14. Spivak, Todd (2008, February 28). "Barack Obama and Me." Houston Press.
  15. Griffin, Drew & Johnston, Kathleen (2008, May 29). "Obama Played Hardball in First Chicago Campaign." CNN.
  16. Mike McIntire and Christopher Drew, "In ’05 Investing, Obama Took Same Path as Donors," New York Times, Mar. 7, 2007.
  17. Mike McIntire and Christopher Drew, "In ’05 Investing, Obama Took Same Path as Donors," New York Times, Mar. 7, 2007.
  18. Tom Fitton. Obama Spiked ACORN Investigation: Judicial Watch Releases FBI Documents,, Mar 11th 2010.
  19. Glenn Beck. Barack Obama's Civilian Army, Fox News, August 27, 2009.
  20. Mike Flynn. Obama’s Shock Troops: SEIU and Political Intimidation in St. Louis,, Nov 6th 2009.
  21. Derek Erwin. Obama's SEIU Shock Troops on Patrol, A 1-In-100 Blogger, February 11, 2010.
  22. Los Angeles Times, [1] Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2008.
  23. Special Olympics chief responds to Obama gaffe, Stacy St Clair, Chicago Tribune, March 20, 2009]

External resources

External links