Obama wins a very favorable Hollywood celebrity endorsement: Barbara Streisand

July 2nd, 2008 Urban Conservative

The celebrity endorsements are flooding in for Obama.  First there was P Diddy and his public endorsement at the 2008 BET Awards show. 

If we all register and vote, we will have the first black president in the history of America,” Sean ”Diddy” Combs told the crowd before chanting ”Obama or Die” — a remix of his politically neutral ”Vote or Die” motto from the 2004 presidential election, when he attempted to boost the youth vote.

Of course, John McCain failed to merit any type of “shoutout� by any of the BET speaker or celebrities. But I guess that’s expected since he is white.

Then came the much needed Barbara Streisand endorsement just yesterday.  Here are a few short statements she wrote on her personal blog:

Barack has awakened in many of us the notion that we can again be hopeful, enabling us to believe that we are capable of lifting our brothers and sisters out of poverty, of providing quality education for all our children, of ending this unjust war in Iraq and bringing our troops home safely.

Well, me might as well pack our bags and head for Canada. Someone please tell the McCain camp that the election is over. It looks like Obama is going to win by a landslide with this Streisand endorsement.  It almost beats an endorsement from Cindy Sheehan or Rosie O’Donnell. 

Last week, Obama held a fundraiser in Los Angeles that raised somewhere between $4 million to $5 million, and several Hollywood celebrity types such like Dennis Quaid and Samuel L. Jackson were there. Other celebrity endorsements include Oprah Winfrey, Robert De Niro, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Halle Berry, the lovely Jessica Alba, John Leguizamo, George Lopez and the list goes on. And, we can also assume that the likes of Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and that crowd will also endorse Obama. 

It’s really kind of sad because I do listen to Diddy’s music; and I am a big fan of many of the actors listed above.  Hollywood is so out of touch with America when it comes to things that really matter in life. But I guess that comes with money and fame; and I am glad that Americans don’t use the latest gossip on Entertainment Tonight or Extra when making thier voting decisions. 

John McCain also has a few celebrity endorsements himself including actors Sylvester Stallone and Robert Duvall. Sly is really all he needs at this point since he can kick all the other celebrities’ asses on and off camera. Now, all we need is Chuck Norris to man up.

Oh, and here is a cool resource that looks at the history of celebrity endorsements and how they affect elections.

Tags: obama celebrity endoresements, celebrities endorsing barrack obama, which celebrities are voting for Obama, Sean ”Diddy” Combs, BET Awards, Oprah Winfrey, Robert De Niro, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, John Leguizamo, George Lopez, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Hollywood endorsements, Hollywood idiots, Barbara Streisand

Rating: 2.5/5 (35 votes cast)

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  • Bryan
    I can't stand the arrogance of the hollywood elite. They play on the simple minds in America who follow their every move. I love the pic you used for Barb. She looks like crap!
  • daddysteve
    More of the same- different name. I've been around a long time and I predict a bunch of disillusioned people in the next couple of years. Especially on the democrat side. Many young voters are going to get a taste of how Washington really works.
  • simonesdad2008
    Ok, I'm going point by point with you here because this actually means something to me. It's not some cheap political point or throw away comment to me. Jesse went after Michael Richards with his wolf pack as you say. At the end of the day what actually happened to him? He made an awkward public apology. He's not banned from anything or anywhere, no money has come out of his pocket. Maybe he is a little embarrassed but we are not talking blood lust here. Believe me Jesse is not coming after you so what the hell do you care? And truthfully you have no clue what the majority of black people want. Just like you don't know what the majority of Jews want or women want or Hispanics want. No clue. You are now assigning words and ideas that Barack "probably" thinks or would say. That's just beyond the pale.

    I don't believe that Barack is bigoted or racist as you contend but even if he was it's not a disqualification for the presidency as American history clearly proves. Let's examine McCain's actions surrounding the MLK holiday in AZ. If you need a little history lesson go here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/us/politics/0...

    In that case he went well beyond a comment (twice!) would you agree? Are you prepared to paint McCain with the same racist or bigoted brush you paint Barack with? Are you prepared to deny McCain the presidency over that issue? I suspect not. He's not out of a job now is he? So your premise of being out of a job is faulty and not backed by history. AZ was the last holdout to honor MLK in the country. Not Mississippi or Alabama. We are talking about John McCain's Arizona. It didn't hurt him politically or otherwise one iota. He took the opportunity to apologize for his votes this year. Did Jesse and his wolves make him do it?

    So it's not personal Reaper. It's factual. Obviously no one is being nailed to a cross over this stuff. I was just taking your analogy to the next step. Who's being punished and by whom? What are the penalties being imposed? Are you saying offering an apology is some sort of penalty? America is the land of second and third and fourth chances. You can say whatever you want and keep going. If you don't believe me ask Imus or Mark Furman or Charlie Sheen or Paris Hilton or Dog the Bounty Hunter. Ask John McCain why he's apologizing for the King holiday vote 25 years later while he is running for president. The fact that he supported rescinding the holiday 4 years after it was initially put in place in Arizona tells you his true heart on this matter backed up by his actual vote.

    History and reality are not on your side here my friend. I suggest you stick to calling him a Muslim or communist or liberal. He's not a racist. No one is coming to your house to get you if he's elected. If your community is hit by a catastrophic natural disaster Barack will actually get off the plane.

    PS: You are not hateful. You're better than that. This country can be better than that. It begins in November.
  • Reaper
    Bridging some pretty big gaps in logic there, aren't you? I don't take my cues from Jesse. Just because he commands it doesn't mean we're obeying. But he does go after you like a pack of rabid wolves if you defy him (case in point: Micheal Richards). And I'm not referring to a literal crucifixion. Do I really HAVE to explain it to you? The fact is that many black people want to live under a less restrictive set of rules and Barack has more or less gone along with it (although he gets props for talking about personal responsibility, though if you asked him he'd probably say that blacks have no need to improve. He's a little "flippant" that way).

    Why bring it up? I don't want a racist in the white house, and I don't particularly care for how open he is about it. Do you seriously not care that he's a bigoted racist?

    Lastly, if McCain said something racially charged, his career would be over. He'd still be rich, but you apparently don't understand that many people don't measure themselves by the balance in their bank account. Refer to the above paragraph for that dreck about you over analyzing my "homeless" remark.

    Please, in the future stop mounting weak and illogical personal attacks in an effort to score a de facto victory. You can also drop the whole "McCain isn't doing anything" argument. We know, we agree, and he's still stepping on Barack's heels despite his inaction. What's that say about Obama?

    PS: The quote which you used to indicate that I "care" doesn't even slightly do so. I didn't just think his remark was racist; it was racist from an empirical standpoint. I frankly didn't think that would even be in dispute, but here we are...

    PPS: I'm getting hateful again. Internet arguments are fun!
  • simonesdad2008
    Mr Reaper,

    If Jesse Jackson is "commanding" you to do anything, if you are influenced in any way by Jesse Jackson, if you take your cues from Jesse Jackson, you, my friend, have issues that can not be addressed in this or any other post....ever. And what is your obsession with crucifixion? Are the ancient Romans out there monitoring speech? I promise you, John McCain could scream the N-word from the rooftops and he would not be homeless as you say. He would be John McCain, POW, US Senator, multi-millionaire from Arizona. In other words he would not be anything less or more than he already is. John McCain probably knows very little about black people and certainly doesn't have a black grandmother so his perspective may be slightly different from Barack's.

    You are claiming that black people make issues out of non issues. There is some truth to that no doubt. But it was YOU that was seemingly offended by the words of Barack.

    These ARE your words:
    "I don't care at all about racist remarks."

    These WERE your words:
    "let's just hope that with THAT added pressure he won't slip up and say something racist against whites again. "

    The next logical question I have is if you don't care why mention it? Why introduce it? You mention it because you were offended by the words you claim to not care about and you're offended that no one else or not enough people were equally offended. You mention it because of some perceived inequity about how black and white people can use words and you fear it gives Barack some advantage over Father Time. If you really want the same standards for everyone, try starting with yourself. Either you care or you don't. If something is offensive in your estimation then it shouldn't matter who speaks it or who is the intended target. If you really don't care as you say, then it should be a non issue for you. Instead you have invented the PC police who go around "crucifying" people. I'm still waiting to hear how this actually happens. You can say whatever you want. I can say whatever I want. The ancient Romans aren't coming for us. And you seem to have more enthusiastic support for Michael Richards than you do for your candidate for president. Maybe you just have a soft spot for white millionaires who you feel are being denied their right to use certain words. Good luck with that crusade.
  • Reaper
    Non non non, I don't think we should speak out about it at all. I don't care at all about racist remarks. Jesse made an issue of saying the n-word. He led the crusade against Mr. Richards. And then HE does exactly as he commands us not to do.

    Black people at large make issues of non issues. They've put themselves in a position where they can be as racist as they want with relative impunity, but if a white folk utters so much as a insensitive syllable he's crucified. If McCain said "typical black person", he'd be homeless right now. So why is Barack allowed to say it? I'm doing nothing more than holding them to the same standards that they hold us. You know, all men are created equal and all that. We can either get past this word Nazism or apply it evenly across racial boundaries.

    In this case I may be transferring my indignation over the issue to Barack. What cannot be disputed, though, is that he has a questionable-at-best history of racial equity. Again, turn the tables and put some of Barack's words(from his books) in a white person's mouth, and said white person would be lucky to be working in McDonalds right now.
  • simonesdad2008
    Indignation and inequity are two different things. Look up indignation and take another crack at it. When someone says something racially insensitive these days it is the conservatives who circle the wagons and bemoan political correctness. The Civil War and Affirmative Action and the rest have nothing to do with referring to someone as a typical white person or typical black person or use of the N-word. You have implied that Barack, by describing his grandmother as a typical white person, said something racist and you are offended by it. All I'm asking is where was this sensitivity when racist or insensitive comments were aimed at black people. An offensive comment is an offensive comment, right? It's your scorecard mentality that is misguided in my opinion. What exactly is Jesse Jackson getting away with? Is he avoiding jail time or a fine or some sort of punishment that he's supposed suffer? It's not against the law to use the N-word despite your complaints that you are not allowed to say it because of political correctness. We can say whatever we want and use the words of our choosing. Jesse will continue to appear in the media because the media will seek him out. What do you think that says about the media? And what would you want as justice for Michael Richards? As I said, it appears your scorecard is imbalanced in your mind. You want to be able to call people the N-word like Jesse does but not get treated like Michael Richards when you do. You want Barack to "pay" for calling his grandmother a typical white person but at the same time want to do away with political correctness (which by the way does not exist in real life. We can say whatever we want, however we want). The dividing line is your individual stones. I'm sure your were outraged by Imus' initial firing but he's back just like Jesse will be back. So again why is your indignation at racially insensitive statements only present when white people appear to be the target? Why aren't you equally outraged at ALL insensitive statements which is where I would place Barack's "typical" comment.

    I'm not trying to call you out on this, Reap. I'm just pointing out how unrelated issues get thrown into one big racial pot. The Civil War and hate crime laws and Affirmative Action and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's have little or nothing to do with Barack's description of his own grandmother whom he had intimate knowledge and insight about. In other words it's not about you and if you really cared about racially insensitive terms or language you would speak out against it every time. Not just when you want to score a cheap political point.
  • Reaper
    Uh, Civil War? Civil rights movement? Ringing any bells? How about hate crime legislation? Affirmative action? Those are our "answers" to racial inequity. Besides, very few -- if any -- legislators remain in office very long after even so much as whispering a racial epithet. Barack has said -- to a national news outlet, mind you -- that his racist grandmother was a "typical white person." Not even a "typical white person of the time," which would still be unacceptable. Now Jesse Jackson is going to get away with saying nigger after crucifying Micheal Richards for the same. Yeah, there's still racial inequity in America, and I would love to see it corrected.

    Back to McCain, yeah, he's out of touch with the information age. It's no secret. Yes, his campaign does have the momentum of a leaf in the breeze. Yet he's still head-to-head with Barack, who's pulling out all the stops and making very strong efforts to appeal to the largest base possible. Sadly for him, he's alienating his own base and hardly convincing the base he wanted to draw in. And if there are people buying his rhetoric, just wait for the debates. Obama literally has no hope if McCain decides to call him out on his pre-Primary platform.
  • simonesdad2008
    You are right Reap. Statistically they are in a dead heat but even you have to admit there is completely different energy around these campaigns. Barack's campaign is big and relevant and exciting and inspiring and dare I say Presidential. McCain's can't quite seem to get going for one reason or another. McCain gets the "lesser of two evils" vote many of you so-called cons subscribe to. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Plus McCain is hit with the Bush double whammy. Agree with him and solidify the Bush=McCain equation. Differ with him and further fracture an already fractured republican party. It's brilliant really, like political checkmate and fun to watch. I never said McCain was inexperienced. All I said was that he has as much executive office experience as Barack. There is a reason Senators are not elected president and governors usually are. Governors actually run a government. Neither can lay claim to that distinction.

    But seriously, if you were hiring for even an entry level position in this day and age and a candidate for the job came in and said he could not even turn on a computer or access the internet and did not use email, how far would he get? Would you hire that person? But you want to make him our president? I know you are going to say that heads of state do not need the "internets" they are leaders. Father Time's issue is relevancy. This is an internet/computer society. We are all exposed to one another right now via the internet. When I can't get on the internet for some reason I feel cut off, like someone took my car keys. John McCain has no clue what I'm talking about right now but you know exactly what I mean. So does everyone else who has ever been on or used the internet. So when someone says John McCain is out of touch there can be no counter argument.

    And this little nugget could not go unaddressed...."he won't slip up and say something racist against whites again." Where was all of this racial indignation when black people were the targets? Just curious.
  • Reaper
    simonesdad, you say that this should be a cake walk for Obama -- and even Fox News agrees with you. The problem is that it ISN'T a cake walk for him. He's got a statistically insignificant lead over Father Time -- even with the latter's daily gaffes and inexperience, as you put it. Your guy has an already huge and growing cloud of distrust surrounding him, and I don't care how incompetent McCain is, he is going to skewer Obama in the debates. All he needs is a list of quotes from the Primaries and Obama will be on the defensive the entire time -- let's just hope that with THAT added pressure he won't slip up and say something racist against whites again.

    In the end, we won't need Obama's ties to radical black ideology or anything like that to win. Every "change of heart" Obama has is another nail in his coffin.
  • simonesdad2008
    I would encourage all to go to Jonathan's friendly little source site. There is no bias or agenda there, right? Even Jonathan himself dismisses the first 7 paragraphs of this diatribe attempting to prove or imply that Barack is a Muslim. Then the rest of it gives these mini biographies of all sorts of people who have intersected Barack's life through the years. It appears communist was the word of the day that day. Then it goes through Barack's stand on some issues. To me that is fair game except for citing Dick Morris as some sort of expert to be respected. If Dick Morris is the standard, there are no standards.

    Taken as a whole this sounds like the tact of choice for the right. I hope you stick to it. I hope these are the things you hang your hat on because the American people are not buying it. Viral emails and spousal attacks don't win elections. The bar is lowered by this sort of stuff. Add in multiple daily gaffes by McCain and his campaign and this becomes a cake walk for Barack Hussein Obama. If McCain can not run a campaign, he can not run a country. Barack raised enough money in June alone to run a million dollars worth of ads in all fifty states. Meanwhile, your boy is talking about a country that doesn't even exist anymore. Now that's what I call foreign policy. And by the way, as cited in the novel posted by our friend Jonathan, McCain has no executive office experience either. Sure he has been in the Senate since the Coolidge administration but he wouldn't vote for the handful of bills with his name on them today.

    As this race begins to take shape and the writing on the wall becomes apparent, I expect more of these types articles to surface. I expect people like Jonathan to show this to everyone and say, "see, see, I told you he was a Muslim or a communist or a left wing nut. It says it right here on the internet." Too bad Father Time can't go to the site and read it himself. Send him an email with the link. Oh yeah, can't do that either. Well, send him word by Pony Express or Morse Code.
  • Gary Newcome
    Obama is not just your average slug liberal politican. He is 5 X Slug, hell !! he is 10 x Clinton. BEWARE !!
  • toe
    here's another endorsement that you probably avoided hearing...


    listen, if you dare.
  • Heathenhater
    Rick, I agree with your assertion that the US needs to be much more involved with free trade in the global economy. But I disagree that we need to assert our position as a powerhouse. That is what makes people dislike us, and in this world of free trade, many other countries are becoming powerful enough where they have the balls to stand up to us. Being the overzealous bully in the world will not ensure our existence, instead making more friends and allies will. We no longer can be the unilateral force that we once could be. We need allies to help us, and bullies only have friends on the surface, friends through fear. Genuinely nice people have friends they can really trust.
  • Rick
    While my intrigue has been unavoidably detached, due to your inability to deliver a complete message, I focused long enough to realize that BHO is not the guy I'd want to entrust the keys to my house to, much less the more important security of a nation. As you succinctly pointed out, Barak is a guy we can be proud of, as a product of the CRA of 1964...in fact, I'll applaud his accomplishments every day until we actually have a "protected class" President.
    I detest and will not vote for Obama for two reasons (from a multitude of close seconds)...I'll only discuss one as most of you recognize if you've read this far that I serve our great nation in the military. Barak Obama does not understand global economics. If any of you think that America can survive without China, India, the Middle East, and the continent of Europe, you all should better put down the drugs. Isolationism did not work in WWII, and negotiations with terrorist cells in 2008 will not either. Our responsibility is to continue to assert our position in the world, demanding support from our allies and trading partners. Imagine where we would be today if we had cut trade relations with Germany and France after 9/11. We did not, and the Euro is trading at an all-time high versus the greenback because our allies jumped on board with enemy and left us hanging. If you doubt this assertion, please analyze the beneficiaries of a peaceful Iraq.
    I ask you to recollect, the next time you fill up you tank for $4 a gallon. Were we better under Reagan, or Clinton, or Bush? If you are fair and without prejudice, you'll see the logic in my arguments.
  • duus
    you wrote:

    "Of course, John McCain failed to merit any type of “shoutout” by any of the BET speaker or celebrities. But I guess that’s expected since he is white."

    Presumably the evidence for this position is that none of "the BET speaker or celebrities" have ever given "shoutout"s to whites before.
  • Guest
    dang jonathan .... thanks for the novel. I'll let you know when I am done reading it ... in about 2 weeks. : )

    Thanks for your contributions buddy.
  • Jonathon Nierengarten
    Well, some got cut off.. but you get the idea. If you follow the link it also has SOURCES for all the info... always nice when the Libs come attacking the facts presented
  • Jonathon Nierengarten

    Here's some fuel for the fire as to why we should vote for Barry Hussein. Check out his love for the Chicago Machine... the beginning is irrelevant, but the lovely gobs of corruption oozing from him that are described 1/3 of the way down are juicy.


    Obama was born in 1961 in Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a black Muslim father from Kenya who met as students at the University of Hawaii. His mother Anna, as Obama describes her in his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, was "a lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism."

    His father, also named Barack (Swahili for "One who is blessed by God") Obama, left his rural Luo-speaking village and his Muslim father to become an "agnostic" and study economics abroad. His son was two years old when the elder Barack left the boy and his mother and returned to Harvard University and then to Kenya, where he became a globe-traveling economist for the government.

    When the young Obama was six, his mother married an Indonesian oil manager, a "non-practicing Muslim," and the family moved to Jakarta, where Barack's half-sister Maya was born. The family would reside there for four years.

    Vis a vis Barack Obama's religious upbringing, Islam scholar Daniel Pipes reports the following:

    "In Islam, religion passes from the father to the child. Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. [his Kenyan birth father] was a Muslim who named his boy Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Only Muslim children are named 'Hussein'.… [Barack Obama's] stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was also a Muslim. In fact, as Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng explained to Jodi Kantor of the New York Times: 'My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim.' An Indonesian publication, the Banjarmasin Post reports a former classmate, Rony Amir, recalling that 'All the relatives of Barry's [Barack's] father were very devout Muslims.'"

    Obama's good friend, the attorney and novelist Scott Turow, wrote that Obama as a child spent "two years in a Muslim school, then two more in a Catholic school." School records show that when Obama attended Catholic school, he was enrolled as a Muslim.

    Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times learned from Obama's childhood friends that "Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque." Kim Barker of the Chicago Tribune found that "Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers." An Indonesian friend of Obama, Zulfin Adi, states that "[Obama] was Muslim. He went to the mosque. I remember him wearing a sarong [a garment associated with Muslims]." The aforementioned Rony Amir describes Obama as "previously quite religious in Islam."

    In December 2007 Obama would say, "I've always been a Christian. The only connection I've had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father's side came from that country [Kenya]. But I've never practiced Islam." In February 2008 he elaborated, "I have never been a Muslim.… [O]ther than my name and the fact that I lived in a populous Muslim country for four years when I was a child [Indonesia, 1967-71] I have very little connection to the Islamic religion."

    At age ten, Obama was sent back to Hawaii to be raised largely by his middle-class white maternal grandparents, and to attend the prestigious Punahou Academy. For only one month of his life, also when he was ten, Obama was visited by his biological father.

    In the 1970s the Obama family became friendly with Frank Marshall Davis (1905-1987), a black writer and fellow Hawaiian resident. Davis wrote for the Honolulu Record (a Communist newspaper) and was a known member of the Soviet-controlled Communist Party USA (CPUSA). He soon became the young Barack Obama's mentor and advisor.

    In Dreams From My Father, Obama writes about Davis but does not reveal the latter's full name, identifying him only as "a poet named Frank" -- a man with much "hard-earned knowledge" who had known "some modest notoriety once" but was now "pushing eighty." (Several sources -- including Professor Gerald Horne, Dr. Kathryn Takara, and libertarian writer Trevor Loudon -- have confirmed that Obama's "Frank" was indeed Frank Marshall Davis.)

    Obama in his book recounts how, just prior to heading off to Occidental College (in California) in 1979, he spent some time with "Frank and his old Black Power dashiki self." Obama writes that "Frank" told him that college was merely "an advanced degree in compromise," and cautioned the young man not to "start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh--."

    From Occidental, Obama transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he graduated in 1983 with a degree in political science. He applied for work as a community organizer with groups across the United States while working as a writer and financial analyst for Business International Corporation.

    One small group of 20-odd churches in Chicago offered Obama a job helping residents of poor, predominantly black, Far South Side neighborhoods. He moved to Chicago and in June 1985 became Director of the Developing Communities Project, working for the next three years on efforts that ranged from job training to school reform to hazardous waste cleanup.

    Obama was trained by the Saul Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Chicago. (The Developing Communities Project itself was an affiliate of the Gamaliel Foundation, whose modus operandi for the creation of "a more just and democratic society" is rooted firmly in the Alinsky method.) Alinsky was known for helping to establish the aggressive political tactics that characterized the 1960s and have remained central to all subsequent revolutionary movements in the United States.

    In the Alinsky model, "organizing" is a euphemism for "revolution" -- a wholesale revolution whose ultimate objective is the systematic acquisition of power by a purportedly oppressed segment of the population, and the radical transformation of America's social and economic structure. The goal is to foment enough public discontent, moral confusion, and outright chaos to spark the social upheaval that Marx, Engels, and Lenin predicted -- a revolution whose foot soldiers view the status quo as fatally flawed and wholly unworthy of salvation. Thus, the theory goes, the people will settle for nothing less than that status quo's complete collapse -- to be followed by the erection of an entirely new system upon its ruins. Toward that end, they will be apt to follow the lead of charismatic radical organizers who project an aura of confidence and vision, and who profess to clearly understand what types of societal "changes" are needed.

    But Alinsky's brand of revolution was not characterized by dramatic, sweeping, overnight transformations of social institutions. As Richard Poe puts it, "Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties." Alinsky advised organizers and their disciples to quietly, subtly gain influence within the decision-making ranks of these institutions, and to introduce changes from that platform.

    One of Obama's early mentors in the Alinsky method, Mike Kruglik, would later say the following about Obama:

    "He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better."

    For several years, Obama himself taught workshops on the Alinsky method.

    Beginning in the mid-1980s, Obama worked with ACORN, a creation of the Alinsky network. ACORN was a grassroots political organization that grew out of George Wiley's National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), whose members in the late 1960s and early 70s had invaded welfare offices across the U.S. -- often violently -- bullying social workers and loudly demanding every penny to which the law "entitled" them.[1]

    Obama also worked for Project Vote, the voter-mobilization arm of ACORN. Project Vote's professed purpose is to carry out "non-partisan" voter-registration drives; to counsel voters on their rights; and to litigate on behalf of voting rights -- focusing on the rights of the poor and the "disenfranchised."[2]

    In 1988 Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude in 1991.

    From April to November of 1992, Obama served as the Director of "Illinois Project Vote," which registered approximately 150,000 mostly poor, mostly Democratic voters in Chicago's Cook County before that year's presidential election.

    Also in 1992, Obama married Michelle Robinson (now Michelle Obama).

    In 1993 Barack Obama took a job as a litigator of voting rights and employment cases with the law firm Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C. (a.k.a. Davis Miner), where he remains a Counsel today. In 1993 he also became a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, another position he still holds.

    In 1994 Obama worked for Davis Miner on a case titled Barnett v. Daley, where he was part of a legal team that challenged the racial makeup of Chicago's voting districts. The Obama team sought to raise the number of black super-majority districts from 19 to 24. According to the judge in the case, Richard Posner, Obama and his fellow litigators held that "no black aldermanic candidate in Chicago has ever beaten a white in a ward that had a black majority of less than 62.6 percent, and it is emphatic that the ward in which the population is 55 percent black is not a black ward -- is indeed a white ward, even though only 42 percent of its population is white."

    In a 1995 case known as Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank, Obama and his fellow Davis Miner attorneys charged that Citibank was making too few loans to black applicants, and they won the case.[3]

    Also in 1995, Obama sued, on behalf of ACORN, for the implementation of the Motor Voter law in Illinois. Jim Edgar, the state's Republican Governor, opposed the law because he believed that allowing voters to register using only a postcard would breed widespread fraud.

    ACORN would later invite Obama to help train its staff. Moreover, Obama eventually would sit on the Board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which gave a number of sizable grants to ACORN.

    In 1995 Obama -- along with such notables as Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright -- helped organize the Washington, DC-based Million Man March which featured Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Said Obama in the immediate aftermath of the March:

    "What I saw was a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society…. Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn't care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing."

    In the mid-1990s, Obama developed a friendship with fellow Chicagoans Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, university professors who hosted meetings at their home to introduce Obama to their neighbors during his first run for the Illinois state senate in 1996. Ayers (who contributed money to Obama's 1996 campaign) and Dohrn had been leaders of the 1960s domestic terrorist group Weatherman, a Communist-driven splinter faction of Students for a Democratic Society. The pair had participated personally in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. To this day, both have remained unrepentant about their former terrorist activities and their hatred of the United States.[4]

    A notable attendee at the Ayers/Dohrn-hosted political gatherings was Democratic state senator Alice J. Palmer (of Illinois' 13th District), who soon developed a friendly relationship with Obama. Prior to her stint in politics, Palmer had worked for the Black Press Institute and was editor of the Black Press Review. During the Cold War, she supported the Soviet Union and spoke against the United States. In the 1980s she served as an executive board member of the U.S. Peace Council, which the FBI identified as a Communist front group (and which was an affiliate of the World Peace Council, an international Soviet front). Palmer participated in the World Peace Council's Prague assembly in 1983 -- just as the USSR was launching its "nuclear freeze" movement, a scheme that would have frozen Soviet nuclear and military superiority in place.

    State senator Palmer was instrumental in Obama's entry into politics. In 1995 Palmer decided to pursue an opportunity to run for a higher office when Mel Reynolds, the congressman from Illinois' 2nd District, resigned from the House of Representatives amid a sexual scandal involving him and an underage campaign volunteer. As Palmer prepared to leave the state senate, she hand-picked Obama as the person she most wanted to fill her newly vacated senate seat. Toward that end, she introduced Obama to party elders and donors as her preferred successor, and helped him gather the signatures required for getting his name placed on the ballot.

    But in November 1995, Jesse Jackson, Jr. defeated Palmer in a special election for Reynolds' empty congressional seat. At that point, Palmer filed to retain the Democratic nomination for the state senate seat she had encouraged Obama to pursue; that seat would be up for grabs in the November 1996 elections. She asked Obama to politely withdraw from the race and offered to help him find an alternative position elsewhere.

    But Obama refused to withdraw, so Palmer resolved to run against him (and two other opponents who also had declared their candidacy) in the 1996 Democratic primary. To get her name placed on the ballot, Palmer hastily gathered the minimum number of signatures required. Obama promptly challenged the legitimacy of those signatures and charged Palmer with fraud. A subsequent investigation found that a number of the names on Palmer's petition were invalid, thus she was knocked off the ballot. (Names could be eliminated from a candidate's petition for a variety of reasons. For example, if a name was printed rather than written in cursive script, it was considered invalid. Or if the person collecting the signatures was not registered to perform that task, any signatures that he or she had collected likewise were nullified.)

    Obama also successfully challenged the signatures gathered by his other two opponents, and both of them were disqualified as well. Consequently, Obama ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and won by default.

    "I liked Alice Palmer a lot," Obama would later reflect. "I thought she was a good public servant. It [the process by which Obama had gotten Palmer's name removed from the ballot] was very awkward. That part of it I wish had played out entirely differently."

    Another key supporter of Obama's 1996 state senate campaign was Carl Davidson, a Marxist who in the 1960s had been a national secretary of Students of a Democratic Society and a national leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement. In 1969 Davidson (along with Tom Hayden) helped launch the "Venceremos Brigades," which covertly transported hundreds of young Americans to Cuba to help harvest sugar cane and interact with Havana's communist revolutionary leadership. (The Brigades were organized by Fidel Castro's Cuban intelligence agency, which trained "brigadistas" in guerrilla warfare techniques, including the use of arms and explosives.)

    In 1988 Davidson founded Networking for Democracy (NFD), a program encouraging high-school students to engage in "mass action" aimed at "tearing down the old structures of race and class privilege" in the U.S. "and around the world." In 1992 he became a leader of the newly formed Committees of Correspondence, a Marxist coalition of former Maoists, Trotskyists, and members of the Communist Party USA. In the mid-1990s Davidson was a major player in the Chicago branch of a Marxist political coalition known as the New Party, whose endorsement Obama actively sought -- and received -- for his Illinois state senate run in 1996. Moreover, Obama used a number of New Party volunteers as campaign workers.

    Obama's 1996 senate campaign also secured the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. Obama's affiliation with DSA was longstanding, as evidenced by his reference, in Dreams From My Father, to the fact that during his student years at Columbia University he "went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union," a privately funded college for the advancement of science and art. From the early 1980s until 2004, Cooper Union had served as the usual venue of the annual Socialist Scholars Conference. According to Trevor Loudon, guest speakers at these conferences included "members of the Communist Party USA and its offshoot, the Committees of Correspondence, as well as Maoists, Trotsyists, black radicals, gay activists and radical feminists." Mr. London observes that "Obama speaks of 'conferences' plural, indicating [that] his attendance was not the result of accident or youthful curiosity."

    Obama won his 1996 race for the Illinois state senate in the 13th District, which mostly represented poor South Side blacks but also a few wealthy neighborhoods.

    In 1998 Obama became a board member of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, which targets its philanthropy in large measure toward organizations dedicated to the agendas of radical environmentalism, "social justice," prison reform, and increased government funding for social services, particularly for minorities. Obama would remain a board member for three years, during which time the Joyce Foundation made grants to such groups as the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Children's Defense Fund of Ohio, the Jane Addams Resource Corporation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists, SUSTAIN, the Tides Center, the Environmental Working Group, the World Resources Institute, the League of Women Voters Education Fund, the Democracy 21 Education Fund, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Brookings Institution, Alliance For Justice, the Council on Foundations, the Center for Community Change, the National Network of Grantmakers, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, the Nine to Five Working Women Education Fund, the Rockefeller Family Fund, Environmental Defense and the Urban Institute.

    Obama also had been a member of the Woods Fund of Chicago since 1993. In 1999 he was joined on this board by Bill Ayers, who would serve alongside Obama until the latter left the Fund in December 2002. (In 2002 -- while Obama was still on the board -- the Woods Fund made a grant to Northwestern University Law School's Children and Family Justice Center, where Ayers' wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was employed.)

    In 2000, Obama ran against former Black Panther and incumbent congressman Bobby Rush in the Democratic Primary for the U.S. House of Representatives. Rush denounced Obama as an "elitist" who "wasn't black enough," and crushed him by nearly a two-to-one vote margin. Obama returned to the Illinois state senate for another four-year term.

    As noted earlier, during these years Obama was a lecturer at the University of Chicago law school, where he became friendly with Rashid Khalidi, a professor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Obama and his wife were regular dinner guests at Khalidi's Hyde Park home. Khalidi and his wife Mona had founded in 1995 the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), noted for its contention that Arab Americans face widespread discrimination in the United States, and for its view that Israel's creation in 1948 was a "catastrophe" for Arab people. In 2001 and again in 2002, the Woods Fund of Chicago, while Obama served on its board, made grants totaling $75,000 to AAAN. (In 2003 Obama would attend a farewell party in Khalidi's honor when the latter was leaving the University of Chicago to embark on a new position at Columbia University.)

    According to journalist John Batchelor, "AAAN vice-president Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada [a website that, like AAAN, refers to Israel's creation as a "catastrophe"] has remembered Mr. Obama's speaking in 1999 against 'Israeli occupation' at a charity event for a West Bank refugee camp; and Mr. Abunimah … has also recalled Mr. and Mrs. Obama at a fundraiser held for the then-Congressional candidate Obama in 2000 at Rashid and Mona Khalidi's home, where Mr. Obama made convincing statements in support of the Palestinian cause."

    Shortly after Obama's unsuccessful run for Congress in 2000, he was deeply in debt, with little cash at his disposal (his annual part-time salary as a state senator was $58,000) and a stagnant law practice that he had largely neglected during a year of political campaigning.

    In early 2001 a longtime political supporter, Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell, Jr., hired Obama to provide legal advice for his (Blackwell's) growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange (EKI). In exchange for his services, Blackwell paid Obama an $8,000 retainer each month for roughly a 14-month period -- a total of $118,000.

    In return for these payments, Obama pressured the Illinois state tourism board to send a $50,000 grant to EKI. He also issued a formal written request for Illinois officials to furnish a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin, which sells equipment and apparel related to the sport of table tennis. The day after Obama wrote this letter, his U.S. Senate campaign received a $1,000 donation from Blackwell.

    Killerspin would not receive the full $50,000 it was seeking that year, but only $20,000. With Obama's help, however, the company eventually secured $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize the table tennis tournaments it sponsored. As blogger Ed Morrissey observes: "This looks like a rather obvious quid pro quo…. In exchange for $118,000 in salary, Blackwell received $320,000 in state taxpayer money and influence at the highest level of state politics."

    Obama's presidential campaign website reported that Blackwell in 2008 committed to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for Obama's White House run that year.

    Obama was an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War ever since it was first discussed as a possible means of unseating Saddam Hussein from power. On October 2, 2002, Obama gave an antiwar speech alongside Jesse Jackson on the very day that President Bush and Congress had agreed on a joint resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Suggesting that the prospect of war was largely a Republican ploy to distract voters from domestic issues that were impacting minorities negatively, Obama said: "What I am opposed to is the attempt by potential hacks like [Republican strategist] Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty state, a drop in the medium income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone thorough the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I am opposed to."

    In July 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. He used the speech to introduce himself to a national audience while impugning the Bush administration and the War in Iraq.

    In 2004 Obama ran for one of Illinois' two seats in the U.S. Senate. The Chicago Tribune endorsed Obama's campaign. More importantly, the Tribune persuaded a Democrat-appointed judge in California to open the sealed divorce records of Obama's Republican opponent to the media. The resulting sex scandal, based on allegations in the divorce records by a Hollywood actress eager to prevent her ex-husband from getting custody of their children, prompted the Republican to resign from the race.

    With a $10 million campaign war chest from contributors, and with no Republican opponent who could garner much support, Obama had an open road to become the next U.S. Senator from Illinois. His friend and political supporter, the longtime Chicago alderwoman Dorothy Tillman, helped him win the voting in Chicago's predominantly black wards. He also received valuable backing from the Jesse Jacksons, Junior and Senior, and Rev. Jackson's Rainbow Coalition.

    In March 2005 Obama joined forces with the Web-based, grassroots political network MoveOn -- which seeks to use its fundraising clout to push the Democratic Party ever further to the political left -- in an effort to raise campaign money for West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd's 2006 reelection bid. In a letter to MoveOn members, Obama wrote: "You and millions of others, working through MoveOn, have helped change the way politics works in this country."

    In a 2005 commencement address, Obama described the conservative philosophy of government as one that promises "to give everyone one big refund on their government, divvy it up by individual portions, in the form of tax breaks, hand it out, and encourage everyone to use their share to go buy their own health care, their own retirement plan, their own child care, their own education, and so on." "In Washington," said Obama, "they call this the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it, Social Darwinism, every man or woman for him or herself. It's a tempting idea, because it doesn't require much thought or ingenuity."

    In September 2005, Obama spoke at a town hall meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus. Nominally devoted to the subject of "eradicating poverty," the meeting was replete with condemnations of President George W. Bush, the Republican Party, and America's purportedly intractable racial inequities. Obama stopped short of suggesting that the allegedly slow federal response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina (which had devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast earlier that month) -- especially black victims -- was motivated by racism. But he nonetheless claimed that racism was the cause of what he perceived to be the Bush administration's indifference to the struggles of African Americans generally.

    "The incompetence was colorblind," said Obama. "What wasn't colorblind was the indifference. Human efforts will always pale in comparison to nature's forces. But [the Bush administration] is a set of folks who simply don't recognize what's happening in large parts of the country." Blacks in hurricane-hit areas were poor, Obama further charged, because of the Bush administration's "decision to give tax breaks to Paris Hilton instead of providing child care and education …"

    In 2006 Obama endorsed the aforementioned Dorothy Tillman in the Third Ward race for the Chicago City Council. A passionate admirer of Louis Farrakhan, Tillman was a leading proponent of reparations for slavery. Claiming that America remains "one of the cruelest nations in the world when it comes to black folks," Tillman continues to declare that the U.S. "owes blacks a debt."

    In December of 2006, Obama, who by then was contemplating a run for the presidency, met in New York with billionaire financier George Soros, who previously had hosted a fundraiser for Obama during the latter's 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate.

    One of the most powerful men on earth, Soros is a hedge fund manager who has amassed a personal fortune estimated at about $7.2 billion. His management company controls billions more in investor assets. Since 1979, Soros' foundation network -- whose flagship is the Open Society Institute (OSI) -- has dispensed more than $5 billion to a multitude of organizations whose objectives can be summarized as follows:

    * promoting the view that America is institutionally an oppressive nation
    * promoting the election of leftist political candidates throughout the United States
    * opposing virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by U.S. government, particularly the Patriot Act
    * depicting American military actions as unjust, unwarranted, and immoral
    * promoting open borders, mass immigration, and a watering down of current immigration laws
    * promoting a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs funded by ever-escalating taxes
    * promoting social welfare benefits and amnesty for illegal aliens
    * defending suspected anti-American terrorists and their abetters
    * financing the recruitment and training of future activist leaders of the political Left
    * advocating America's unilateral disarmament and/or a steep reduction in its military spending
    * opposing the death penalty in all circumstances
    * promoting socialized medicine in the United States
    * promoting the tenets of radical environmentalism, whose ultimate goal, as writer Michael Berliner has explained, is "not clean air and clean water, [but] rather ... the demolition of technological/industrial civilization"
    * bringing American foreign policy under the control of the United Nations
    * promoting racial and ethnic preferences in academia and the business world alike

    On January 16, 2007, Obama announced the creation of a presidential exploratory committee, and within hours Soros sent the senator a contribution of $2,100, the maximum amount allowable under campaign finance laws. Later that week the New York Daily News reported that Soros would back Obama over Senator Hillary Clinton, whom he had supported in the past.

    On February 10, 2007, Obama officially announced his candidacy for President. Having served for only two years as a U.S. Senator, and with no experience in an executive office, Obama said: "I recognize that there is a certain presumptuousness in this, a certain audacity to this announcement. I know that I have not spent a long time learning the ways of Washington, but I have been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington have to change."

    Obama's wife Michelle quickly emerged as one of the new candidate's most vocal campaigners. In a February 2007 appearance with her husband on the television program 60 Minutes, Mrs. Obama implied that America's allegedly rampant white racism posed a great physical threat to her husband. Said Mrs. Obama: "As a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station." In a January 2008 speech, Mrs. Obama depicted the U.S. as a nation whose people are inclined to "hold on to [their] own stereotypes and misconceptions," and to thereby "feel justified in [their] own ignorance." During a February 18, 2023 speech in Milwaukee on behalf of her husband's campaign, she declared, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change." In March 2008 a New Yorker profile quoted Mrs. Obama saying, in a stump speech she had made in South Carolina, that the United States is "just downright mean" as a nation.

    Many notable individuals and organizations began to identify themselves publicly as Obama supporters. Among these were: George Clooney; Rob Reiner; Ariana Huffington; Jesse Jackson; Michael Eric Dyson; Manning Marable; Cornel West; Barbara Weinstein; Laurence Tribe; Jane Fonda; Tom Hayden; Michael Ratner; Danny Glover; Martin Sheen; Susan Sarandon; Spike Lee; Michael Moore; Bill Maher; Bruce Springsteen; Ted Kennedy; John Kerry; John Conyers; Luis Gutierrez; Barbara Lee; Major Owens; Jan Schakowsky; Bobby Rush; Pearl Jam; and ACORN.

    In April 2007, Obama addressed the activist Al Sharpton's National Action Network, telling an overflow crowd of listeners about his success as an Illinois lawmaker in making health insurance available to children and reducing the cost of prescription drugs for senior citizens. He also expressed his opposition to racial profiling in law enforcement, detailing how he had helped pass legislation against the practice. In addition, he asserted that society must help ex-convicts escape an "economic death sentence" by securing jobs for them when they leave prison.

    In 2007 Obama appointed Robert Malley, the Middle East and North Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group, as a foreign policy advisor to his campaign. ICG receives funding from the Open Society Institute (whose founder, George Soros, serves on the ICG Board and Executive Committee). Prior to joining ICG, Malley had served as President Bill Clinton's Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs (1998-2001); National Security Advisor Sandy Berger's Executive Assistant (1996-1998); and the National Security Council's Director for Democracy, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Affairs (1994-1996). Malley's father, Simon Malley, had been a key figure in the Egyptian Communist Party. Rabidly anti-Israel, Simon Malley was a confidante of the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat; an inveterate critic of "Western imperialism"; a supporter of various leftist revolutionary "liberation movements," particularly the Palestinian cause; a beneficiary of Soviet funding; and a supporter of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

    Robert Malley alleges that Israeli -- not Palestinian -- inflexibility caused the 2000 Camp David peace talks (brokered by Bill Clinton) to fail. He has penned several controversial articles -- some he co-wrote with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Arafat -- blaming Israel and exonerating Arafat for that failure. (In 2008, the Obama campaign would sever its ties with Malley after the latter told the Times of London that he -- Malley -- had been in regular contact with Hamas as part of his work for ICG.)

    In October 2007 Obama stated that, if elected, he would offer a high-level position in his administration to former Vice President Al Gore.

    On December 4, 2007, Obama's campaign announced the creation of its African American Religious Leadership Committee. Among the committee's more notable members were Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Otis Moss III, and Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.

    From March 1972 until February 2008, Jeremiah Wright -- whom Barack Obama described as his "spiritual advisor," his "mentor," and "one of the greatest preachers in America" -- was the pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC), where Obama had attended services since 1988, and where he (Obama) had been a member since 1992. Wright embraces the tenets of black liberation theology, which seeks to foment Marxist revolutionary fervor founded on racial rather than class solidarity. His writings, public statements, and sermons reflect his conviction that America is a nation infested with racism, prejudice, and injustice. Wright is also a strong supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Controversy erupted in early 2008 when news reports surfaced detailing Wright's incendiary comments. Obama initially dismissed the audio/video clips as mere "snippets," claiming that the media were highlighting only Wright's "most offensive words," and that his statements had been taken out of context. In May 2008, Obama finally made a move to distance himself from Wright and to denounce aspects of his preachings. As a result of the controversy, Wright stepped down from his position with the Obama campaign's African American Religious Leadership Committee.

    Rev. Otis Moss III -- whom Obama has extolled as a "wonderful young pastor" -- served as assistant pastor of TUCC from 2006-2008 and then succeeded Jeremiah Wright as pastor when the latter retired. In one notable sermon, Moss likened the condition of contemporary black Americans to that of the hapless lepers referenced in biblical stories. He further implied that whites -- who, in his estimation, continue to segregate blacks both socially and economically -- are the "enemy" of African Americans. "Our society creates thugs," Moss added. "Children are not born thugs. Thugs are made and not born."

    Rev. Joseph Lowery is a prominent figure in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Viewing the United States as a nation that is "not committed to serious efforts to address the issue of racism," he has warned that "white racism is gaining respectability again," and that "there's a resurgence of racism … at almost every level of life." Lowery has expressed contempt for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, specifically because the black conservative Thomas opposes the use of affirmative action (i.e., race preferences) in business and academia. Says Lowery: "I have told [Thomas] I am ashamed of him, because he is becoming to the black community what Benedict Arnold was to the nation he deserted; and what Judas Iscariot was to Jesus: a traitor; and what Brutus was to Caesar: an assassin."

    Another notable religious supporter of Barack Obama is Rev. Michael Pfleger, a white Roman Catholic priest who has been the pastor of Saint Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago since 1981. A great admirer of Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright, Pfleger views America as a nation plagued by "classism and racism," and he identifies white racism as "the number one sin in this country." Pfleger has had a longstanding friendly relationship (since the late 1980s) with Obama and has played a significant role as a spiritual advisor for the latter. Between 1995 and 2001, Pfleger contributed a total of $1,500 to Obama's various political campaigns -- including a $200 donation in April 2001, approximately three months after Obama (who was then an Illinois state senator) had announced that St. Sabina programs would be receiving $225,000 in state grants. (After Obama's 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, he would earmark an additional $100,000 in federal tax money for Pfleger's work.) Pfleger also has hosted a number of faith forums for Obama during his political campaigns.

    In May 2008 Pfleger was a guest preacher at Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC), where he condemned America as a racist nation that "has been raping people of color." He also declared that Hillary Clinton felt a sense of "white entitlement" in her quest to become President. When portions of this sermon were aired widely by the media, Obama denounced Pfleger's rhetoric as "divisive" and "backward-looking," and soon thereafter he announced that he was leaving Trinity church.

    Yet another religious figure affiliated with Obama is Rev. James Meeks, a Democratic member of the Illinois state senate, where he served alongside Obama from 2002-2004 (prior to Obama's election to the U.S. Senate). Meeks also has been the pastor of Chicago's 22,000-member Salem Baptist Church since 1985, and he was once the executive vice president of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH coalition. In July 2006, Meeks sparked controversy when he delivered a heated sermon excoriating Chicago mayor Richard Daley and others regarding public-school funding issues. "We don't have slave masters," Meeks shouted. "We got mayors. But they still the same white people who are presiding over systems where black people are not able, or to be educated." Also among the targets of Meeks' wrath were African Americans who supported Daley. Said Meeks: "You got some preachers that are house niggers. You got some elected officials that are house niggers. And rather than them trying to break this up, they gonna fight you to protect this white man."

    Meeks is a longtime political ally of Barack Obama, who in 2003 and 2004 frequently campaigned at Salem Baptist Church during his run for the U.S. Senate. Meeks, meanwhile, appeared in television ads supporting Obama's candidacy. Also in 2004, Obama personally selected Meeks to endorse him in a radio ad. In a 2004 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama described Meeks as an adviser to whom he looked for "spiritual counsel." In 2007 Meeks served on Obama's exploratory committee for the presidency. The Obama campaign website listed Meeks as one of the candidate's "influential black supporters." A Meeks endorsement of Obama was featured on that same website in 2008. Also in 2008, Meeks was named as an Illinois superdelegate pledged to Obama for the Democratic convention in Denver, Colorado.

    During a Democratic presidential debate on January 21, 2008, Obama expressed his belief that Republican politicians had failed to provide adequate opportunities for the social and economic advancement of minorities: "I am absolutely convinced that white, black, Latino, Asian, people want to move beyond our divisions, and they want to join together in order to create a movement for change in this country. The Republicans may have a different attitude.... The policies that they have promoted have not been good at providing ladders for upward mobility and opportunity for all people."

    Also in January 2008, Obama's relationship with a federally indicted real estate developer came to light when rival candidate Hillary Clinton said, during a South Carolina Democratic Party presidential debate: "I was fighting against … [Republican] ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago." Clinton's reference was to Tony Rezko, a Syrian-born, Chicago-based restaurateur and real estate developer who had been one of the first major financial contributors to Barack Obama's political campaigns in the 1990s. For a full explanation of Rezko's relationship with Obama, click on the footnote number here: [5]

    In March 2008 the controversial Al Sharpton, a strong supporter of Obama's presidential candidacy, revealed publicly that he was in the habit of speaking to Obama on a regular basis -- "two or three times a week." Sharpton also said that he had told Obama four months earlier, "I won't either endorse you or not endorse you. But I will tell you I can be freer not endorsing you to help you and everybody else." According to Sharpton, Obama then protested and asked for his public support: "No, no, no. I want you to endorse."

    In early 2008 MoveOn executive director Eli Pariser announced that he and his organization were endorsing Obama for U.S. President. "We've learned that the key to achieving change in Washington without compromising core values is having a galvanized electorate to back you up," said Pariser, "and Barack Obama has our members 'fired up and ready to go' on that front."

    Said Obama in response: "In just a few years, the members of MoveOn have once again demonstrated that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up. From their principled opposition to the Iraq war -- a war I also opposed from the start -- to their strong support for a number of progressive causes, MoveOn shows what Americans can achieve when we come together in a grassroots movement for change…. I thank them for their support and look forward to working with their members in the weeks and months ahead."

    In April 2008 Ahmed Yousef, a political advisor for the terrorist group Hamas, told interviewer Aaron Klein that his (Yousef's) organization was hopeful that Obama would win the presidential election and change America's foreign policy vis a vis the Arab-Israeli conflict. When reporters subsequently asked Obama what he thought of the Hamas leader's endorsement, Obama said: "My position on Hamas is indistinguishable from the position of Hillary Clinton or [Republican presidential candidate] John McCain. I said they are a terrorist organization, and I've repeatedly condemned them. I've repeatedly said, and I mean what I say: Since they are a terrorist organization, we should not be dealing with them until they recognize Israel, renounce terrorism, and abide by previous agreements."

    During an April 2008 campaign stop in San Francisco, Obama said, "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years, and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate, and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

    Obama's Positions and Voting Record

    Miscellaneous Issues (gun control, health care, Cuba, affirmative action, pornography):

    Barack Obama is a strong supporter of gun control, a proponent of socialized medicine, and an advocate of loosening restrictions on trade with -- and travel to -- Communist-controlled Cuba.

    He favors racial preferences for minorities in university admissions, public employment, and state contracting. "I still believe in affirmative action as a means of overcoming both historic and potentially current discrimination," says Obama.

    In 2001 Obama voted "Present" on a bill to restrict the location of buildings with "adult" uses (meaning pornographic video stores, strip clubs, etc.) within 1,000 feet of any school, public park, place of worship, preschool, day-care facility, or residential area. In 1999 he voted "No" on a bill requiring school boards to install software that would block sexually explicit material on public computers accessible to minors.

    Same-Sex Marriage:

    In the wake of a May 2008 California Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in that state (similar to a 2003 decision by the high court of Massachusetts), Obama issued a call to "fully repeal" the Defense of Marriage Act (signed into law by President Clinton in 1996), a move that would have the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. The Defense of Marriage Act currently protects states from having to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states. Says Obama's campaign website: "Obama also believes we need to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally recognized unions."

    Notably, no Congress or state legislature has ever voted to define homosexual unions as marriages. And wherever proposals for same-sex marriage have been put up for popular vote, they have been rejected by the American people. In the 13 states where gay marriage was on the ballot in 2004, for example, it was defeated by majorities ranging in size from 58 percent to 85 percent of the voters.


    Obama has consistently voted in favor of expanding abortion rights and the funding of abortion services with taxpayer dollars. As a state senator in 1997, he voted against Senate Bill 230, which sought to ban partial-birth abortions unless necessary to save the life of a mother. He also voted against a 2000 bill that would have ended state funding of partial-birth abortions. He voted "No" on a bill prohibiting minors from crossing state lines to gain access to abortion services, and "No" to requiring physicians to notify parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. As a state senator in 2002, he voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, which was intended to protect babies that survived late-term abortions from being permitted to die from intentional neglect. He voted against this same legislation in 2003, and as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, he blocked another attempt to bring the bill to the floor of the Illinois Senate. Obama's voting record in the foregoing matters earned him a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2005, 2006, and 2007. He also received a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood in 2006, and a zero percent rating from the National Right-to-Life Committee (an anti-abortion group) in 2005 and 2006.

    In 2006 Obama voted "Yes" on a Senate Budget amendment allocating $100 million to: "increas[e] funding and access to family planning services"; "fun[d] legislation that requires equitable prescription coverage for contraceptives under health plans"; and "fun[d] legislation that would create and expand teen pregnancy prevention programs and education programs concerning emergency contraceptives."[6]

    Criminal Justice:

    Obama as a lawmaker has opposed the death penalty and authored legislation requiring police to keep records of the race of everyone questioned, detained or arrested.[7]

    Obama promises that as President, he will work to ban racial profiling and eliminate racial disparities in criminal sentencing. "The criminal justice system is not color blind," he says. "It does not work for all people equally, and that is why it's critical to have a president who sends a signal that we are going to have a system of justice that is not just us, but is everybody."

    According to Obama, "[W]e know that in our criminal justice system, African-Americans and whites, for the same crime … are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates, receive very different sentences. That is something that we have to talk about. But that's a substantive issue and it has to do with how … we pursue racial justice. If I am president, I will have a civil rights division that is working with local law enforcement so that they are enforcing laws fairly and justly."[8]

    Obama contends that the much harsher penalties for crimes involving crack cocaine as opposed to powder-based cocaine -- the former disproportionately involve black offenders, whereas the latter involve mostly white offenders -- are wrong and should be completely eliminated.[9]

    He also pledges to "provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that [ex-convicts] are successfully re-integrated into society." Moreover, he vows to create "a prison-to-work incentive program to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates."

    In Obama's calculus, many young black men engage in street-level drug dealing not because they seek to profit handsomely from it, but because they are unable to find legitimate jobs anywhere. Says Obama: "For many inner-city men, what prevents gainful employment is not simply the absence of motivation to get off the streets but the absence of a job history or any marketable skills -- and, increasingly, the stigma of a prison record. We can assume that with lawful work available for young men now in the drug trade, crime in any community would drop."

    During his years as a legislator, Obama voted against a proposal to criminalize contact with gang members for any convicts who were free on probation or on bail. In 2001 he opposed, for reasons of racial equity, making gang activity a consideration in determining who may be eligible for capital punishment. "There's a strong overlap between gang affiliation and young men of color," said Obama. "… I think it's problematic for them [nonwhites] to be singled out as more likely to receive the death penalty for carrying out certain acts than are others who do the same thing."

    In 1999, Obama was the only state senator to oppose a bill prohibiting early prison release for offenders convicted of sex crimes.


    Obama has occasionally attacked special interests in the Democratic Party. In the past, for instance, he was prepared to help students escape from bad public schools by considering school vouchers. But he now toes the anti-voucher party line and thus the special interest of the Democratic Party's biggest funding and activist base, the National Education Association.

    In his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama stressed the importance of increasing government expenditures on public education. "We're going to put more money into education than we have," he said. "We have to invest in human capital." Obama's education plan calls for "investing" $10 billion annually in a comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan that "will provide critical supports to young children and their parents." These funds will be used to "create or expand high-quality early care and education programs for pregnant women and children from birth to age five"; to "quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start"; to "ensure [that] all children have access to pre-school"; to "provide affordable and high-quality child care that will … ease the burden on working families"; to allow "more money" to be funneled "into after-school programs"; and to fund "home visiting programs [by health-care personnel] to all low-income, first-time mothers."

    In Obama's view, virtually all schooling-related problems can be solved with an infusion of additional cash. Consider, for instance, his perspective on the low graduation rate of nonwhite minorities: "Latinos have such a high dropout rate. What you see consistently are children at a very early age are starting school already behind. That's why I've said that I'm going to put billions of dollars into early childhood education that makes sure that our African-American youth, Latino youth, poor youth of every race, are getting the kind of help that they need so that they know their numbers, their colors, their letters."[10]

    Obama opposed the Supreme Court's 2007 split decision that invalidated programs in Seattle and Louisville (Kentucky) which sought to maintain "diversity" in local schools by factoring race into decisions about which students could be admitted to any particular school, or which students could be allowed to transfer from one school to another. Under these programs, parents were not free to send their children to the schools of their choice. Instead they were obliged to abide by the quotas preordained by bureaucrats who had never met any of the children whose educational lives they sought to micromanage. Both the Seattle and Louisville programs were representative of similar plans in hundreds of other school districts nationwide.

    In Obama's opinion, the Court's "wrong-headed" ruling was "but the latest in a string of decisions by this conservative bloc of Justices that turn back the clock on decades of advancement and progress in the struggle for equality." "The Supreme Court was wrong," Obama added. "These were local school districts that had voluntarily made a determination that all children would be better off if they learned together. The notion that this Supreme Court would equate that with the segregation as tasked would make Thurgood Marshall turn in his grave."[11]

    Viewing racial mixing as an educational objective compelling enough to warrant the use of quotas and bussing for its attainment, Obama stated that "a racially diverse learning environment has a profoundly positive educational impact on all students," and thus he remains "devoted to working toward this goal."[12]

    Gender Discrimination:

    The Obama campaign asserts that gender-based "discrimination on the job" is a big problem in America. "For every $1.00 earned by a man, the average woman receives only 77 cents," says the campaign website. "A recent study estimates it will take another 47 years for women to close the wage gap with men." To rectify this, Obama "believes the government needs to take steps to better enforce the Equal Pay Act, fight job discrimination, and improve child care options and family medical leave to give women equal footing in the workplace."[13]


    Obama voted against permitting the U.S. to drill for oil and natural gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Says Obama: "It is hard to overstate the degree to which our addiction to oil undermines our future…. A large portion of the $800 million we spend on foreign oil every day goes to some of the world's most volatile regimes. And there are the environmental consequences. Just about every scientist outside the White House believes climate change is real. We cannot drill our way out of the problem. Instead of subsidizing the oil industry, we should end every single tax break the industry currently receives and demand that 1% of the revenues from oil companies with over $1 billion in quarterly profits go toward financing alternative energy research and infrastructure."


    Obama's position on the issue of global warming is unambiguous. Says the Obama campaign:

    "Global warming is real, is happening now and is the result of human activities. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Glaciers are melting faster; the polar ice caps are shrinking; trees are blooming earlier; oceans are becoming more acidic, threatening marine life; people are dying in heat waves; species are migrating, and eventually many will become extinct. Scientists predict that absent major emission reductions, climate change will worsen famine and drought in some of the poorest places in the world and wreak havoc across the globe. In the U.S., sea-level rise threatens to cause massive economic and ecological damage to our populated coastal areas."[14]

    During a 2008 campaign stop in Oregon, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming. "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," he said. "That's not leadership. That's not going to happen."

    Homeland Security / War on Terror:

    Obama voted "No" on a bill to remove the need for a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant before the government may proceed with wiretapping in terrorism-related investigations of suspects in other countries. "Warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of FISA, is unlawful and unconstitutional," says Obama.[15]

    In Obama's view, "the creation of military commissions" to try terror suspects captured in the War on Terror was, from its inception, "a bad idea."[16]

    Such commissions are designed to adjudicate the cases of so-called "unlawful combatants" -- as distinguished from "lawful combatants" -- who are captured in battle. The former are entitled to prisoner-of-war status and its accompanying Geneva Convention protections; the latter are entitled to none of that. Article IV of the Geneva Convention defines lawful combatants as those whose military organization meets four very specific criteria: "(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign [a uniform or emblem] recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; [and] (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war." Al Qaeda, for one, fails even to come close to satisfying these conditions. Obama opposes the distinction between lawful and unlawful combatants, and has called for the repeal of any separate standards regulating the treatment of each.[17]

    Obama has also voted in favor of preserving habeas corpus -- the notion that the government may not detain a prisoner without filing specific charges that can expeditiously be brought before a court -- for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. U.S. officials consider these prisoners -- captured mostly on the battlefields of the Middle East -- to be of the highest value for intelligence purposes, or to constitute, in their own persons, a great threat to the United States. Says Obama: "Why don't we close Guantanamo and restore the right of habeas corpus, because that's how we lead, not with the might of our military, but the power of our ideals and the power of our values. It's time to show the world we're not a country that ships prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries."

    On June 19, 2008, political analyst Dick Morris described Obama's prescription for dealing with terrorism as follows:

    "[Obama has] urged us to go back to the era of criminal-justice prosecution of terror suspects, citing the successful efforts to imprison those who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. [He said] 'It is my firm belief that we can crack down on threats against the United States, but we can do so within the constraints of our Constitution.... In previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in US prisons, incapacitated.'

    "This is big -- because that prosecution, and the ground rules for it, had more to do with our inability to avert 9/11 than any other single factor. Because we treated the 1993 WTC bombing as simply a crime, our investigation was slow, sluggish and constrained by the need to acquire admissible evidence to convict the terrorists.

    "As a result, we didn't know that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were responsible for the attack until 1997 -- too late for us to grab Osama when Sudan offered to send him to us in 1996. Clinton and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger turned down the offer, saying we had no grounds on which to hold him or to order his kidnapping or death.

    "Obama's embrace of the post-'93 approach shows a blindness to the key distinction that has kept us safe since 9/11 -- the difference between prosecution and protection."

    Iraq War:

    The Obama campaign website declares that Obama, as President, "would immediately begin to pull out troops engaged in combat operations at a pace of one or two brigades every month, to be completed by the end of [2009]. He would call for a new constitutional convention in Iraq, convened with the United Nations, which would not adjourn until Iraq's leaders reach a new accord on reconciliation. He would use presidential leadership to surge our diplomacy with all of the nations of the region on behalf of a new regional security compact. And he would take immediate steps to confront the humanitarian disaster in Iraq, and to hold accountable any perpetrators of potential war crimes."

    Obama also vows to "fulfill America's obligation to accept refugees" from Iraq. "The State Department pledged to allow 7,000 Iraqi refugees into America," says the Obama campaign, "but has only let 190 into the United States. [President] Obama would expedite the Department of Homeland Security's review of Iraqi asylum applicants."


    In a campaign ad for his 2008 presidential bid, Obama said: "I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. I will institute an independent Defense Priorities Board to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending ... I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal: I will not develop nuclear weapons."


    Obama generally favors significant increases in the tax rates paid by Americans. During a June 28, 2023 primary debate at Howard University, he was asked, "Do you agree that the rich aren't paying their fair share of taxes?" He replied, "There's no doubt that the tax system has been skewed. And the Bush tax cuts -- people didn't need them, and they weren't even asking for them, and that's why they need to be less, so that we can pay for universal health care and other initiatives."

    In 1999 Obama voted "No" on a bill to create an income tax credit for the families of all full-time K-12 pupils. In 2003 he voted "Yes" on a bill to retain the Illinois Estate Tax. He also supported raising taxes on insurance premiums and levying a new tax on businesses. In his keynote address at a 2006 "Building a Covenant for a New America" conference, he urged Americans of all faiths to convene on Capitol Hill and give it an "injection of morality" by opposing a repeal of the estate tax.

    The tax plan Obama has promoted during his 2008 presidential campaign calls for the following: a 39.6 percent personal income tax, a 52.2 percent combined income and payroll tax, a 28 percent capital-gains tax, a 39.6 percent dividends tax, and a 55 percent estate tax.

    The National Taxpayers Union -- an organization that "seeks to reduce government spending, cut taxes, and protect the rights of taxpayers" -- gave Obama ratings of zero percent, 16 percent, and "F" in 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively.

    Americans for Tax Reform -- which "believes in a system in which taxes are simpler, fairer, flatter, more visible, and lower than they are today" -- gave Obama a zero percent rating in 2005 and a
    this is hilarious. I really can't stop laughing about your chuck norris comment. I really wonder what barbara does to help "lift our brothers and sisters out of poverty and provide quality education for all our children"

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