By Patricia Wilson-Smith
Considering what the Clintons had to endure during the eight years that Bill Clinton was in office, you would think that they would find political attack-dogging anything but “fun”, but that’s how Hillary Clinton described her reportedly stepped-up efforts to shine a negative light on Senator Obama.
If like me, you believed all along that Hillary’s status as the presumptive nominee was destined to pale, you know that the kind of crap that we’ll soon hear coming from her campaign was inevitable. My favorite zinger-fallen-flat so far has to be the, “see – he’s ALWAYS wanted to be President, uh, uh, look at page 269, paragraph 7 of his book! He said it when he was a KINDERGARTNER! See! Senator Obama was trained to be a cunning political strategist before he barely even knew his alphabets!”
Ludicrous. What does it serve the American people to know that Senator Obama once aspired to the Presidency practically as a toddler? Hell, I’ve already announced to the world that my 10-year old, one David Isaiah Smith, will be the fourth Black President of the United States someday, but only God, the creator and finisher of his destiny knows for sure what he will become. The bottom line is, Senator Obama was called to lead, because of a passion for service, his intellect and knowledge of our government and it’s laws, and because it is his destiny. Pure and simple.
Now, of course, the campaign is attacking his Pro-Life stance. In the passage that follows, which was sent out today by Becky Carroll (the National Director of Women For Obama), it’s plain to see that some of the very people who have now united to try and tarnish the Senator’s record were the same one’s who once stood with him, and even celebrated his allegiance to the Pro-Life movement:
The campaign is heating up, and Hillary Clinton is resorting to old-school political attacks in a last-ditch effort to slow Barack Obama’s growing momentum.
With new polls in Iowa showing Senator Obama moving into the lead — and ahead with women voters by 5 points – Senator Clinton and her campaign are shamelessly attacking Barack’s record and his character.
Just weeks after Senator Clinton promised not to attack her Democratic opponents, yesterday she announced that she would enter a new period of daily attacks on Barack, going so far as to say this is “the fun part” of campaigning for the presidency.
The problem with Hillary’s attacks is that they’re filled with false charges and desperate rhetoric. First, she falsely claims that Barack Obama doesn’t support universal health care, even though he has a detailed plan that would provide affordable health insurance for every single American and do more to cut the cost of health care than any other plan in this race.
Then her campaign attacked our youth empowerment efforts and tried to intimidate Iowa college students who plan to participate in the caucus. They even published an article on their website attacking Barack for telling his kindergarten teacher he wanted to be president when he grew up.
Now they’re trying to attack Barack Obama’s 100% pro-choice record.
Today’s attack was delivered by Ellen Malcolm, President of EMILY’s List – which has endorsed Senator Clinton and is spending millions on an Independent Expenditure campaign to try to get her elected. Malcolm called into question Barack’s commitment to protect women’s rights by pointing to old votes on a few politically motivated bills in the Illinois Senate. What Malcolm failed to point out was that Barack cast these votes as part of a strategy employed by pro-choice leaders in Illinois. That’s why so many top pro-choice leaders were outraged by the attack and immediately defended Barack’s record of leadership on this important issue.
Not only is Senator Clinton’s claim another baseless, desperate attempt on her campaign’s part to distort Barack’s record, but this tactic does nothing more than divide the pro-choice community at a time when we need to work together to elect a pro-choice candidate for president.
But don’t take our word for it. Read what leaders in the pro-choice community – who have worked side by side with Senator Obama – had to say about the latest Clinton attacks:
“I am a supporter of Hillary Clinton and an EMILY’s List donor, but this line of attack is unacceptable. While I was the president of Chicago National Organization for Women, Senator Obama worked closely with us, could not have been more supportive of a woman¹s right to choose, and there was no bigger champion in Illinois on our issues. What¹s important is that the candidates do not cannibalize each other on issues we all agree about because we need to win in November.” Lorna Brett, former president of Chicago NOW
“During his years in the state legislature, Barack Obama was a strong and consistent supporter of women’s reproductive rights. He worked hand-in-hand with Planned Parenthood in developing and executing strategies to make sure that women had access to reproductive health care. I also want to thank him for standing up with us in the effort to open the Aurora clinic and for his introduction of legislation guaranteeing access to low-cost birth control. Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area has proudly endorsed Barack throughout his entire political career.” Steve Trombley, CEO & President, Planned Parenthood/Chicago Action
“The present votes Obama took at that time, along with many other pro-choice legislators, were ‘no’ votes to bad bills being used for political gain. We asked Senator Obama and other strong supporters of choice to vote present to encourage Senators facing tough re-elections to make the right choice by voting present, instead of caving to political pressure and voting for these bad bills. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama showed leadership, compassion and a true commitment to reproductive health care. The Republican Senate President at the time constantly used anti-abortion bills to pigeon-hole Democrats so that he could target them with misleading mailers during campaign season. It was a tactic that was about politics, not policy – and Obama didn’t let them get away with it.” Pam Sutherland, President & CE O of < st1:place w:st=”on”>Illinois Planned Parenthood Council
“Senator Obama is one of America’s strongest and most loyal defenders of women’s rights on issues of reproductive health care. I’ve contributed to EMILY’s List in the past but I never will again, because I¹m so disappointed in their decision to launch these unfair, false attacks on behalf of Senator Clinton¹s campaign.” Libby Slappey, a former 13-year board member of Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa.
Even Ellen Malcolm has praised Barack as recently as last year, after Barack gave the keynote speech at the annual Emily’s List Luncheon. In a letter to Barack, Malcolm writes:
Thank you so much for helping to make the 2006 EMILY’s List Majority Council Conference such a great success. Our Majority Council members told me again and again how energized they were to hear directly from you and how much they appreciated your spending time with us.
You truly inspired our members and reminded them why they support our work to elect dynamic pro-choice Democratic women especially after hearing you speak about how you’re fighting to make change happen.
I appreciate your commitment to EMILY’s List. Here’s to victory in November!
Warmest regards, Ellen R. Malcolm, President
Handwritten: “You were terrific and really lit a fire with our members!
Thanks so much!!”
These attacks are not going away any time soon. Let’s be sure to remind ourselves and our friends about what a fighter Senator Obama has been for the pro-choice community.
· Barack has a 100% pro-choice vote rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
· He was the ONLY U.S. Senator who helped raise funds in 2006 to successfully repeal a South Dakota law that banned abortions. Senator Clinton refused to help in the effort. In fact, even EMILY’S List refused to help repeal the ban in South Dakota.
· Senator Obama is the only candidate for President who rose in support of Illinois Planned Parenthood when their new Aurora clinic faced a threatened shut-down.
· When Congress failed to pass a law to require insurance plans to cover FDA-approved contraceptives, Obama supported a successful law to provide that requirement in Illinois.
· He recently co-sponsored a bill with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to make birth control more affordable for low-income and college age women after changes in federal law led to a skyrocketing new costs.
Please share this information with your friends and colleagues. Let’s make sure that these kinds of divisive, baseless attacks don’t go unanswered.
More politics as usual. I understand, as I’m sure every American does, that heated political discourse is a necessary discomfort in the electoral process, but when it borders on the ridiculous, like this whole Kindergarten thing, it makes us all just feel, well, less than intellectual. As a matter of fact, the more I read some of this stuff I think, the dumber I get.
Luckily, Senator Obama’s campaign has all of this covered, so the rest of us are free to do what is needed most – contribute our time and efforts towards getting out the vote, and spreading the word about the need for change in this country. So let’s push past the ridiculousness of the recent campaign rhetoric and speed the Senator from Illinois along to victory in ’08. The work is ours to do, and it will only be done if we do it.
Fired up and ready to go?