Obama on ACORN Controversy
"A Distraction... We Don't Need ACORN's Help"
ABCNews - October 14, 2008
ABC News noted that "Senator McCain today said that 'there has been voter fraud going on in the battleground states. ACORN is tampering with Americans' most precious right; there has to be a full and complete investigation.' And he also said that you need to disclose your full relationship with ACORN. I'm wondering if you have any reaction to the reports of voter fraud and also to Sen. McCain's charge?"
Obama replied: "first of all, my relationship to ACORN is pretty straightforward. It's probably 13 years ago when I was still practicing law, I represented ACORN and my partner in that representation was the US Justice Department in having Illinois implement what was called the 'Motor Voter' law, to make sure that people could go to DMV’s and drivers’ license facilities to get registered.. It wasn’t being implemented. That was my relationship and is my relationship to ACORN.
"There is an ACORN organization in Chicago," Obama continued. "They have been active. As an elected official, I've had interactions with them. But they are not advising our campaign. We've got the best voter registration and turnout and volunteer operation in politics right now and we don’t need ACORN’s help.
“My understanding in terms of the voter fraud, because having run a voter registration drive, I know how problems arise, this is typically a situation where ACORN probably paid people to get registrations and these folks, not wanting to actually register people because that's actually hard work, just went into a phone book or made up names and submitted false registrations to get paid," Obama said. "So there's been fraud perpetrated probably on ACORN if they paid these individuals and they actually didn’t do registrations.”
"But this isn't a situation where there's actually people who are going to try to vote 'cause these are phony names," Obama said. "And, it's doubtful (Dallas Cowboys quarterback) Tony Romo (whose name has been fraudulently submitted) is gonna show up in Ohio to vote. So this is another one of these distractions that gets stirred up in the course of a campaign.
"But what I want to make sure of, is that this is not used as an excuse for the kind of voter suppression strategies and tactics that we've seen in the past. Let’s just make sure everybody is voting, everybody’s registered. Let's make sure that everybody’s doing it in a lawful way."
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