Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain-Palin Campaign Conference Call On Barack Obama's Ties To ACORN

We do think too that after an opportunity at the debate on Wednesday when Barack Obama was asked about it, he continued to create a fog around the issue, not taking the opportunity to publicly spell out his historic relationship with the ACORN organization and also had a wonderful opportunity to explain exactly in detail what his relationship was with the ACORN organization when they hired them and spent over $800,000 to make them a part of his campaign. We believe that these issues are important in a close election." -- Rick Davis

Today McCain-Palin 2008 held a press conference call with Rick Davis, McCain-Palin 2008 Campaign Manager, to discuss Barack Obama's association with ACORN and the nationwide investigation of ACORN's practices:

Rick Davis: "I just wanted to update everybody on our thinking of what's going on in the emerging scandal related to ACORN and the election cycle this year.

"Its been about a week since we last talked about this and I thinks it's important to note a couple of important events that have occurred. One, I had sent a letter to my counterpart on the Obama campaign, David Plouffe, to encourage him to join a group that we organized called the Honest and Open Election Committee headed by former Senators Danforth and Rudman in an effort to ensure that there is a total confidence level in the American public for these elections. We believe that these are important historical elections and nothing should mar the outcome, regardless of whether we win or lose. Nothing should mar the outcome of this election cycle. We have gotten little to no response back from the Obama campaign on this issue. In fact, the only real remarks that they've made publicly is when David Plouffe went out of his way to make a point that he just thinks this is a cynical ploy to somehow reduce voter turnout. I can't believe th at any effort in this area to ensure that we have coordination between his campaign and mine, between these big issues would be anything that would be considered a cynical ploy.

"But leaving that, since we last talked on this issue, there have been more media reports of an expanding investigation by the FBI. We were aware last time we spoke that they had raided offices in Nevada but, evidently, according to press reports, their interest now extends beyond Nevada into other states. We're aware that there have been activities in New Mexico by the FBI. But I guess in news reports that extends to many other states that they may be taking a look at. We don't know and haven't spoken to the FBI about their investigation, but it does confirm the concerns that we've seen on the state by state basis of rampant voter fraud as it relates to voter registrations that require some effort to look at them.

"We do think too that after an opportunity at the debate on Wednesday when Barack Obama was asked about it, he continued to create a fog around the issue, not taking the opportunity to publicly spell out his historic relationship with the ACORN organization and also had a wonderful opportunity to explain exactly in detail what his relationship was with the ACORN organization when they hired them and spent over $800,000 to make them a part of his campaign. We believe that these issues are important in a close election. We believe that many of these states that are under investigation have had historically close elections and could be very close again and that we should do nothing in this campaign or in the press to do anything other than to ensure that there's a total confidence level that on election day and, more importantly, the day after the election that people believe that they have had a fair and honest election and that the pe rson who they chose to be the next president of the United States does so without a cloud of suspicion that seems to right now hang over this election.

"It's pretty clear that Barack Obama decided not to use the opportunity this week to spell out what's going on with his relationship with ACORN. We talked about in the past how ACORN has been involved with him as far back as his tenure on the Woods Foundation. His comments on his website that he's fought along ACORN his entire career, his early training of ACORN employees and he did mention that the ACORN representation in a court suit with the federal government.

I don't understand. I mean unless they think that there is a problem with his relationship with ACORN, why they wouldn't just come clean and talk about these things. But, more importantly, I think it's worth noting that there's still many questions about the $800,000 that ACORN got from his campaign within this last year. We've put out a press release this week that touched on some of these issues that we asked for full disclosure of those funds. What did they go to? What w as the relationship with Citizen Services, Inc? And, what exactly was Citizen Services Inc's relationship with ACORN? They claim that virtually all this money was spent outside the ACORN organization. Can they prove that? Can they elaborate on that? Can they explain what it was spent for? I think that if they're going to use these kinds of excuses to diminish their obvious historical relationship with ACORN, that they owe it to the public and to the press to scourge whatever written communication that they have had with these organizations in order to establish confidence that there wasn't something more to it. Have they denied in fact that they have any ongoing relationship with ACORN? Just as recently as the financial bailout to date in the Senate this last month, Barack Obama actively supported a Senate plan to cut ACORN into a percentage of the profits that would be generated by a massive trillion dollar bailout as part of a failed negotiation attempt that Barack Obama a nd the Democratic leadership in Congress claimed was the deal that John McCain upset the applecart on. I think the American public are probably happy that that deal never transpired.

"We also have suggested that you know we examined exactly what voter registration activity was compiled by ACORN as a part of this relationship with the Barack Obama campaign. What did they do in turnout? What was the nature of the functions that they performed? And what did they get for the $800,000 that they spent on this? They claim that this money was used in the Ohio primary. We know how close Ohio has been in past elections. We know how few votes made up the difference in many of the most recent elections. In fact, I would remind everybody that in states in 2000- Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin- all were within 1% that were decided the outcome of that election. And in 2004 again in Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wisconsin, the election was decided by just 1%. So, this issue I know sometimes to many people looks like, 'well there's just not all that many people involved in this process. Ther e aren't that many registrations you know that are going to affect the outcome.'

"First, we don't know how big the problem is. There has been very little reporting on this outside of some state investigative reports. So, I don't think anybody at this stage has any sense of how widespread the fraud has been. Obviously, federal investigators being involved in this indicate it has risen to the level of their attention.

"And two, it only takes a very little to undermine the public's credibility that these elections were honest, open, and fair and I think that is the number one issue that we believe to be at stake here. When John McCain gets elected president, we want to know that these were the most honest elections the American public would have confidence in. I think that the idea that we can just blow off these charges as David Plouffe did as a cynical attempt to distract us from the bigger issues of this campaign is also not appropriate when talking about the integrity of American elections. In fact, what is most amazing is the criticism that Senator McCaskill has made where she claimed that there wasn't any fraudulent voting, that people claim that this is a huge problem and instances of voter fraud and that it would be dismissed as easily. When she was the Missouri auditor, she reported multiple instances of fraud in their registration process in St. Louis, including 935 possible felonies. Seems to me she's changed her tune pretty significantly when she had a specific responsibility for administering fair elections in that state and now acting on behalf of Barack Obama campaign doesn't seem to think it's that important.

"I would finally say that from our perspective, what is truly amazing is how some in the media, including The New York Times has treated this where, for some reason, they believe that just 1% somehow should just be swept under the rug. One percent of fraud should be swept under the rug? We should have no fraud. We send observers to elections all around the world, and we hold ourselves out to be the gold standard in democracy and transparency and that idea that the 'paper of record' would believe that just 1% of fraud would somehow be tolerable is outrageous.

"I'd lastly like to say that on a couple of other issues, as far as coordination with the Obama campaign, I'd like to say that there are other complaints that have been filed against them on FEC disclosure issues. They seem to be of the opinion that whatever they do is fine that they don't have to apply the same standards of transparency to their campaign that we do. On the issue of transparency and publicly releasing all of their donations, I think it's incredible that now that we know that there were specific problems with their fundraising that the act of not disclosing contributors who donate individually $200 or less in a time when we have done that since day one from our campaign, that there's not more pressure and more scrutiny from the media as to why the Obama campaign hasn't done this. They have gotten acclaim both nationally and internationally about how sophisticated they've been with their internet, how successful they'v e been in being able to contact all these voters through that. It's clearly been the engine that's fueled their fantastic financial success in this campaign and the reason that they continue to be ahead of us in fundraising since Obama has broken his pact with the American people to take federal money and continues to raise money at these levels. Why hasn't he released his donors from day one? Why hasn't he released them since the complaints that have been filed with the FEC? And why hasn't he released them today in order to try and regain confidence in the transparency of this election?

"So, I think there's a broader issue here of what's going on inside the Obama campaign while these questions remain unanswered. Why they don't feel a need to clean these things up if they're not that big a deal. Why not just release the documentation on ACORN? Why not open themselves up to a discussion of what exactly happened with that $830,000? I think these issues continue to plague this election. I believe nothing is more important than the integrity of these elections and whoever is elected president, whether its Barack Obama or John McCain we want to know that we've had a safe, transparent, and clean election."

Listen To The Conference Call

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