Awful: ACORN Will Shut Down For Good
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"No wonder Obama's campaign is trying to distance him from the group, saying, 'Barack Obama Never Organized with ACORN.' But Obama's ties to ACORN run long and deep. He taught classes for ACORN. They even endorsed him for President.
"But now ACORN is in trouble."
The motive of Republicans in escalating the war on ACORN was suggested by a line in Rep. Issa's report - to delegitimize Obama. On page five, the report states: "Documents provided by former ACORN employees and contained in this report demonstrate the degree to which ACORN and ACORN affiliates organized to elect President Barack Obama in 2008."
In the most recent ACORN attacks and those of the 2008 campaign, the major US news media has mostly ignored the connections to the "prosecutor-gate" case. Two years ago, the press focused on anecdotes like Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's name showing up on one registration form.
The McCain campaign's attempt to politicize ACORN - and hype the danger of voter fraud - also paralleled the allegations made by Republicans during the final days of Campaign 2004.
In October 2004, Marc Racicot, chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign, called on Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry to demand that ACORN and other voter registration groups stop engaging in voter registration fraud. Racicot said these registration efforts would "ultimately paralyze the effective ability of Americans to be able to vote in the next election."
Two weeks before the 2004 presidential election, Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett announced the formation of a media campaign to counter what they claimed was voter registration fraud in nine Ohio counties.
"The reports of voter fraud in Ohio are some of the most alarming in the nation," Gillespie said on October 20, 2004.
The attacks on ACORN for allegedly signing up phony voters served as a cover for Republican efforts to purge real voters from the voting roles, a tactic that became infamous in the battleground states of Florida and Ohio.
In Florida, another battleground state in 2004, President Bush's brother Jeb was governor, and the state's Department of Law launched a statewide probe into voter registration fraud just two weeks before the presidential election. A press release from the Department of Law cited ACORN, which registered more than 212,000 new voters in the state.
In the two weeks before Election 2004, GOP officials raised similar concerns in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.
Republicans tried to expand the stain of ACORN to Obama. In a speech on the House floor last September, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) called Obama "the star of ACORN, the lead, chief organizer.... He walks with them all the way through."
King then demanded that every House committee launch an investigation into ACORN with the goal of forcing the organization to close its doors for good.
Jason Leopold is the former Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires where he spent two years covering the energy crisis and the Enron bankruptcy. He just finished writing a book about the crisis, due out in December through Rowman & Littlefield.