Missouri Officials Suspect Fake Voter Registration

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials in Missouri, a hard-fought jewel in the presidential race, are sifting through possibly hundreds of questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by an advocacy group that has been accused of election fraud in other states.

Charlene Davis, co-director of the election board in Jackson County, where Kansas City is, said the fraudulent registration forms came from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. She said they were bogging down work Wednesday, the final day Missourians could register to vote.

“I don’t even know the entire scope of it because registrations are coming in so heavy,” Davis said. “We have identified about 100 duplicates, and probably 280 addresses that don’t exist, people who have driver’s license numbers that won’t verify or Social Security numbers that won’t verify. Some have no address at all.”

The nonpartisan group works to recruit low-income voters, who tend to lean Democratic. Most polls show Republican presidential candidate John McCain with an edge in bellwether Missouri, but Democrat Barack Obama continues to put up a strong fight.

Jess Ordower, Midwest director of ACORN, said his group hasn’t done any registrations in Kansas City since late August. He said he was told three weeks ago by election officials that there were only about 135 questionable cards — 85 of them duplicates.

“They keep telling different people different things,” he said. “They gave us a list of 130, then told someone else it was 1,000.”

FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said the agency has been in contact with elections officials about potential voter fraud and plans to investigate.

“It’s a matter we take very seriously,” Patton said. “It is against the law to register someone to vote who does not fall within the parameters to vote, or to put someone on there falsely.”

On Tuesday, authorities in Nevada seized records from ACORN after finding fraudulent registration forms that included the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys.

In April, eight ACORN workers in St. Louis city and county pleaded guilty to federal election fraud for submitting false registration cards for the 2006 election. U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said they submitted cards with false addresses and names, and forged signatures.

Ordower said Wednesday that ACORN registered about 53,500 people in Missouri this year. He believes his group is being targeted because some politicians don’t want that many low-income people having a voice.

“It’s par for the course,” he said. “When you’re doing more registrations than anyone else in the country, some don’t want low-income people being empowered to vote. There are pretty targeted attacks on us, but we’re proud to be out there doing the patriotic thing getting people registered to vote.”

Republicans are among ACORN’s loudest critics. At a campaign stop in Bethlehem, Pa., supporters of John McCain interrupted his remarks Wednesday by shouting, “No more ACORN.”

Debbie Mesloh, spokeswoman for the Obama campaign in Missouri, said in an e-mailed statement that the campaign supported any investigation of possible fraud.

According to its national Web site, the group has registered 1.3 million people nationwide for the Nov. 4 election. It also has encountered complaints of fraud stemming from registration efforts in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Nevada and battleground states like Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina, where new voter registrations have favored Democrats nearly 4 to 1 since the beginning of this year.

Missouri offers 11 electoral votes; the presidential candidates need at least 270 to win the election.



Obama: Gestapo Tactics



This should scare the hell out of every single American – Text of the e-mail the Obama campaign sent to supporters (via Chicagotribune.com):

In the next few hours, we have a crucial opportunity to fight one of the most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack. 

Tonight, WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears. He’s currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers.

Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse.

Call into the “Extension 720″ show with Milt Rosenberg at (312) 591-7200

(Show airs from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. tonight)Then report back on your call at http://my.barackobama.com/WGNstandards

Kurtz has been using his absurd TV appearances in an awkward and dishonest attempt to play the terrorism card. His current ploy is to embellish the relationship between Barack and Ayers.

Just last night on Fox News, Kurtz drastically exaggerated Barack’s connection with Ayers by claiming Ayers had recruited Barack to the board of the Annenberg Challenge. That is completely false and has been disproved in numerous press accounts.

It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz’s lies.

Kurtz is scheduled to appear from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the Chicago market.

Calling will only take a minute, and it will make a huge difference if we nip this smear in the bud. Confront Kurtz tonight before this goes any further:


Please forward this email to everyone you know who can make a call tonight.

Keep fighting the good fight,

Obama Action Wire


Obama: Storm Troopers



A St. Louis television station reports — their words — “The Barack Obama campaign is asking Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential campaign.”

Prosecutors and sheriffs from across Missouri are joining “The Barack Obama Truth Squad.”

They mention Jennifer Joyce, St. Louis Circuit Attorney and Bob McCullough, prosecutor for St. Louis County in Missouri.

The reporter says, “They will be reminding voters that Barack Obama is a Christian who wants to cut taxes for anyone making less than $250,000 a year.”

While the report never quite comes out and says that anyone running an ad saying those things would be subject to prosecution, that certainly is the message implied. 

Not all things that are wrong are illegal. Saying that Barack Obama is a Muslim is wrong, but it does not warrant prosecution by the state.

I would cite Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, but an angry mob just took my copy to their book-burning…

UPDATE: AIP responds:

Washington, DC – September 26, 2008 – Barack Obama is now using local law enforcement officials to carry out his campaign of legal intimidation by assembling a group of high-ranking Missouri police officials and prosecutors – including St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough and City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce – to identify and target anyone the campaign determines is producing “misleading” political advertisements.

“This is an outrageous and shocking attempt by the Obama campaign to again employ Stalinist, police state tactics against those who dare to disagree with Barack Obama,” said Ed Martin, American Issues Projects president.   “I am frankly stunned to see public officials like McCullough and Joyce abusing their official prosecutorial positions to serve as attack dogs for a national political campaign.  I am quite certain Missourians elected these individuals to enforce the laws and arrest criminals, not to throw people in jail for daring to practicing free speech.

“The Obama campaign continues to provide a chilling preview of what would happen to political freedom in an Obama administration.”

This new effort is only the most recent attempt by the Obama campaign to crack down on free speech.  Obama’s lawyers twice demanded the Department of Justice investigate and prosecute the American Issues Project, its officers, board of directors, and donors.  The campaign also threatened stations running American Issues Project’s ad in an unsuccessful attempt to compel them to pull the spot, and ran its own ad in response.


Pro Obama Community Organizer Group Involved in (More) Voter Fraud

acornA community organization, with longstanding ties to Barrack Obama, has, according to numerous reports, repeatedly run afoul of voter registration laws both locally and nationally. Just a few of the headlines in circulation: 

  • “Felony charges filed against 7 in Washington State’s biggest case of voter-registration fraud perpetuated by ACORN” 
  • “Hampton police last week charged Brittany Wyatt and Jessica Lemon, both 18-year-olds working for Community Voters Project, who live in Newport News, with one count of voter fraud” 
  • “Missouri ACORN Voter Fraud Scandal Makes the National News”  
  • “Voter fraud case traced to Defiance County registrations volunteer” 
  • “Pro-Obama Community Organizer Group Involved in (More) Voter Fraud” 
  • “The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has been caught in another voter registration scandal, this time here in Milwaukee” 

Reports are circulating that the recent financial bailout includes a sizeable contribution to the thugs and heavily tax-subsidized fraudsters at ACORN. Under the original bailout proposal, apparently, a large portion of any repayment of the $700 billion would have gone to Barrack Obama’s good friends at ACORN. After being exposed in the national main stream media, legislators in congress have retracted any monies earmarked for ACORN. ACORN is currently is under investigation for its connection to a national voter fraud scam.







Obama’s “Truth Squad” Scares the Opposition by Threatening Lawsuits

Gov. Blunt Statement on Obama Campaign’s Abusive Use of Missouri Law Enforcement

JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt today issued the following statement on news reports that have exposed plans by U.S. Senator Barack Obama to use Missouri law enforcement to threaten and intimidate his critics.

“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.

“Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts – not a free society.”



Will we screw it up again?

Peggy Noonan writing recently for the Wall Street Journal captured the angst that many feel about their presidential choices this year. “Do you worry,” she asked, “that neither of them is up to it? Up to the job in general? Is either Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama actually up to getting us through this and other challenges?”
One contemporary writer, Daniel Finkelstein, in writing about British elections, judges that the British people have got it right 100 percent of the time over the past 80 years. But even he demurs from that judgment when considering the American electorate, speculating that Carter over Ford in 1976 was a big mistake, as was electing Roosevelt to a fourth term in 1944.
So, across the span of more than 50 presidential elections, it is a reasonable conclusion that we do get it wrong sometimes – maybe often as Irving believes, maybe less often as Finkelstein believes. But why do we get it wrong when we do?
There are some clues in those elections that produced failed presidencies, according to the ratings of presidential historians. The scholars’ lists include the Schlesinger Survey (1962), The Murray-Blessing Survey (1982), and more recent surveys like the C-Span Survey (1999) and the Wall Street Journal Poll (2005). Their conclusions vary some. But they all tend to agree who were among the worst presidents produced.

For our purposes, we should exclude lowly rated but unelected presidents, such as Andrew Johnson, from our failed presidents list because voters never had a chance to vote for them in the first place. Similarly it seems fair to exclude presidents who died very early in their terms, such as William Henry Harrison, since they didn’t serve long enough to be evaluated.

This leaves on a list of failures or near failures some eight presidents, including Pierce, Buchanan, Grant, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Nixon, and Benjamin Harrison.

What stands out about this group is that many of them were in office during times of great national challenge – either economic or political. It was huge political challenges that confronted Pierce and Buchanan, who were caught up in the furious national tumult leading to the Civil War. And it was severe economic challenges that confronted presidents like Hoover and Benjamin Harrison, who were laid low by economic crisis during their administrations. In these cases, times of national crisis didn’t necessarily improve the American electorate’s judgment. Or to put it differently, we sometimes make our worst choices at the worst time.

But that still leaves unexplained some failed presidents who were poor choices even in relatively good times. Harding is probably the pure case here, presiding over the country during a time of peace and prosperity. Coolidge might also qualify as a mediocre president in good times and surely so does Grant.

Clearly prevailing national moods influence presidential choice – not always for the best. In some cases turbulent political or social forces may inhibit better candidates from running. In 1856, for example, on the eve of the Civil War, divisive sectional pressures provided voters with no good choices among John Fremont, former president Millard Fillmore, and winner James Buchanan. Similarly Ulysses Grant’s two disastrous terms illustrate how the prevailing national mood can influence voters. Both of his opponents (Horace Greeley and Horatio Seymour) undoubtedly would have made better presidents. But Civil War weariness and Grant’s enormous esteem led voters to a poor choice.

Similar powerful national trends can lead voters astray during times of strong partisan surges against one party. These typically happen when one party has been in power long enough to incur what has been called “the costs of governing.” Voters want a change, and they aren’t always too particular about who it is. The loss of James Cox to Warren Harding may illustrate such a time. According to Irving Stone, “the American people,” in choosing Harding, “achieved the feat of electing the worst president in their entire history by the largest majority in their entire history.”

Finally there is the matter of close elections. When we have them the odds increase that the voters will get it wrong. Two of the candidates Irving labels as “better presidents,” Samuel Tilden and Winfield Scott Hancock, were on the wrong end of very close elections. Tilden, in fact, won the popular vote, and Hancock lost by fewer than 10,000 votes in what is still the closest in American history.

Is there a moral for us in all this? Perhaps!

Certainly V.O Keys was right. Voters are not fools. But as history abundantly reveals, neither are they infallible. The voters who elected Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Roosevelt also elected Buchanan, Grant, Harding, and Nixon. When the American electorate is good, it is very good. But when it is bad, it can be awful. As we approach still another critical election it’s reassuring to recall our genius for most of the time getting it right – but prudent to also remember our bent now and then for getting it wrong.

(Politically Uncorrected is published twice monthly. Dr. G. Terry Madonna is Professor of Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, and Dr. Michael Young is Managing Partner of Michael Young Strategic Research)



Noonan is raising one of the most important questions a democracy can ask itself; yet, it’s a question rarely asked. How do we know for sure which candidate, if either, can get the job done? How frequently do we screw it up?

Biographer Irving Stone thought we often got it wrong. In They Also Ran, which surveyed American presidential elections from 1824 until 1940, he estimated that the better candidate lost almost half of the time. Irving judged that presidents such as Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge were not only poor presidents, but poor presidents who lost to opponents that would have been better presidents.

Not all writers would be as severe as Irving. Modern scholarship, in fact, has determined that voters do a pretty good job most of the time in making voting choices. Fabled political scientist V.O. Key famously declared that “voters are not fools” and few academic studies dispute his observation. According to political scientist Mike Binder, most research on the subject “suggests that by and large voters get it right most of the time. However, most of the time is not all of the time.”

Underestimating Palin

ANCHORAGE — When she appeared for a candidate’s forum in front of a room filled with unionized Alaskan electrical workers during her run for governor in early October 2006, Sarah Palin arrived woefully unprepared. When the union members grilled her on labor policy, Palin faltered. Afterward, a furious Palin berated her staff, recalled two former senior campaign aides who blamed her unwillingness to bone up on workplace issues for the blunder. But just a few weeks later, when Palin jousted with her two main rivals during critical pre-election debates, she was much more at ease. Palin distilled policy questions into simple answers and countered her opponents’ attacks with verbal stiletto thrusts delivered with a sunny smile. When one moderator asked about abortion and pressed about what she would do if her daughter had a child out of wedlock, Palin had a ready answer, defending her anti-abortion stance and deflecting the question toward her male rivals: “I would choose life. And I am confident you will be asking my opponents these same scenarios?”

During Palin’s brief exposure to the high-stakes environment of political debates, she has unnerved both her handlers and her opponents. At times she has been handicapped by her lax approach to learning the nuances of policy and state issues, but she has also projected a Reaganesque ability to offer up concise and to the point answers and charm on camera. “The political landscape here is littered with people who have underestimated Sarah Palin,” said Eric Croft, a former state representative who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006 and appeared with Palin during several early forums. Palin’s split-personality debate persona — mirrored both in her confident speech to the Republican convention in Minneapolis in early September and in a series of wobbly performances in recent television interviews — poses a challenge for her Democratic opponent, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, as each approaches Thursday’s nationally telecast vice presidential debate in St. Louis. Biden could face trouble, Alaskan political observers said, if he takes Palin too lightly. But he also has to take care not to be overly aggressive against a candidate who radiates telegenic appeal. “She has a Reagan-like ability to win over audiences. But for someone who cares about issues and facts, it was rather startling to see her gloss over important questions,” said Andrew Halcro, an Alaska businessman who ran as an independent candidate for governor against Palin.

For its part, Sen. John McCain’s campaign appears to be taking no chances that Palin will prepare properly. It flew her Monday to McCain’s Arizona ranch to cram with a coterie of the presidential candidate’s advisors. As she began her run for governor of Alaska, Palin repeatedly proved difficult to prep for a debate, recalled her two former political aides, who had pivotal roles during her campaign but declined to be identified because of their continuing involvement in Alaska politics. Palin, the former aides said, had a sharply limited attention span for absorbing the facts and policy angles required for all-topics debate preparation. Staffers were rarely able to get her to sit for more than half an hour of background work at a time before her concentration waned, preoccupied by cellphone calls and family affairs. “We were always fighting for her attention,” said one of the aides. In mid-October 2006, Palin’s staffers saw a presage of their worries in the first political forum of the campaign season, an event at Anchorage’s 49 Supper Club, where candidates unveiled their stump speeches before a room filled with political players. The former Wasilla mayor breezed through an upbeat speech about “taking back Alaska,” but struggled during a question-and-answer session. “To her credit she gave a lot of ‘I don’t knows,’ ” one former aide recalled. “But it was clear she didn’t start out with a great range of knowledge about Alaskan affairs.” In the weeks that followed, Palin’s senior campaign aides took care not to let her repeat the dismal performance. “I was always frustrated because 30 minutes before game time, I’d want to say, ‘let’s turn off the phone and lock the door. And please calm down,’ ” one of her former aides recalled.

But as time went on, Palin increasingly managed to zero in on the policy issues set before her during debate preparations, and her comfort level rose dramatically. During two final debates broadcast by Alaska public television and an Anchorage news station, Palin appeared to ace her performances, deftly crystallizing her talking points to voters. “If you can sit her down, she has a talent for listening to a policy presentation that is so boring it would bring tears to your eyes,” the aide said. “Then — boom — she will nail it down to its essence.” Palin often toted index cards when she walked out in front of the cameras, cribbing from them as the cameras swiveled while her rivals took their turns. “She’d carry these cards with her like she was cramming for a test,” Halcro said. Her debate strategists also warned Palin not to stray onto such hot-button topics as creationism and same-sex marriage. On questionnaires sent to social conservative activists, Palin backed “intelligent design” alternatives to the theory of evolution and opposed nontraditional unions. But she managed to avoid those subjects during most of the debates. Palin remained so low-key that even her pollster, David Dittman, confessed that he was unaware of her strong Christian conservative tenets. “I didn’t know what she believed in,” he said. “We never had any discussions about it, and from our polls, Alaska voters had the same impression.”

But by the final key televised debates in late October, Palin had grown used to the format, both her aides and rivals recalled. Still using index cards, she had grown breezily confident in her back-and-forth with Halcro and former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles. Palin had ready answers on tough questions about social concerns such as native needs, abortion and assisted suicide. Sometimes her remarks seemed glib, but she was usually poised and sometimes kicked back at her opponents and her questioners when they took the offensive. Larry Persily, a panelist questioner in the [Alaskan Gubernatorial] campaign’s final televised debate, said Palin flummoxed her rivals “like Muhammad Ali dancing around the ring.” She avoided statements and tough questions that could have impaled her and repeatedly stung at her opponents. And Palin, a former sportscaster, was easily the most comfortable in front of the camera. “She knows television,” said Persily, who participated in other debates and has watched Palin closely for years. “She knows how to look at her interviewer.”

Palin saved her most devastating riposte for the final question of the debate, when Persily asked the three candidates whether they would hire their opponents for a state job. Knowles and Halcro offered halting jokes. But when it was Palin’s turn, she pounced. Smiling at Halcro, who recited reams of statistics by rote, Palin observed that the businessman “would make the most awesome statistician the state could ever look for.” As the debate audience laughed, Palin pivoted to Knowles, who had owned an Anchorage restaurant. “Do they need a chef down in Juneau?” Palin asked, smiling as she turned the verbal knife. “I know Mr. Knowles is really good at that.” Two years on, Halcro and Knowles admit they are still baffled how their mastery of policy and state issues was trumped by Palin’s breezy confidence and feel-good answers. “When you try to prove she doesn’t know anything, you lose, because audiences are enraptured by her,” Halcro said. “And her biting comments give you a sense of how competitive she is. Anybody who doesn’t take her seriously does so at their peril.”

By Stephen Braun and Tom Hamburger, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
1:45 PM PDT, September 30, 2008