20 September, 2008

Despicable Lie

That's the title of a new ad from Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). I'll discuss the ad in a minute, but first some historical perspective.

First, a reminder of what I originally said about Obama and his position on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA).

On a general campaign note, the Obama camp better have a plan for dealing with his stance on the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act. At some point, a 527 is going to release an ad claiming that Obama supports infanticide. It's inevitable. I am sure he doesn't, but hyperbole works in campaign ads, and they don't have to be true to be effective.

If you don't recall, BAIPA is a law designed to protect children who survive abortions. This bill passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate, but was opposed, not once, but four times by Obama while in the Illinois State Senate.

Well, the issue has been mostly kept under wraps by old media, but it has surfaced a time or two. A second ad from a 527 called BornAliveTruth.org on the subject was released last week. This ad features a 31 year old woman named Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor.


The Obama campaign has apparently come up with a response plan. Anyone who brings up his position on this is a liar. He started this back in August:

Well and because they have not been telling the truth. And I hate to say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported - which was to say --that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born - even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade. By the way, we also had a bill, a law already in place in Illinois that insured life saving treatment was given to infants.

Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, his campaign revealed who exactly was the liar the very next day:

Indeed, Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position in the CBN interview on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported "was not the bill that was presented at the state level."

His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate, and a spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said the senator and other lawmakers had concerns that even as worded, the legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law. Those concerns did not exist for the federal bill, because there is no federal abortion law.

In 2005, the campaign noted, a "Born Alive" bill passed the Illinois Legislature after another clause had been added that explicitly stated that the legislation would have no effect on existing state abortion laws.

Told of the campaign's explanation, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, Douglas Johnson, was dubious. "These are newly manufactured and highly implausible excuses," he said. "There is no way that the bill would have had any effect on any method of abortion." Mr. Johnson said the version Mr. Obama voted down clearly applied only to fetuses that emerged from the womb alive.

FactCheck agrees:

But Obama's claim is wrong. In fact, by the time the HHS Committee voted on the bill, it did contain language identical to the federal act.


He told Brody that the federal bill "was not the bill that was presented at the state level." That's technically true; though the "neutrality clause" was identical in the federal and state bills, there were other minor wording differences elsewhere. But the Obama campaign statement says that "Illinois And Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Acts Did Not Include Exactly The Same Language." That's true for the earlier versions that Obama voted against. In the case of SB 1082, as it was amended just before being killed, it’s false.

And the continuation of their dishonest plan? This ad, called "Despicable Lie"


The ad's well titled. I assume the part about "I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message" is true, but I'm not sure any of the rest of it is.

First, given his own campaign antics the last week, calling Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) attacks "the sleaziest ads ever" is "truly vile" on Obama's part.

Second, the ad in question isn't a McCain ad. And Obama knows it.

Third, as has been verified ad nauseum now, Obama did vote against the BAIPA act that passed 98-0 in the U.S. Senate. The ad he's attacking is true. His response is the "despicable lie".

Here's what Obama had to say arguing in opposition to protecting abortion survivors:

“Essentially adding an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision…

Or, as Mona Charen so aptly puts it:

Barack Obama is a charming and intelligent man. But there is no other way to interpret his position on BAIPA than this: A woman who chooses an abortion is entitled to a dead child no matter what. That is an abortion extremist.

As Glenn Reynolds would say, "Ouch."

Gianna Jessen responds:

Mr. Obama is clearly blinded by political ambition given his attack on me this week. All I asked of him was to do the right thing: support medical care and protection for babies who survive abortion – as I did 31 years ago. He voted against such protection and care four times even though the U.S. Senate voted 98-0 in favor of a bill identical to the one Obama opposed. In the words of his own false and misleading ad, his position is downright vile. Mr. Obama said at the recent Saddleback Forum that the question of when babies should get human rights was above his pay grade. Such vacillation and cowardice would have left me to die if his policies were in place when I was born. Thank God they were not.

I'm sure the Obama campaign will respond with yet another despicable lie.

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