As Paul MIrengoff notes in his comments on last night’s debate, Barack Obama made a number of mystifying comments about his own record. He seems to have denied that he launched his political career in Bill Ayers’s living room:
MCCAIN: Well, again, while you were on the board of the Woods Foundation, you and Mr. Ayers, together, you sent $230,000 to ACORN. So — and you launched your political campaign in Mr. Ayers’ living room.
OBAMA: That’s absolutely not true.
MCCAIN: And the facts are facts and records are records.
OBAMA: And that’s not the facts.
But when Obama chose to run for Alice Palmer’s seat in the Illinois legislature, he in fact appeared at an event hosted by Ayers and Dohrn in their Hyde Park home. Obama’s denial is nothing more than quibbling with the facts, as Lynn Sweet does here.
On the subject of charter schools, it’s even more difficult to construe Obama’s comments: “Charter schools, I doubled the number of charter schools in Illinois despite some reservations from teachers unions.”
I thought I must have heard this wrong last night and waited to check the debate transcript this morning. Doing a quick Google search durng the debate, I found that Obama had proposed to double federal funding for charter schools. I thought that must be what he said.
But no. I heard it right (as Paul did). What was he talking about? Lynn Sweet has posted the Obama campaign’s account of Obama’s bipartisan accomplishments:
Obama Passed A Bill To Double Charter Schools In Chicago; The Bill Was Sponsored By Members Of Both Parties. In 2003, Obama was the co-sponsor of collective bargaining bill requiring Chicago Board of Education to enter into a partnership agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union regarding advancing student achievement and “authorizing an increase in the number of Chicago charter schools to 30 from 15.” [Chicago Defender, 4/9/03; 93rd GA, SB 0019, 2/6/3, 3R P; 55-0-0, PA 93-0003, 4/16/03].
So Obama “doubled charter schools in Illinois” in that he got his name placed on a bill that required the Chicago Board of Education to enter into a partnership agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union (which the teachers’ union, according to Obama, supposedly opposed?). Barack Obama must be quite confident that if he can sound sufficiently soothing, no one will care enough to pay much attention at this point.
JOHN adds: Well put. At this stage of the campaign, sounding soothing is just about Obama’s sole objective. We didn’t know it when the campaign started, but it’s turned out that this is one of those races where all Obama has to do is not fall out of the chariot. To his credit, Obama seemed to realize that fact before just about anyone else and has run his campaign accordingly.
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