Obama’s Campaign Caught Misleading Voters About 1996 Questionnaire

So here’s the deal. Originally Obama said he “never saw the questionnaire” filled out for him back in 1996 when running for state senate. The survey contained very liberal positions on major issues of the time facing the campaign. Well, fast-forward to 2008 and it now turns out Obama may have personally filled out some of the survey in his own writing. It’s becoming a question of whether he lied about never seeing the survey in the first place.

Story comes from The Politico:

During his first run for elected office, Barack Obama played a greater role than his aides now acknowledge in crafting liberal stands on gun control, the death penalty and abortion — positions that appear at odds with the more moderate image he has projected during his presidential campaign.

The evidence comes from an amended version of an Illinois voter group’s detailed questionnaire, filed under his name during his 1996 bid for a state Senate seat.

Late last year, in response to a Politico story about Obama’s answers to the original questionnaire, his aides said he “never saw or approved” the questionnaire.

They asserted the responses were filled out by a campaign aide who “unintentionally mischaracterize[d] his position.”

But a Politico examination determined that Obama was actually interviewed about the issues on the questionnaire by the liberal Chicago nonprofit group that issued it. And it found that Obama — the day after sitting for the interview — filed an amended version of the questionnaire, which appears to contain Obama’s own handwritten notes added to one answer.

Also, here’s a video report on it from Fox News:

I’d say most Democratic voters won’t be turned off by anything like this since they agree with most of the positions.

Obama’s camp has responded to this story:

“Sen. Obama didn’t fill out these state Senate questionnaires — a staffer did — and there are several answers that didn’t reflect his views then or now,” Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama’s campaign, said in an e-mailed statement. “He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire at the meeting, but that doesn’t change the fact that some answers didn’t reflect his views. His 11 years in public office do.”

Here’s a bit of the content contained in the questionnaire:

Consider the question of whether minors should be required to get parental consent — or at least notify their parents — before having abortion.

The first version of Obama’s questionnaire responds with a simple “No.”

The amended version, though, answers less stridently: “Depends on how young — possibly for extremely young teens, i.e., 12- or 13-year-olds.”

By 2004, when his campaign filled out a similar questionnaire for the IVI-IPO during his campaign for U.S. Senate, the answer to a similar question contained still more nuance, but also more precision. “I would oppose any legislation that does not include a bypass provision for minors who have been victims of, or have reason to fear, physical or sexual abuse,” he wrote.

Hear that sound? It’s the sound of the Republican National Committee digging out the 2004 “flip-flop” charges they levied against John Kerry. Karl Rove was on Hannity & Colmes earlier basically asserting that exact strategy. It hurt Kerry quite a bit and this will all depend on how well Obama’s campaign can explain the inconsistencies.

I’ve heard supporters painting it more as a “evolving” senator who doesn’t hold some of those liberal positions now. Still, the question wasn’t the positions, it’s whether Obama lied about knowing the content of the survey to begin with.

It either matters or it doesn’t to voters, it’s that simple.