Dirty campaign tricks don’t die. They just become more refined with age.
Documents obtained by Townhall show the Democratic Party encouraged party activists to accuse the GOP of intimidating minorities on Election Day even if no evidence of intimidation existed in the 2004 presidential election. The tactic is being used again in 2008, this time to downplay fraud charges against a predominantly minority non-profit supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Weeks before the Nov. 4 election Barack Obama’s campaign said the Republicans are attempting to suppress votes by drawing attention to the Association for Community Organizers for Reform Now’s involvement in rampant voter registration fraud across the nation. The nonprofit actively supports Democratic causes, such as minimum wage increases and housing assistance. ACORN endorsed Obama for president last February and has been paid by his campaign to conduct get out the vote activities during the Democratic primary.
ACORN wasn’t a household name in the last election but documents show Democrats were just as eager to accuse the GOP of treating minorities unfairly in 2004 as they are in 2008.
A nine-page section of 66-page 2004 Kerry Edwards Colorado state Election Day Manual titled “Minority Voter Intimidation” begins: “Over the past twenty years, there have been repeated efforts by the Republican party and Republican Party candidates to harass and intimidate minority voters in an effort to reduce the number of African-American and/or Latino voters.” The manual then instructs Democrats how to look for minority voter intimidation tactics and how to publicize it to the media with special tactics designed for mainstream and specialty press.
Such intimidation tactics might take the forms of “efforts to create longer lines at the polls, targeting in minority communities,” or “slower responses to voting machine breakdowns in minority precincts.”
“If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a ‘pre-emptive strike.’” The manual said this should be done by placing stories in mainstream and specialty press “in which minority leadership expresses concern about the threat of intimidation tactics” and “prime minority leadership to discuss the issue in the media; provide talking points.”
Some of the suggested talking points included lines like “Nothing is more despicable than trying to deprive any American of the previous right to vote, the foundation of our democracy for which so many have sacrificed.”
The 2004 manual said a preemptive strategy was “particularly well-suited to states in which there [sic] tactics have been tried in the past.”
The Democrats’ preemptive strike has been delivered from Barack Obama’s legal team this time around.
Obama’s lawyers are demanding that the Department of Justice to investigate GOP presidential candidate John McCain, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and other Republican politicians because they have drawn attention to ACORN’s fraudulent activities on the campaign trail.
“Agents of the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee have been striking locally at election officials and boards around the country, sowing confusion and seeking through baseless legal maneuvers to discourage and harass voters and impede their exercise of their right to vote,” Obama for America’s General Counsel Robert Bauer said on a conference call with reporters last week.
Obama’s legal team is specifically taking issue with McCain’s remarks that ACORN’s voter registration fraud “threatens the fabric of our Democracy” and Palin’s assessment that there is a “choice between a candidate who won’t disavow a group committing voter fraud and a leader who won’t tolerate voter fraud.”
Bauer made his request for an investigation in a letter to the DOJ that said McCain and Palin were “sensationalizing this message by repeating it at the state and local level in violation of the law to harass voters and impede their exercise of their rights.”
Former Republican Sens. John Danforth of Missouri and Warren Rudman of New Hampshire are chairing an “Honest and Open Elections Committee” on behalf of the McCain campaign to take action against voter fraud. The GOP has asked Obama to participate, but the Democrats have declined.
Bauer said the committee will impede people from voting rather than safeguarding against voter fraud.
“They get a United States senator who's the head of the Republican ticket doing everything he can to make it harder for them to be -- to vote, making it harder for them to get through the lines quickly, making it harder for them to cast their ballot without impediment, without harassment, without humiliation,” Bauer told reporters.