Two weeks ago Cliff Kincaid, president of the conservative group America’s Survival Inc., called a press conference in Washington to challenge the mainstream media to look into the hard-core left-wingers who are known to have influenced Barack Obama -- first as a teenager in Hawaii and later in Chicago. Specifically, Kincaid’s group wants a major news organization to follow up on the investigative work it has done that documents that an elderly black man who mentored Sen. Obama in Hawaii was a lifelong member of the Communist Party USA. Kincaid also would like to see a serious journalistic vetting of Sen. Obama’s relationship with the left-wing radicals in Chicago -- Bill Ayers and others -- who helped Obama launch his political career. I called Kincaid -- whose challenge to the media has yet to be accepted -- on Wednesday, June 4, at his home in southern Maryland.
Q: Can you briefly sum up what you have discovered about Obama’s ideological influences that you say need to be checked out by Big Media?
A: We think all the major candidates should be examined for their ties to foreign and hostile elements. In the case of Obama, he has gotten a very, very favorable press. The media seem reluctant to dig into his background, even though he is relatively new on the political scene. What we discovered, in two different places -- first in Hawaii, where he went to high school, and in Chicago, where he started his political career -- is that he is right in the middle of communist networks. In Hawaii, he was mentored by a member of the Communist Party by the name of Frank Marshall Davis. In Chicago, his career was launched and he was close friends with a number of communists and socialists.
Q: What specifically did your investigation find out about Davis, who Obama calls only “Frank” in his memoir “Dreams from My Father”?
A: What was very disturbing to us was the fact that Barack Obama had covered up the true identity of this “Frank” who played such a role in his life just before he went off to college (in the late 1970s). There are several references in his book to this “Frank.” We discovered that “Frank” was indeed Frank Marshall Davis, who was a member of a Soviet-sponsored communist network on the island of Hawaii. We think Obama should be asked to explain why he didn’t reveal Frank’s true identity in his book. We looked into this and had confirmed by several sources that Frank was indeed Frank Marshall Davis, and that he had a considerable influence on Obama. But we cannot really get a rational explanation of why Obama would cover up the identity of this Stalinist agent.
Q: How do you know for sure Davis was a member of the Communist Party USA?
A: We have several different sources confirming that Frank Marshall Davis was a Communist Party member. We have congressional hearings and investigations. Plus we have those who have written about Davis, including John Edgar Tidwell, who wrote a whole book -- a sympathetic book -- about Davis but discussed his membership in the Communist Party. Davis of course was asked about this when he was called before a Senate committee, but he took the Fifth Amendment rather than discuss it openly. There’s no question that he was a key member of this Moscow-sponsored communist network in Hawaii.
Q: What was the most subversive or most dangerous-to-America thing Davis ever did?
A: Davis was an unrepentant communist. He stayed with the Communist Party even after the Hitler-Stalin pact. That’s why I refer to him as “a Stalinist agent.” Other prominent black Americans who had gotten into the Communist Party had left it. For example, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright got involved in communist activities but then broke with the Communist Party because it had become an apologist for some horrible crimes not only committed by Stalin but by the Soviet system. Yet Frank Marshall Davis stayed with the party and wrote some infamous poems not only defending the Soviet Union but attacking the United States.
Q: Is there anything to lead you to believe that Davis made a concerted effort to indoctrinate Obama?
A: What we know is that Barack Obama’s grandfather introduced Obama to Frank Marshall Davis because Barack Obama needed someone to look up to. Remember, this was a time when Barack Obama’s black father had abandoned his family. Barack Obama’s grandfather thought that Davis would fulfill the role of male role model and mentor -- and that’s the role that he played.
Q: When Barack Obama got to Chicago he came into contact with '60s radicals William Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn. What is most worrisome about their possible influence on Obama?
A: It really begins even before Obama gets to Chicago because according to his book, when he goes to college -- first Occidental College and later Columbia University -- he picks among his friends Marxist professors. Obama himself admits this. He also admits attending socialist conferences. That would suggest the influence that Davis had on Obama extended into his college and university years.
Now when he gets to Chicago, we find that once again he gravitates and comes into the company of the most extreme anti-American elements, including socialists and communists. Keep in mind that the Weather Underground terrorists, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, were communist terrorists. They were not just '60s radicals. These were people who openly supported the communist enemy killing Americans in Vietnam. Some of the members in this group, including Dohrn, had traveled to Havana, Cuba, to get instructions from the communists about how to wage their campaign in the United States.
Q: What was Obama’s relationship with Ayers and Dohrn and how close was it?
A: The big question is whether there is a connection between the communist network in Hawaii that included Frank Marshall Davis and the communist network in Chicago that would also come to include Barack Obama. We know that according to the public evidence that Obama launches his political career in Chicago at the home of Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. Other people who were there include then-state Sen. Alice Palmer and a Dr. Quentin Young. Those two people are almost as significant as Ayers and Dohrn.
We have two reports that state Sen. Palmer had been involved in a Communist Party front group called the U.S Peace Council and had actually made a trip to the old Soviet Union. Dr. Quentin Young had been accused of involvement and membership in the Communist Party, and he refused to answer as well when he was called before a committee to explain his financial support for radicals who were behind the riots in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention back in 1968. So we have got four controversial people launching Obama’s political career in Chicago who were involved in socialist or communist activities.
Q: You are not making the claim that Obama is a communist or a “Manchurian Candidate”-type communist or anything else?
A: We are only raising the questions that the media will not look into. We think the media should examine both candidates. But in the case of Obama, who has only been a U.S. senator for a few years, there is more of a responsibility to inform the public about where he had come from. Remember, as president, he will be entitled to see all of our state secrets. And yet, as a candidate, he doesn’t have to undergo a background or security check. That’s why we depend on the media really to vet these candidates, so the American people can know who they are voting for.
On the question about Obama being a communist or a Marxist, of course we never came to any conclusions about that or offered any evidence one way or the other; that wasn’t our purpose. But it’s important to note that when Obama did run for the Senate in 2004, his opponent at the time, Alan Keyes, had charged that Obama was a Marxist. Obama dismissed it. He almost laughed it off. But he certainly has in my view the responsibility and obligation to explain these associations and why it is that he lands right in the middle of two different communist networks -- one in Hawaii, where he is growing up, and one in Chicago, where he’s launching his political career.
It could be that this is all a coincidence -- that it’s just accidental that he seems to get right in the middle with associations with these anti-American characters. But then again, maybe it’s not an accident. He has to answer some of these concerns and our media have to begin by subjecting him to the scrutiny that they apply to somebody like McCain and other candidates.
Q: Dana Milbank of The Washington Post covered your press conference and wrote a sarcastic piece that said you were engaging in “guilt by association.” What’s your response to that?
A: You know, I asked G. Gordon Liddy when I did his radio show about some of these issues that we are raising. Liddy of course used to be an FBI agent, and he said the FBI would always examine somebody’s associations when they looked at somebody to determine if they were suitable for federal employment. They would look for contacts with foreign countries, foreign individuals, hostile governments and hostile intelligence services. They would look at the question of whether this individual is really loyal to the United States.
We’re asking some of these questions about Obama, and we will continue to ask them, because people like Milbank -- who may not really be a serious journalist -- clearly are not interested. He had made it clear in previous columns that he is a big Obama supporter and there are many like him in the major media, which made our news briefing even more important. We not only have issued our two reports and put them on our Web site, usasurvival.org, but we will be putting up video of the whole press conference so that people can take a look and make their own conclusions and not have to rely on the media to filter what we said.
Q: If you could get Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” to ask Sen. Obama a question about these early influences, what would it be?
A: I think the big question would be, “Why, Sen. Obama, did you cover up the identity of Frank Marshall Davis in your book?” If this had been an innocent association -- if this had just been some guy that Obama came across and realized, “Well, look, he’s just some kind of crazy communist. And, yeah, I had some meeting with him and he gave me advice on various things. But he didn’t have any impact on me. And I went off to college and it had no lasting effect.” That would be one thing.
But that’s not how Obama handled it. Instead he talks about “Frank” as someone who gave him serious advice, including not to believe in the American way of life and that black people had a right to hate white people. These were things according to Obama that Frank told him. Rather than deal with that kind of advice in his book, and analyze the motivations of Frank and identify him by his full name, Obama covers up his true identity. Why?