The conservative activist group Citizens United is reportedly distributing Hype: The Obama Effect, a DVD attacking Sen. Barack Obama, this week in newspapers in Ohio, Nevada, and Florida. The AP quoted Citizens United president David Bossie saying of the film, "We think it's a truthful attack. People can take it anyway they want." But a Media Matters analysis of Hype finds that it contains numerous falsehoods and misrepresentations of Obama's record. Newspapers that distribute the DVD should consider their obligation to provide readers with information that discredits it.
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In an October 28 blog post, Talking Points Memo's Greg Sargent reported that "Citizens United, the conservative group headed by notorious Whitewater scandalmonger David Bossie, is distributing," in newspapers in Ohio, Nevada, and Florida, "hundreds of thousands" of copies of a DVD titled Hype: The Obama Effect, "attacking" Sen. Barack Obama. A Media Matters for America analysis of Hype finds that it contains numerous falsehoods and misrepresentations of Obama's record. Further, Bossie's own integrity is in question -- he was reportedly fired from his position as an investigator for Rep. Dan Burton's (R-IN) House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight in 1998 for his alleged role in the release of selectively edited transcripts of former Clinton administration official Webster Hubbell's prison conversations. At the time the allegations regarding the transcripts surfaced, Bossie's actions drew sharp criticism from members of his own party, as Media Matters noted. On October 29, the Associated Press reported on the distribution of the DVD and quoted Bossie's assertion that "[w]e think it's a truthful attack" and that "[p]eople can take it anyway they want," but gave no indication that it contains numerous instances of misinformation or that Bossie left the House committee amid allegations of deception. According to Sargent's report, newspapers that already have or plan to distribute Hype include The Columbus Dispatch, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), Palm Beach Post and Las Vegas Review-Journal. Newspapers that distribute the DVD should consider their obligation to provide readers with information that discredits it.
Falsehoods and misrepresentations in Hype include the following (listed in the order they appear in the DVD):
FREDDOSO: He [Obama] challenged each and every one of her [then-incumbent Illinois state Sen. Alice Palmer] 1,580 signatures. He challenged all of the 1,899 signatures of another candidate. And then there was yet another candidate. Obama threw all of his opponents off the ballot. That was how he got elected. He was elected to the state Senate by denying voters a choice.
But neither Freddoso nor any other Hype cast member points out that Obama's opponents in the 1996 Democratic primary for Illinois' 13th District were removed from the ballot because they didn't submit the requisite number of legitimate signatures. Indeed, as Media Matters noted, some of Palmer's signatures were reportedly disqualified because they were from voters who lived outside the 13th District, and she reportedly acknowledged at the time that her signatures had not been properly collected. Additionally, another of Obama's opponents, Gha-Is Askia, has reportedly said that he "now suspects" some of the signatures his campaign collected were forged.
Freddoso similarly claims in his book that Obama "thr[ew] all of his opponents off the ballot on a technicality," citing as purported evidence sources that note the ballot issues alleged above, but omitting some information included in those media accounts that undermines his claim.
Further, contrary to Freddoso's suggestion in Hype that Obama's actions were unusual, as Media Matters noted when CNN labeled Obama an "avid student of Chicago-style politics," Sen. John McCain also reportedly challenged signatures on petitions in at least two U.S. Senate races.
Hype's narrator asserts that Obama "exaggerates his role with many bills, including an ethics reform bill that faced little opposition and was handed to him as a favor by his political godfather, state Senator Emil Jones." Shortly thereafter, Freddoso asserts: "There are many cases in politics where conservatives and liberals find common ground, where they come together around issues of reform and good government. And basically every time that happens, Barack Obama's on the other side fighting them."
But contrary to his assertion in the film, in his book, Freddoso cites the 1998 Illinois ethics law that the Hype narrator referenced -- which the Republican-controlled Illinois state Senate passed by a vote of 52-4 -- as a "real accomplishment for Obama in the name of reform." Moreover, in the book, Freddoso characterizes the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which Obama co-sponsored with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), as Obama's "most notable accomplishment in Washington." Freddoso writes that the bill "helped expose to the sunlight the congressional practice of 'earmarking' " and also states: "Coburn and Obama's bill, approved over the objection of some of Capitol Hill's worst porkers, really was a small victory for open government and bipartisanship."
National Journal rankings
In Hype, U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone falsely asserts: "The National Journal ratings are done on the basis of just about every roll-call vote in the Senate, and they rank the senators relative to one another. And the most recent National Journal rating did show Barack Obama as the number-one most liberal senator." In fact, as Media Matters has repeatedly noted, the Journal based its rankings not on "just about every roll-call vote in the Senate" in 2007, but on "99 key Senate votes, selected by NJ reporters and editors, to place every senator on a liberal-to-conservative scale." In contrast, a study by political science professors Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis that used all 388 non-unanimous votes cast in the Senate in 2007 to determine relative ideology placed Obama in a tie with his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, for the ranking of 10th most liberal senator.
Social Security taxes
While the video pans across a photo of a placard reading "Tax Policy Center: Urban Institute and Brookings Institution," the Hype narrator asserts that under an Obama administration, "Critics expect that every family that earns more than $100,000 per year will face a potentially irrevocable change in their tax burden." Fox News political analyst Dick Morris then states: "The top [marginal income tax] rate now is 35 percent, it'll go up to 40. He [Obama] wants to impose Social Security taxes on income above 100,000. Right now it cuts off at 100,000. That's another 12 percent."
In fact, in proposing a higher cap on income that is subject to Social Security taxes, Obama included a "doughnut hole" that exempts income between the current cap of $102,000 and $250,000. Obama stated in a June 13 speech of his Social Security proposal: "We should exempt anyone making under $250,000 from this increase, so it will not burden the middle class. Anybody under $250,000 would not be affected whatsoever. Ninety-seven percent of Americans will see absolutely no change in their taxes under my plan." Indeed, while Hype purported to cite the Tax Policy Center (TPC), the most recent TPC analysis of Obama's tax proposals stated: "We estimated the cost of Senator Obama's proposals assuming that the Social Security proposal would impose a 2 percent income tax surtax on adjusted gross incomes over $250,000 and a 2 percent payroll tax paid by employers on employees' earnings above that threshold."
Moreover, contrary to Hype's suggestion that Obama plans to raise income taxes on those earning "more than $100,000 per year," Obama has proposed raising taxes only on individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,000 per year.
Capital gains tax
Hype shows a clip of ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson's assertion to Obama during the April 16 Democratic presidential debate, "But history shows when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up." Morris also asserts in the film, "There have been three times the capital gains tax has been cut in our recent history. Each time, revenues rose by between 40 and 50 percent, because when the tax rate drops, the velocity of the transactions increases." In fact, notwithstanding a potential short-term revenue increase, numerous economists -- including N. Gregory Mankiw, former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers -- have challenged the assertion that cuts in the capital gains tax raise revenue in the long term. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in June 2006 that the 2006 extension of the 2003 cuts on capital gains taxes would result in decreased revenues of $20 billion over 10 years.
The Hype narrator goes on to assert, "According to The Wall Street Journal, the IRS reported that in 2005, 47 percent of all tax returns that reported capital gains came from households with incomes under $50,000. If you include households with incomes under $100,000, 79 percent of all 2005 tax returns reported capital gains. So, under President Obama, three-quarters of households would have their capital gains taxes double." In fact, Obama has proposed raising taxes -- capital gains and incomes taxes -- only on individuals with incomes of more than $200,000 per year and families with incomes of more than $250,000 per year.
Taxes on small business owners
The Hype narrator asserts, "With the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, every small business in America will get an automatic tax hike, and with a President Obama planning to raise self-employment taxes, two-thirds of the nation's small business income may be taxed at a rate of 50 percent." In fact, less than 2 percent of taxpayers declaring small business income would see a tax increase in 2009 under Obama's plan, according to estimates by the TPC.
Again, Obama has proposed raising taxes only on individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,000 per year. As Media Matters has noted, according to estimates by the TPC, 1.9 percent of tax filers declaring small-business income in 2009 will be in the top two income-tax brackets -- which currently includes all individuals earning more than $160,850 and all families earning more than $195,850.
Additionally, conservative radio host Armstrong Williams asserts in Hype: "[W]hat he [Obama] doesn't understand, it is the small business owner in this country with four or five employees that is the backbone of this country, that need tax breaks, that need the capital gains breaks." In fact, Obama has proposed "tax breaks" for small business owners, including the "Obama Small Business Health Tax Credit," a "refundable credit of up to 50 percent on premiums paid by small businesses on behalf of their employees."
Hype's narrator asserts that "Obama favors what he calls comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship. In other words, some form of amnesty for the 12 to 20 million people who violated U.S. immigration laws." The narrator also says, "According to a Rasmussen poll, just 30 percent of Americans would favor legislation that focused exclusively on legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States." But that polling result is not a response to Obama's position, which is not "focused exclusively on legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States." Indeed, while Obama's "Plan for Immigration" includes "allow[ing] undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens," it also includes "preserv[ing] the integrity of our borders," "cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants," and "do[ing] more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration."
"Centralized government [health care] program"
Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a Townhall.com contributing editor, falsely claims in Hype that, on health care, Obama "says that he's for the -- for families and for the working individual, but then he talks about a centralized government program that hasn't worked in Canada, hasn't worked in England, that has actually taken the freedom from the consumer, and limited the choices." In fact, Obama does not support a "centralized government [health care] program" similar to Canada's or England's; rather, Obama's plan allows individuals to keep their current insurance if they so choose or enroll in either an "approved private plan" or "the new public plan, which will offer benefits similar to what every federal employee and member of Congress gets." According to the Office of Personnel Management, federal employees are able to choose from "the widest selection of health plans in the country." A Q&A released by the Obama campaign says: "His plan will not tell you which doctors to see or what treatments to get. Under the Obama health care plan, you will be able to keep your doctor and your health insurance if you want. No government bureaucrat will second-guess decisions about your care."
As The New York Times reported in a May 3 article, the claim that Obama is "proposing a single-payer, or even a nationalized health care system along the lines of those in countries like Canada and Britain ... is incorrect." Similarly, PolitiFact.com noted that "Obama's plan keeps the free-market health care system intact, particularly employer-based insurance. It is not a goverment-run [sic] program and is very different from the health care systems run by the government in some European countries."
Votes on abortion-related bills
Hype interviews anti-abortion rights activist and WorldNetDaily.com columnist Jill Stanek about Obama's opposition to so-called "born alive" bills during his time as an Illinois state senator. As purported evidence of the necessity for such bills, Stanek alleges that babies born despite attempted abortions were abandoned without treatment in the Illinois hospital where she worked -- including in a soiled utility room. However, as Media Matters has repeatedly documented, when tasked by the Illinois attorney general's office with investigating allegations that infants born alive at the hospital were abandoned without treatment, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reportedly said it was unable to substantiate the allegations but said that if the allegations had proved true, the conduct alleged would have been a violation of existing Illinois law.
In an August 2004 email discussion with Stanek, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn quoted IDPH spokesman Tom Shafer stating: "[W]hat they were alleging were violations of existing law. ... We took (the allegations) very seriously." Zorn further wrote: "Shafer told me that the 1999 investigation reviewed logs, personnel files and medical records. It concluded, 'The allegation that infants were allowed to expire in a utility room could not be substantiated (and) all staff interviewed denied that any infant was ever left alone.' "
MoveOn.org's Petraeus ad
Hype's narrator claims that "[w]hen MoveOn.org attacked General [David] Petraeus, the House and Senate overwhelmingly voted to condemn the effort. Senator Obama did not vote." As Media Matters has documented, Obama did not vote on an amendment by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) that, in the words of the amendment, "repudiate[d] the unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus by the liberal activist group Moveon.org." However, Obama did vote for an amendment offered by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that condemned the MoveOn.org ad, along with other attacks on past and present members of the armed forces.
The Boxer amendment "strongly condemn[ed] attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization." Of the MoveOn.org ad, it stated: "On September 10, 2007, an advertisement in the New York Times was an unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus, who is honorably leading our Armed Forces in Iraq and carrying out the mission assigned to him by the President of the United States." It also criticized Republican-backed attacks on Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) concerning his military service, as well as attacks on former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), a veteran.
Farrakhan and Trumpet Newsmagazine award
Hype's narrator states that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is a "concern" for Obama. As evidence, the narrator states that in "December of 2007, while Senator Obama was still a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, its Trumpet Newsmagazine announced the recipient of its lifetime achievement award." Newsmax.com chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler then states that "Obama kissed it off by saying, 'Well, that award was for Farrakhan's work with ex-offenders.' "
But Obama did not merely refer to "Farrakhan's work with ex-offenders," as Kessler suggested. In his statement, Obama also denounced Farrakhan's "anti-Semitic statements" and said the magazine award "is not a decision with which I agree." From Obama's January 15 statement:
I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.
"Preferential" loan rate
Hype's narrator asserts that it "has recently been revealed by Joe Stephens of The Washington Post that Senator Obama received a preferential rate on his super-jumbo loan for the purchase of their Hyde Park mansion from Northern Trust." But as Media Matters and numerous others noted, the Post article provided no evidence that Obama had received special treatment from Northern Trust. The Politico's Ben Smith wrote, "There's no evidence that they [the Obamas] dealt with the bank through a special side door for powerful people."
While the Post reported that the interest rate the Obamas received was "below the average for such loans at the time in Chicago," Hype does not mention that the article also quoted a Northern Trust vice president saying that "the rates offered to Obama were 'consistent with internal Northern Trust rates at that time.' " As Media Matters noted, the very concept of an "average" rate means that a substantial number of loans would have been made at interest rates below the average level, as well as a substantial number above that level, and does not suggest that rates below average -- if, in fact, the Obamas received a below-average rate -- resulted from preferential treatment. Nor does Hype mention that following the publication of the Post article, Post ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote that the Northern Trust vice president quoted in the article told her that " 'any reasonably savvy borrower should have been able to do better than average. That context was missing' from the story."
Additionally, Columbia Journalism Review's Justin Peters wrote that "there doesn't seem to be much of a story here. ... [T]he end result was a story that raises more questions than it answers. And the questions have more to do with the Post's news judgment than they have to do with Barack Obama."
Huckabee on taxes
Fox News host Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and a 2008 Republican presidential candidate, claims in Hype: "If you want to have more taxes taken out of your check, Obama's your choice." However, as Media Matters has repeatedly documented, Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income taxpayers and raising taxes only on individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,000 per year. Indeed, the TPC -- whose logo appears earlier in the film -- concluded that compared with McCain, "Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers." Additionally, McCain's chief economic policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, reportedly said it is inaccurate to say that "Barack Obama raises taxes."
"Citizen of the World"
In Hype, Jerome Corsi, author of The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, falsely suggests that Obama presented himself only as a "citizen of the world" in a July 24 speech in Berlin. Corsi says: "I sometimes wonder if the world is a big enough environment for Obama's ego. When Obama comes to Europe and proclaims he's a 'citizen of the world,' well, that might in Obama's world be a good thing to say, but I'm not sure that Americans want to elect as president a citizen of the world." Contrary to Corsi's suggestion, however, Obama explicitly said he was a "proud citizen of the United States" as well as a "fellow citizen of the world" in the speech. Obama said: "Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen -- a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world."
As Media Matters has noted, President Ronald Reagan referred to himself similarly in a June 17, 1982, speech to the United Nations General Assembly. Reagan said: "I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world."
Hype's executive producer and cast
As Media Matters has noted, Bossie, the executive producer of Hype and president of Citizens United, was reportedly fired from his position on Burton's House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight in 1998 for his alleged role in releasing selectively edited transcripts of Hubbell's prison conversations. The transcripts had been edited to remove certain comments Hubbell made indicating that Hillary Clinton had done nothing wrong. At the time, The Washington Post reported that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) told Burton: "I'm embarrassed for you, I'm embarrassed for myself, and I'm embarrassed for the [House Republican] conference at the circus that went on at your committee." Media Matters Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert reported on Salon.com that Bossie's alleged tactics in investigating the Clintons had caused controversy as early as 1992, when "President George H.W. Bush, repudiating Bossie's tactics, filed an FEC complaint against Bossie's group after it produced a TV ad inviting voters to call a hot line to hear (almost certainly doctored) tape-recorded conversations between Clinton and Gennifer Flowers."
One of the people appearing in Bossie's film to attack Obama is Corsi, whose Obama Nation was thoroughly debunked and widely discredited by Media Matters, the Obama campaign, various media outlets, and even some conservatives. Corsi -- who has previously made inflammatory comments about Islam, Muslims, and Catholicism -- was reportedly scheduled to promote The Obama Nation on the August 17 edition of The Political Cesspool Radio Show, a radio program described by its own producers as representing "a philosophy that is pro-White." Corsi had appeared on the program in the past, but did not appear on August 17. According to a post on Political Cesspool host James Edwards' blog, Corsi's publicist informed the show that Corsi was canceling his appearance because of a change in his "travel plans." Since the publication of The Obama Nation, Corsi has aggressively promoted (without evidence) several conspiracy theories regarding Obama. For instance, Corsi suggested that the true purpose of Obama's recent trip to Hawaii was not to visit his ailing grandmother, but to address rumors -- widely debunked -- that Obama has failed to produce a valid U.S. birth certificate. Additionally, Corsi baselessly blamed his detention and deportation by Kenyan authorities on Obama.
As Media Matters has documented, Stanek, who also appears in Hype, has suggested that domestic violence is acceptable against women who have abortions; supported billboards in Tanzania with the words "Faithful Condom User" next to a picture of a large skeleton, which aimed to discourage condom use there in favor of abstinence and "be[ing] faithful"; and cited a report that "aborted fetuses are much sought after delicacies" in China. In a blog post about that report, Stanek said, "I think this stuff is happening." Stanek has also repeatedly made the false claim that Obama "supports infanticide."
From Hype: The Obama Effect:
NARRATOR: Frustrated with the lack of change, the young organizer decided a law degree was the way to make change. When that didn't work out the way he'd hoped, he decided he needed a more influential platform to really make changes.
FORMER STATE SEN. STEVE RAUSCHENBERGER: The first time I met Barack Obama was at a fundraiser for the senator that he replaced, Senator Alice Palmer, who, while I was there, she introduced to the crowd there her likely successor, Barack Obama, this law lecturer from the University of Chicago.
NARRATOR: Alice Palmer groomed Barack Obama to take her place in the Illinois state Senate when she ran for Congress. However, when she lost her congressional bid, Palmer assumed that her protégé would step aside and let her run for her old seat. Though a staunch ally to this point, Obama followed self-interest in true [Saul] Alinsky style.
RAUSCHENBERGER: Alice filed to rerun in her state Senate seat, and, interestingly, Barack challenged her petitions.
FREDDOSO: He challenged each and every one of her 1,580 signatures. He challenged all of the 1,899 signatures of another candidate. And then there was yet another candidate. Obama threw all of his opponents off the ballot. That was how he got elected. He was elected to the state Senate by denying voters a choice.
NARRATOR: Senator Obama exaggerates his role with many bills, including an ethics reform bill that faced little opposition and was handed to him as a favor by his political godfather, state Senator Emil Jones. Additionally, Jones took racial-profiling and videotaped-confession legislation from the bills' original sponsors and gave them to Obama, who today enjoys all the credit, having done little of the work.
FREDDOSO: There are many cases in politics where conservatives and liberals find common ground, where they come together around issues of reform and good government. And basically every time that happens, Barack Obama's on the other side fighting them.
NARRATOR: The hype of the Obama campaign wants us to believe that Chicago made the junior senator a man of the people. When you look past the crowds and applause, who are the people, and what are the politics Senator Obama stands for?
OBAMA: I am somebody who is no doubt progressive.
BARONE: The National Journal ratings are done on the basis of just about every roll-call vote in the Senate, and they rank the senators relative to one another. And the most recent National Journal ratings did show Barack Obama as the number-one most liberal senator.
BLACKWELL: And that puts him to the left of the only proclaimed socialist in the Senate, puts him to the left of [Sen.] Teddy Kennedy [D-MA]. His agenda is trans-liberal. It is radical.
NARRATOR: A President Obama may affect more people more drastically on one issue more than any other: taxes. Critics expect that every family that earns more than $100,000 per year will face a potentially irrevocable change in their tax burden.
MORRIS: The top rate now is 35 percent; it'll go up to 40. He wants to impose Social Security taxes on income above 100,000. Right now, it cuts off at 100,000. That's another 12 percent. And then, you have the Medicare tax that's 2.5 percent, and you have state and local taxes that are 7 or 8 percent, but they're deductible, so figure they're 5. So you add them up -- 40 and 12 and 3 and 5: 60. And that's a fundamental change.
HUCKABEE: It's essentially a redistribution of wealth from people who have earned it to people who haven't.
GIBSON: You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. In the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?
OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.
MORRIS: There have been three times the capital gains tax has been cut in our recent history. Each time, revenues rose by between 40 and 50 percent, because when the tax rate drops, the velocity of the transactions increases. More people sell, more people buy, and more people are paying the lower tax, and the revenues swell.
GIBSON: But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.
OBAMA: Well, that might happen or it might not.
MORRIS: The one time they actually raised the capital gains tax, the revenues fell by $50 billion.
OBAMA: Well, that might happen or it might not.
MORRIS: In fact, the biggest single thing that Bill Clinton did to balance the federal budget was to cut the capital gains tax.
NARRATOR: According to The Wall Street Journal, the IRS reported that in 2005, 47 percent of all tax returns that reported capital gains came from households with incomes under $50,000. If you include households with incomes under $100,000, 79 percent of all 2005 tax returns reported capital gains. So, under President Obama, three-quarters of households would have their capital gains taxes double.
WILLIAMS: He has such a disdain for the wealthy class and people who create wealth and entrepreneurs in this country. He seems to think in order to help the poor, you got to take from the so-called rich. But what he doesn't understand, it is the small business owner in this country with four or five employees that is the backbone of this country, that need tax breaks, that need the capital gains breaks.
REV. JOE WATKINS (MSNBC political analyst and Republican strategist): Why would you penalize 100 million investors in the market? Why would you penalize all those men and women who've taken a risk to start a business and to succeed? Why would you penalize them? Senator Obama has said that he would increase the rate of tax on capital gains from 15 percent to 28 percent. That would nearly double it. That's a massive disincentive for people to invest and to succeed.
NARRATOR: With the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, every small business in America will get an automatic tax hike, and with a President Obama planning to raise self-employment taxes, two-thirds of the nation's small business income may be taxed at a rate of 50 percent, according to Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
NARRATOR: In addition to a liberal ideology on taxes, when you get past the hype, Senator Obama's position on illegal immigration would result in change most Americans oppose. Obama favors what he calls comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship. In other words, some form of amnesty for the 12 to 20 million people who violated U.S. immigration laws.
WILLIAMS: His position on immigration, just like all these Democrats, is just outrageous, because they are totally out of touch with the American people.
NARRATOR: According to a Rasmussen poll, just 30 percent of Americans would favor legislation that focused exclusively on legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States.
WOLF BLITZER (host of CNN's The Situation Room): Do you support driver's licenses for illegal immigrants? Senator Obama, yes or no?
OBAMA: Yes, but --
BLITZER: Yes. OK.
OBAMA: I am going to be fighting for comprehensive immigration reform.
BLACKWELL: He says that he's for the -- for families and the working individual, but then he talks about a centralized government program that hasn't worked in Canada, hasn't worked in England, that has actually taken the freedom from the consumer, and limited the choices, and actually taken the quality of medical care downward.
NARRATOR: Just as Senator Obama's liberal agenda pitted him against many Californians, his far-left politics and policies often pit him against many Americans. Nowhere is this more evident than his position on life.
OBAMA: Change is a slogan. [break] Change will take time. [break] But change we can believe in.
STANEK: I got my nursing degree when I was in my mid-30s. I applied to work at only one hospital, Christ Hospital on the southwest side of Chicago. I came to work one night, and I heard in report that we were aborting a second-trimester baby that night who had Down syndrome. I found out that the method of abortion is called induced-labor abortion, and this method of abortion sometimes results in babies being aborted alive. When a nursing co-worker told me that the baby had lived, and that she was taking the baby to our soiled utility room to die because his parents didn't want to hold him and she didn't have time to hold him that night -- and when she told me what she was doing, I couldn't bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone, and so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived.
And I remember toward the end of his life, I couldn't tell if he was alive or not unless I held him up against the light to see if I could see his heart beating through his chest wall, because their skin is so thin at that age. And after he was pronounced dead, we crossed his little arms across his chest and tied them together with a little string, and we took him to the morgue, where we took all of our other dead patients. I was instantly catapulted into becoming a pro-life activist. We approached state Senator Patrick O'Malley, who was, coincidentally, a board member at Christ Hospital.
NARRATOR: Having staked out his Iraq position to the pleasure of the far left, during the ABC debate, Senator Obama showed the disregard -- bordering on arrogance -- that he has for the experience and expertise of our military.
GIBSON: So you'd give the same rock-hard pledge, that no matter what the military commanders said, you would give the order, bring them home?
OBAMA: Because the commander in chief sets the mission, Charlie. That's not the role of the generals.
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA): There's a lot at stake there, and the idea that you have a person running for president who has already made a political statement that he's gonna leave the battlefield no matter what, I think gives people that wear the uniform a reason to conclude that he doesn't have the judgment that it takes to be commander in chief.
NARRATOR: When MoveOn.org attacked General Petraeus, the House and Senate overwhelmingly voted to condemn the effort. Senator Obama did not vote.
NARRATOR: Not only are Reverend Wright and Father [Michael] Pfleger a concern for Senator Obama, so is Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
KESSLER: But the most shocking thing is the award for lifetime achievement.
NARRATOR: In December of 2007, while Senator Obama was still a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, its Trumpet Newsmagazine announced the recipient of its lifetime achievement award.
KESSLER: And Barack Obama kissed it off by saying, "Well, that award was for Farrakhan's work with ex-offenders." Now, that was a total lie. The article and the presentation never mentioned ex-offenders. But rather, it was for lifetime achievements.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has been called one of the most misunderstood and misdefined leaders of our day. The Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. infers that when Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks, black America listens.
WRIGHT: He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century, that's what I think about him. I said, as I said on Bill Moyers, when Louis Farrakhan speaks, it's like E.F. Hutton speaks. All black America listens.
NARRATOR: However, when Minister Farrakhan speaks, often this is what people hear.
FARRAKHAN: White folks, you're gonna have to give us the whole damn country. [break] We don't give a damn about no white-man law when you attack what we love. [break] You are not real Jews, those of you that are not real Jews. You are the synagogue of Satan. [break] Yes, they exercise extraordinary control. [break] Calling someone "hymie" is not an action against Jewish people. [break] And black people will never be free in this country until they are free of that kind of control.
NARRATOR: Minister Farrakhan saved his praise for Senator Obama.
FARRAKHAN: He's fresh. He doesn't come with a lot of the baggage. [break] Whether you are broad enough to open your eyes, this young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better because a better man may become her leader.
NARRATOR: But Senator Obama was quick to distance himself from Farrakhan.
OBAMA: I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought, and we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.
TIM RUSSERT (former host of NBC's Meet the Press): Do you reject his support?
OBAMA: Well, Tim, you know, I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy.
NARRATOR: Minister Farrakhan is one of the most controversial voices in America, and is certainly a major force in Senator Obama's Hyde Park neighborhood and surrounding district. Obama and Minister Farrakhan live within walking distance of each other. Senator Obama and Reverend Wright both attended the Nation of Islam's Million Man March, and yet, the media has never bothered to ask Obama about the existence of any past relationship between the two men, even in the wake of Farrakhan's endorsement of Obama.
NARRATOR: It has recently been revealed by Joe Stephens of The Washington Post that Senator Obama received a preferential rate on his super-jumbo loan for the purchase of their Hyde Park mansion from Northern Trust. ABC News' Jake Tapper commented: "Again, the Obama campaign seems to handle these things by closing their eyes, holding their breath, and hoping a starstruck media will leave it at that."
FREDDOSO: The land deal is such a red flag. It's just no one is looking at what's under that red flag.
NARRATOR: Unity. Hope. Change. A campaign filled with promises and expectations, fueled by hype. Is there a smoking gun hidden in Senator Obama's history? That is a question we can leave to the blogosphere. We don't need a smoking gun. We don't need to fear skeletons in the closet, because beyond the hype, there are clear facts that answer any question we need to know about Senator Obama.
HUCKABEE: If you want to have more taxes taken out of your check, Obama's your choice. If you want the government to be more in charge of things like your health care, where your kids go to school, and, you know, what kind of programs that we'll end up paying for, Obama's your guy.
CORSI: I sometimes wonder if the world is a big enough environment for Obama's ego. When Obama comes to Europe and proclaims he's a "citizen of the world," well, that might in Obama's world be a good thing to say, but I'm not sure that Americans want to elect as president a citizen of the world.