On Hannity & Colmes, Alan Colmes questioned David Freddoso's assertion in his new book that Sen. Barack Obama “thr[e]w all of his opponents off the ballot on a technicality, so that those voters have no choice but to elect him. This is precisely how he first won his state Senate seat in 1996.” But Colmes pointed out that the “technicality” that Freddoso described included allegedly forged petitions and signatures reportedly from people who did not live within the district that the Senate seat represented.
In the introduction of his new book The Case Against Barack Obama (Regnery), author David Freddoso asserts that Sen. Barack Obama “thr[e]w all of his opponents off the ballot on a technicality, so that those voters have no choice but to elect him. This is precisely how he first won his state Senate seat in 1996.” But on the August 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Alan Colmes questioned Freddoso's assertion, pointing out that the “technicality” that Freddoso described included allegedly forged petitions and signatures reportedly from people who did not live within the district that the Senate seat represented, as Media Matters for America has noted.
As Media Matters further documented -- and which Colmes also mentioned as an example of a “contradiction” in the book -- on Page 2, Freddoso undermines his own claim of a “technicality” by quoting a 1996 Chicago Weekend article explaining that some of incumbent Sen. Alice Palmer's signatures were disqualified because some voters who signed lived outside the 13th district represented by the Senate seat -- something more than a mere “technicality.” From Page 2 of Freddoso's book:
With that justification, he approved the project, and he checked up on its progress nightly. One by one, Obama's “petitions guru” disqualified Palmer's signatures for one reason or another. According to one local newspaper at the time: “Some of the problems include printing registered voters name [sic] instead of writing, a female voter got married after she registered to vote and signed her maiden name, registered voters signed the petitions but don't live in the 13th district.”
Additionally, the Chicago Tribune reported on April 4, 2007, that one of Obama's opponents, Gha-Is Askia, “now suspects” some of the signatures his campaign collected were forged. Tribune reporter David Mendell wrote in his book Obama: From Promise to Power (Amistad, 2007), that Palmer acknowledged at the time that her signatures had not been properly collected. From Pages 109-110 of Obama: From Promise to Power:
So a volunteer for Obama challenged the legality of her petitions, as well as the legality of petitions from several other candidates in the race. As an elections board hearing on the petitions neared, Palmer realized that Obama had called her hand, and she acknowledged that she had not properly acquired the necessary number of signatures. Many of the voters had printed their names, rather than signing them as the law required.
Freddoso is presumably aware of these facts, as he cites both the April 4, 2007, Chicago Tribune article and Page 109 of Obama: From Promise to Power in the first chapter of his book. On Page 3, Freddoso reproduces a quotation from Askia in the Tribune article:
One of them was Gha-is Askia. He never had much of a chance of winning anyway, but he had gathered 1,899 signatures, and Team Obama took the time to challenge them as well.6 Askia spoke to the Chicago Tribune in 2007 about it:
“Why say you're for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates?” Askia said. “He talks about honor and democracy, but what honor is there in getting rid of every other candidate so you can run scot-free? Why not let the people decide?” 7
From the August 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: Hey, David, let me -- there are some of the issues I have with your book. First of all, in the introduction to the book, and I put up on the screen, you talk about him basically getting everybody else off the ballot when he's running for local office.
FREDDOSO: That's right.
COLMES: You say, “Obama will throw all of his opponents off the ballot on a technicality so that these voters have no choice but to elect him.”
FREDDOSO: That's right.
COLMES: But then you quote, on Page 2 of the book, Chicago Tribune that you mentioned earlier, “Some of the problems include ... registered voters signed the petitions but don't live in the 13th District.”
FREDDOSO: That's true.
COLMES: That would be breaking the law. Another thing from the same Chicago Tribune article that you quote, you talk about Gha-Is Askia, and you quote the Chicago Tribune, that refers to him as “a perennially unsuccessful candidate, acknowledging he paid the Democratic Party workers $5 a sheet, and that they forged signatures.”
And so, on one hand, you're accusing him of forcing people off the ballot, but the Chicago Tribune story that you referenced basically says these people were breaking the law
FREDDOSO: They weren't breaking the law. What --
COLMES: Forging signatures?
FREDDOSO: Well, OK. The signature gatherers who forged signatures were breaking the law. The candidates who were trying to be on the ballot and appear and give the voters the choice weren't breaking the law. And when Senator Obama had them thrown out, he actually went and had his volunteers --
COLMES: Wait a minute. The elections commission did it based on the fact that he was -- that he didn't follow the law.
FREDDOSO: They challenged all the petitions.
FREDDOSO: And what happened was they actually took the time, Obama's volunteers took the time to take -- I think it's fascinating. They took a perennial candidate, a hopeless, no-chance candidate, and they actually took the time to challenge more than a thousand signatures from him.
COLMES: But they also challenged Alice Palmer, who I quoted earlier that you, yourself, according to your own contradiction of the book on Page 2 --
FREDDOSO: How is that a contradiction?
COLMES: Because you say first that he was basically forcing people off the ballot. Then you say -- suggest that he was doing it illegally or underhandedly.
FREDDOSO: I didn't suggest that he did it illegally, Alan, or underhandedly. What I said was --
FREDDOSO: What I said was that the man who campaigns on hope and change and tries to make us less cynical about politics, Alan, is -- is the same guy who won his first election by denying the voters a choice.
COLMES: But it turns out, according to your --
FREDDOSO: It was perfectly legal. He had every right to do what he did, Alan.
COLMES: David, according to your own reporting, they didn't live in the district, these people.
FREDDOSO: Some of them didn't. In some cases there was a woman who -- who signed the petition with her married name, but she was registered to vote under her maiden name. There were a lot of cases where people printed their name instead of signing it. There were a lot of different cases. The petitions may very well have been -- may well have been bad signatures. That's all -- that's all true.
COMES: Which wouldd be illegal.
FREDDOSO: But if you read The Audacity of Hope by Senator Obama, he portrays this election as if he told people you should be less cynical about politics and they loved his speech and they elected him.
COLMES: Anyway, we've got to -- we've got to run, David. Thank you very much for being here tonight.