The Politico’s Mike Allen and Ben Smith report today that a questionnaire filled out by then-candidate for state Senate Barack Obama (or his campaign manager) back in 1996 notes some solidly liberal tendencies:
When Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was seeking state office a dozen years ago, he took unabashedly liberal positions: flatly opposed to capital punishment, in support of a federal single-payer health plan, against any restrictions on abortion, and in support of state laws to ban the manufacture, sale and even possession of handguns.
More from the Politico article:
The questionnaire, which was provided to Politico with assistance from political sources opposed to Obama’s presidential campaign, raises questions of whether Obama can be painted as too liberal and whether he is insufficiently consistent.
A week after Politico provided the questionnaire to the Obama campaign for comment, an aide called Monday night to say that Obama had said he did not fill out the form, and provided a contact for his campaign manager at the time, who said she filled it out. It includes first-person comments such as: “I have not previously been a candidate.”
The campaign said his views have been consistent, and points out that his positions have always been more nuanced than can be conveyed in yes-or-no answers.
Obama, who makes an issue of his opponents’ consistency in the presidential race, has tempered many of those 1996 views during his quick rise to the pinnacle of American politics. He now takes less dogmatic positions many of those hot-button issues — in the view of some Democrats, he abandoned the stands as he rose through the ranks.
For instance, Obama says he supports the death penalty in limited circumstances, such as an especially heinous crime. The campaign says Obama has consistently supported the death penalty “in principle” and opposed it “in practice.”
On handguns, his campaign said he has consistently been for “common-sense limits, but not banning” throughout his 11-year political career.
And a revealing new report today in the Politico uncovers a 1996 voter questionnaire that then-state senate candidate Obama filled out that raises questions about “whether he is insufficiently consistent.”
Specifically, the article says that while Obama was previously “flatly opposed to capital punishment, in support of a federal single-payer health plan, against any restrictions on abortion, and in support of state laws to ban the manufacture, sale and even possession of handguns,” he has since been criticized for “abandon[ing] the stands as he rose through the ranks.” The article notes that “Obama, who makes an issue of his opponents’ consistency in the presidential race, has tempered many of those 1996 views during his quick rise to the pinnacle of American politics.”
In response, the Obama campaign has found itself on the defensive about its candidate’s general election viability.
Far be it from me to agree with the Clinton campaign, but in this instance, I do, because this does show an inconsistency on his part from taking clear positions back in 1996 to travelling the “nuanced” route while he’s running for president in 2007. That said, even prior to the campaign season kicking into high gear when he started trying to shift gears to make himself appear more mainstream – Senator Obama had (and in fact still has) a solid and *consistent* liberal Congressional record. So even without that questionnaire, there still should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Senator from Illinois is a staunch liberal.
It should also be noted that there are several issues he has addressed this year in which he’s made his liberal position crystal clear, no nuance needed. A couple of examples:
So 100% consistent or not, no matter which way you slice it, Senator Barack Obama was and is a big government nanny state liberal, and one who has some serious hurdles to jump in the next few weeks if this poll is to be believed. This poll, in which only 1% of Democrats said Oprah’s endorsement of Senator Obama would likely influence them to vote for him, is no doubt troubling to Team Obama, too.
Watch your back, Barack.