Entries in PPresident Obama (2)


Is Foreign Money Behind U.S. Chamber of Commerce Ads?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- To many Democrats, the accusation by President Obama and other party leaders that foreign money might be bankrolling some pro-Republican political attack ads sounds both compelling and ominous -- but is it fair?

"We learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources," President Obama said last week, referring to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the second biggest spender in the midterm elections, behind only the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

A Democratic National Committee TV ad warns conservative third-party groups like the Chamber are "stealing our democracy" and spending millions in "secret foreign money to influence our elections."

An ad by the liberal group asks, "Where has the Chamber been getting some of their money lately?  From foreign corporations in countries like China, Russia and India -- the same companies that threaten American jobs."

Yet while Obama is trying to tie Republicans and some of their backers to the specter of foreign interference in U.S. elections, an examination of the evidence provides little support for the claims.

"We have no idea if the Chamber or any 501(c) organization as defined by the IRS code is taking foreign money for the purposes of playing politics," said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics. "Saying that that foreign money is actually going toward attack ads or any type of messaging in the political realm, you just don't know. It's speculation and nothing more."

Some funding for the Chamber of Commerce does come from foreign companies and foreign-based Chamber affiliates (called "AmShams") similar in operations of some international nonprofit groups and labor unions.

Chamber of Commerce director of media relations J.P. Fielder said that money goes to the group's general fund and then to the international division, keeping it away from any political activities.

"No foreign money is used to fund our political activities," the Chamber said in a statement, citing the rules established by Congress more than a century ago.

"We are seeing an attempt to demonize specific groups and distract Americans from a failed economic agenda," said the Chamber's vice president for government affairs Bruce Josten of the charges.

"They have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie," said Republican strategist Karl Rove of the claims.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obama Takes the Search for the Youth Vote to MTV 

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- Hoping to appeal to the MTV generation, those young voters who he’s fighting hard to bring out to the voting booths in November, President Obama will host a youth town hall special on MTV next week.

Dubbed “A Conversation with President Obama” the town hall on Oct. 14 will bring the president before 250 young people that MTV says is a “broad cross-section of backgrounds, interests and political viewpoints,” who will ask questions of the president and over Twitter.

The show will be hosted by MTV personality Sway Calloway, BET’s April Woodard, and CMT’s Katie Cook.

Facing a perceived enthusiasm gap, especially among young voters, the president has recently increased his appearances at events tailored to get out the vote and reawaken the movement that led in part to his 2008 presidential win.

On Sunday, the president will appear at another “Moving America Forward” rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with musical guests The Roots and next Tuesday he will participate in a “Commit to Vote” tele-town hall with the DNC to drum up young voters.

Next week’s events also come on the heels of President Obama’s rally in Madison, Wisconsin last week which drew 17,000 young voters.

There, the president argued that young voters need to come out in the polls to show they are not apathetic.

“if everybody who fought for change in 2008 shows up to vote in 2010, we will win.  We will win," he said. "The polls say the same thing. We will win."

And, what about the “youth vote” that Democrats were trying to re-inspire?  ABC News reports not so much.  Just 53% of 18-29 year old voters say they are certain to vote compared to 80 percent of those 65 years and older and 81 percent among those 50-64 years old.

Why does this matter to Democrats?   Walter reports, “Among younger voters, Obama’s approval rating is 58 percent; among the oldest group of voters it’s just 46 percent.  More important, when asked who they’d support in 2010, younger voters give Democrats an advantage (albeit a narrow one) of 51-47 percent.  Those 65 and older give Republicans a 51-44 percent advantage.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio