The above video comes from Barack Obama's official presidential website. It's meant as proof that his "present" votes on choice were the right thing to do and supported by Illinois NOW. However, the truth is quite different from what Lorna Brett is saying in the video. How do I know? Just today I've been trading emails with Bonnie Grabenhofer, IL NOW State President. She's pushing back hard on the outright misinformation in Obama's YouTube video, because what Brett is saying in it is evidently pure fabrication.
Below is part of the email Grabenhofer has sent out, which I received via email from readers. I have confirmed with Bonnie that she sent it. She's also very adamant about getting the truth out about Obama's "present" votes, which don't pass the smell test any more than Lorna Brett's video that was made on Obama's behalf.
I thought I'd take a moment to try to add some clarity to the anti-choice Present votes in IL.
Lorna Brett was president of CNOW from 1996-1998. She was not president at the time we were lobbying on these bills. Five of those votes occurred in the 92nd General Assembly session in 2001. NOW records indicate that she hasn't been a member since 1999. She was not there when we were lobbying against these bills. She is using her very old affiliation with NOW to try to validate her criticism of Hillary Clinton.
Voting Present on those bills was a strategy that Illinois NOW did not support. We made it clear at the time that we disagreed with the strategy. We wanted legislators to take a stand against the awful anti-choice bills being put forth. Voting Present doesn't provide a platform from which to show leadership and say with conviction that we support a woman's right to choose and these bills are unacceptable.
The Present strategy was devised to give political cover to legislators in conservative districts. Barack Obama did not represent a conservative district; he could have voted No with very little negative consequence in his district.
- Bonnie Grabenhofer
IL NOW State President
Obama's "present" votes do not explain his willingness to provide cover for conservatives when he was in the Illinois senate, which is his record, at the expense of taking a stand on women's civil rights. Frankly, I could care less what rating Mr. Obama gets from Planned Parenthood or any other group. I care what Obama does when asked to take a stand.
Obama's actions do not match his talk, any more than the video he's been pushing tells the truth. That's because Obama's willingly to reach across the aisle and bring people together, while also offering cover to conservatives, trumped taking a stand on an issue critical to women's civil rights. His let's make a deal style belies the substance at the heart of this issue. It's anything but leadership.