And his voting record that supports his love for the culture of death.
"I remember the days when Obama was already a rising national star in the Democratic Party and in the Illinois state legislature. And what a disappointment to us he was. He voted "present" instead of "no" on five horrendous anti-women/anti-choice bills." --E-mail from Connecticut NOW attacking Sen. Obama's record on abortion issues.
The National Organization for Women has strongly endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. During the runup to Super Tuesday, a chain e-mail circulated among many NOW members denouncing Obama's record on abortion issues while serving as a state senator in the Illinois legislature. Echoing attacks by the Clinton campaign on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, the e-mails cited his "present" votes on a succession of bills sponsored by anti-abortion activists.
Some analysts credit the earlier attacks on Obama's abortion record with helping to shift the momentum in the New Hampshire primary in favor of Clinton. So what are we to make of these latest e-mails?
Obama has had difficulty explaining some of his 129 "present" votes in the Illinois legislature on issues such as promoting school discipline and prohibiting sex shops near places of worship. In the case of his votes on the anti-abortion legislation, however, he has had a solid alibi. The Illinois branch of the Planned Parenthood organization has given him a "100 percent" pro-choice voting rating and depicted the present votes as part of a previously agreed strategy to provide political cover for other legislators.
Under the rules of the Illinois legislature, a present vote effectively functions as a no vote because only yes votes count toward passage of a bill. Legislators vote "present" rather than "no" for a variety of tactical reasons, including making it more difficult for their political opponents to use their votes against them in campaign advertisements.
"We worked on the 'present' vote strategy with Obama," said Pam Sutherland, chief lobbyist for the Illinois branch of Planned Parenthood, an abortion rights group. "He was willing to vote 'no', and was always going to be a 'no' vote for us."
Sutherland said Planned Parenthood calculated that a 'present' vote by Obama would encourage other senators to cast a similar vote, rather than voting for the legislation. "They were worried about direct mail pieces against them. The more senators voted present, the harder it was to mount an issues campaign against the senator."
Here is a full list of Obama's seven 'present' votes on issues related to abortion:
SB 230 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. Senate approved bill 44-7, with five senators voting present, including Obama.
HB 382 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. House version, passed Illinois State Senate, adopted as law. Under the bill, doctors who perform partial-birth abortions could be sent to prison for one to three years. The woman would not be held liable.
HB 1900 Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Bill passed 38-10, with nine present votes, including Obama.
SB 562 Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Bill passed Senate 39-7, with 11 present votes, including Obama.
SB 1093 Law to protect Liveborn children. Bill passed 34-6, with 12 present, including Obama.
SB 1094 Bill to protect children born as result of induced labor abortion. Bill passed 33-6, with 13 present, including Obama.
SB 1095 Bill defining "born alive" defines "born-alive infant" to include infant "born alive at any stage of development." Bill passed 34-5, with nine present, including Obama.
The president of the Chicago branch of NOW in 1997 was Lorna Brett Howard. A former Clinton supporter, Brett says that she switched last month to backing Obama because she was "enraged" by the attacks by the Clinton camp. She credited Obama with a "100 percent voting record" on "pro-choice" issues.
The current president of Illinois NOW, Bonnie Grabenhofer, issued a statement this week accusing Brett Howard of "misleading people and using her very old affiliation with NOW to help distance Senator Obama from his vote of present on key bills." She said that the Illinois branch of NOW did not support the strategy of voting present, at least as far as the 2001 votes were concerned, and added: "At that time, we made it clear to the legislators that we disagreed with the strategy."
A lobbyist for Illinois NOW, Susan Bramlet Lavin, told me that "we asked our legislators to vote no" on the 2001 bills and never endorsed the Planned Parenthood strategy of voting present. "They were horrible bills, and we wanted no votes," said Bramlet Lavin. She said that Illinois NOW declined to endorse Obama when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004.