As noted, a picture of Obama was published on the cover of the New Party News pamphlet back in 1996, serving as a small sliver of evidence that he had potential ties with the political party. Now, in a new piece for National Review, Stanley Kurtz is claiming that Obama’s ties to the controversial group were extensive — and corroborated — by recently uncovered documents.
It was also in 1996 that Kurtz says Obama formally joined the New Party. Interestingly, this is the same year that he appeared on the cover of the group’s pamphlet.
Recently obtained evidence from the updated records of Illinois ACORN at the Wisconsin Historical Society now definitively establishes that Obama was a member of the New Party. He also signed a “contract” promising to publicly support and associate himself with the New Party while in office.
Minutes from a January 11, 1996 meeting, Kurtz claims, prove Obama’s affiliation with the group. The New Party‘s Chicago Chapter had apparently recorded the president’s extensive involvement, including a purported request that he be endorsed by the movement.
“Barack Obama, candidate for State Senate in the 13th Legislative District, gave a statement to the membership and answered questions,” the minutes read.“He signed the New Party ‘Candidate Contract’ and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.”
Carol Harwell, who managed Obama’s 1996 campaign for the Illinois senate, said:“Barack did not solicit or seek the New Party endorsement for state senator in 1995.” Drawing on her testimony, Fight the Smears conceded that the New Party did support Obama in 1996 but denied that Obama had ever joined, adding that “he was the only candidate on the ballot in his race and never solicited the endorsement.”
We’ve seen that this is false. Obama formally requested New Party endorsement, signed the candidate contract, and joined the party. Is it conceivable that Obama’s own campaign manager could have been unaware of this? The notion is implausible. And the documents make Harwell’s assertion more remarkable still.
The New Party had a front group called Progressive Chicago, whose job was to identify candidates that the New Party and its sympathizers might support. Nearly four years before Obama was endorsed by the New Party, both he and Harwell joined Progressive Chicago and began signing public letters that regularly reported on the group’s meetings. By prominently taking part in Progressive Chicago activities, Obama was effectively soliciting New Party support for his future political career (as was Harwell, on Obama’s behalf). So Harwell’s testimony is doubly false.