The Obama re-election campaign is struggling to limit the damage from a five-day bender by surrogates who contributed to what is now being termed “Obama’s War on Women.”
“It’s times like this that make you wonder if it isn’t an effort to sabotage us from within,” quipped a Democratic National Committee media consultant. “Better to get it out of the system now, than when it really matters six months from now.”
It started last week when Democrat Party and Obama White House surrogate Hilary Rosen — she of the million-dollar annual income and full-time nanny and housekeeper — attacked the decision of wife of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, to work full-time at home to raise the couple’s children. The comments on CNN forced virtually the entire senior staff of Obama’s re-election campaign to disavow Rosen and her comments, even though up until then, she was an active Obama surrogate, receiving daily campaign “messages of the day” and talking points.
Then members of President Obama’s Secret Service team were caught up in a prostitution scandal running up to the President’s arrival in Colombia, a country where prostitution is “legal” in some government-managed “zones,” but where impoverished young women are often forced into prostituting themselves in a life akin to sexual slavery.
Finally, over the weekend, Obama acolyte and 2008 campaign surrogate, “comedienne” Sarah Silverman posted online purported — and later debunked — pre- and post-abortion photos of herself. “Got a quickie aborsh in case R v W gets overturned,” she wrote.
Silverman famously launched the “Great Schlep” in 2008 to encourage grandchildren and great grandchildren to persuade their elders to vote for Obama. The Obama campaign embraced the comedienne. In fact, First Lady Michelle Obama recently touted Silverman efforts on fundraising stops to garner support from voters 65 and over.
Smart Alecks vs. ALEC
Look for conservative leaders and coalitions to launch a strong defense this week for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has been under assault from the leftist organization founded by disgraced White House environmental aide Van Jones, Color of Change. In the past several weeks, ALEC has lost high-profile corporate members, such as Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Pepsi, and closely held Mars. But few people have bothered to look at the organization that claims to be leading the protest, Color of Change.
Initially the Color of Change campaign against ALEC was grounded in a PR stunt tied to the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, where the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law was in-part blamed for enabling the shooting death of the African-American teenager. ALEC, which boasts the largest national membership of state legislators, was tied to the Florida law because a state legislator and ALEC member introduced the legislation in the Florida legislature. After its passage, legislators from other states asked to see draft copies of the bill so that they might introduce similar bills in their states. To date, more than 20 states offer some form of a “Stand Your Ground” law, but beyond making “model” versions of the bills available to its members upon request, ALEC has no direct ties to the legislation, nor does it lobby on the state or federal level for such policies.
Now Color of Change has shifted its campaign, and is instead focusing on ALEC and its state legislator members’ support of laws requiring voters to provide some form of verifiable identification when voting.
That issue is much more in line with the semi-obscure group’s heritage under its notorious founder, Van Jones, who moved into the Obama White House as a senior policy adviser on environmental issues, and was forced to resign early in the administration when his comments and activities — as head of Color of Change, among other organizations — received broader coverage.
Among Jones’ more incendiary claims: that the U.S. government deliberately allowed 9/11 to occur. Color of Change also had ties with another Jones-founded organization, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), which claimed to support racial insurrection. Color of Change members also were active in supporting Pennsylvania death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of shooting a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. Color of Change claims it took root post-Hurricane Katrina, charging the Bush Administration with racism for what it claimed was an intentional lack of response to the devastation — what’s been touted as “Katrina’s Hidden Race War.”
After Jones’ exit, the group was run by a former senior MoveOn.org staffer, but in the past two years, the organization has undergone a radical transformation, though the former MoveOn staffer, James Rucker, now serves on the Color of Change board of directors.
Today, the group is run by Rashad Robinson, a former senior administrator of the Gay, Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), who is well known in Democrat party circles for his online activism acumen, and who in the past has coordinated campaigns with the cooperation of the National Democratic Committee, as well as other Obama Administration surrogate groups in labor and “community activism.”
Color of Change has not been particularly well-funded in the past, though through its online campaigns against the likes of Glenn Beck, it has increased fundraising, and reportedly has been using its latest campaign against ALEC to seek private meetings with senior corporate executives of companies that have been members of ALEC to persuade them not only to quit the largely state-based legislator organization, but to provide funding to Color of Change programming.
“They are taking a page from Jesse Jackson,” says a former executive of Pepsi, one of the companies that dropped its ALEC membership earlier this year. “Shame a company or pressure it, and then try to get that same company to sign on to Color of Change as an underwriter or supporter.”
Other senior leadership of Color Change includes its media director, Dani McClain, who gained notoriety as a communications staffer at the radical George Soros-backed Drug Policy Alliance, and its community relations specialist, Natasha Simpson, who signed on to Color of Change after working at the Journal of Homosexuality and the Women of Color Resource Center.
One of the more prominent financial donors to Color of Change is the Media Democracy Fund, which funded Color of Change’s campaigns in support of Net Neutrality and against the AT&T-T-Mobile merger. The fund is made up of about 15 to 20 high-profile left-wing charitable foundations that pool their money via the well-known left-wing Proteus Fund.