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O'Reilly Reports Republican Congressman Darrell Issa's "Breaking" ACORN-Obama Video . . . But Fails to Mention That Parts Of It Were Made Public In 2009

Reported by Julie - February 23, 2010 -

Well, I guess the fact of ACORN's exoneration and reinstatement of funding just wasn't enough. I guess President Obama's past as a community organizer and voter drive organizer with Project Vote will always cause the right to paint him as a subversive. And now -- heavens, according to Bill O'Reilly, a Republican Congressman, Darrell Issa -- with a history of offensive conduct, including telling lies and making feeble defenses against Republican wrongdoing -- has reportedly unearthed a shocking video in which, allegedly, Barack Obama made some complimentary statements about -- and purportedly to -- ACORN members. First of all, this isn't really breaking news. Politifact reported a portion of Obama's statements Issa allegedly just discovered in this tape in September 2009, in a fact-checking response to a misstatement by Karl Rove that President Obama was formerly an attorney for ACORN. And Congressman Darrell Issa as an impeccable source? Get real. With video.

Apparently unhappy at being accused by Rush Limbaugh of being soft, last night (2/22/10) on The Factor, O'Reilly must have felt a new redemptive Obama smear was in order. Kicking it off, he proclaimed, "President Obama has avoided the subject of ACORN ever since that activist group got into a lot of trouble." (No mention by O'Reilly that ACORN got itself out of trouble, as well.) ". . . But there is a new tape recorded in 2007 and discovered by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa's office. The tape is heavily edited, so keep that in mind."

O'Reilly proceeded to roll a series of clips of Barack Obama making random statements, such as, "And you know you've got a friend in me, and I definitely welcome ACORN's input . . . When I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois ACORN was smack-dab in the middle of it . . . Since I've been in the United States Senate I've been always a partner with ACORN as well . . . I've been fighting . . . alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career."

O'Reilly feigned a sort of glumness at having to report this devastating news -- uh, yeah. Barack Obama was a community organizer, and in the trenches of low-income Chicago neighborhoods, he rubbed elbows with ACORN. Barack Obama the Community Organizer ran Project Vote, which had a similar mission as ACORN. And as a lawyer, Barack Obama defended ACORN -- once.

More importantly, as I mentioned, this breaking news -- really isn't. In September 2009, Politifact reported, "When Obama met with ACORN leaders in November 2007, he reminded them of his affinity for ACORN and his time as a Project Vote organizer. Sen. Obama said, 'I come out of a grass roots organizing background. That's what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That's the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran the Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.'" Sound familiar?

So, now that we know at least one segment of the "breaking news" clips was rehashed from something made public quite a while back, O'Reilly would have us believe the rest of it . . . why, again? And, since O'Reilly couldn't be bothered to take this random smear a step further and caution viewers of Issa's lack of historical veracity, I'm forced to do it myself . . . that is, point out that Congressman Issa is a man whose record of untruthfulness and offensive rhetoric rivals that of James O'Keefe and is long and illustrious. From using Tim Russert's wake to make a political pitch, to attempting to deny funding to workers at Ground Zero because the 9/11 terrorist attack didn't involve a "dirty bomb" but "simply an aircraft," to trying to deep-six his own criminal history by blaming his brother, Issa is not exactly a poster boy for integrity. As the Issa "Hall of Shame" notes, it appears that no Republican deed is too dirty for Issa to defend. The flip side of that, apparently, is to use "heavily edited" tape to revive a smear against the President that should have long ago been put to bed, particularly in the wake of ACORN's exoneration.

I've got some "breaking news" of my own: From now on, every time a right-wing smear machine says "breaking news," I'm gonna figure they're just running a five-year-old clip backwards, like the Beatles White Album, and voila -- a story is born anew.