I hate to put a damper on the day's firestorm on the right over a White House staffer, but an American Spectator report making the rounds this morning that White House political director Patrick Gaspard used to work for ACORN in New York just isn't true.But Matthew Vadum responds, "The Politico Gets Played By ACORN":
The Politico's Ben Smith is a living case study showing what happens when sincere, well-meaning journalists write about something they do not understand.Read the whole thing, at the link.
ACORN, quite predictably, claims Patrick Gaspard who is now an extremely close advisor to President Obama, didn't work for it.
Smith just got played by ACORN -- big time.
The White House has denied that Gaspard worked for ACORN.
And conveniently, Wade Rathke, the ACORN founder, who was forced out following his brother Dale Rathke's embezzlement scandal, has updated a blog post to deny that Gaspard was employed by ACORN:
My “friends” on the right seem to be using me as a source for an attack at yet another new target: Patrick Gaspard, political director at the White House.Hmm. "Dropped a stitch"? That's a good one.
I have huge admiration for Patrick and have enjoyed my dealings with him over the years. In almost 1400 blogs I’ve done, sometimes I don’t get it right, call it a senior moment or whatever it might be, but reading the blogsphere with me as a source took me back searching for whether or not I could be causing a problem here inadvertently. Patrick was never on the staff of ACORN. I double checked with people I still know there, and it appears that I dropped a stitch there. Hopefully my misstatement won’t lead to the White House throwing him in front of the bus in this rush to neo-McCarthyism that has become so prominent. In this case, my memory tricked me. I’m glad to carry the weight and simply say I made a mistake, and damned if I’m not sorry and hope no damage is done to a good man doing a hard job.
But notice this damning revision, from Rathke's May 16th post "SEIU's Good Obama Bet":
Furthermore this is big time stuff not just petty backroom deals and the Obama administration is getting way more than a bang for its buck in the partnership as well. The big news this week at the centerpiece of saving the Obama health care reform initiative was the announcement by some of the big healthcare operators that they would deliver MEGA-SAVINGS to help make the health care reform happen. Not surprisingly Andy Stern was there along with Dennis Rivera, head of SEIU’s health care division, and they were the only labor leaders there for good reason. Buried in the story in the New York Times lead report that day was the following sentence: “Dennis Rivera, coordinator of the health care campaign of the Service Employees International Union, led efforts to bring the industry groups together, with help from Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform.” Dennis delivered for SEIU and the White House in only the way that he can. Tell me that 1199’s former political director, Patrick Gaspard (EDIT: This line used to contain a reference to Patrick Gaspard working for NY ACORN. This is untrue, he never worked for ACORN. To see Wade’s correction: http://tinyurl.com/y9bscr8) didn’t reach out from the White House and help make that happen, and I’ll tell you to take some remedial classes in “politics 101.”That tiny url (in italics) takes you back to the post cited above with the italicized block quote, as seen originally at Rathke's page ("Getting Leveraged on Heath Care"). The "1199" is SEIU Local 1199. It is cited by CEO Bertha Lewis, in a letter to the Nation co-authored with Patrick Gaspard, as an ACORN-affiliated local union. See, "Run WFP Run! Run WFP Run!":
Doug Ireland's offhand comments about the Working Families Party's role in the upcoming municipal elections in New York City were inaccurate and hurtful ....Matthew Vadum has quoted the entire letter at his piece, "The Politico Gets Played By ACORN" (in case of some memory-hole action).
Speaking for two affiliates of the WFP -- ACORN and SEIU/1199 -- I say that this is dead wrong.
See also Stanley Kurtz's post from yesterday, "Patrick Gaspard, ACORN, and Obama":
There’s been a good deal of attention to ACORN of late, and deservedly so. Yet for all the fuss, what is arguably the most important Obama-ACORN tie of all has gotten short shrift. During the 2008 election, Obama’s close links to the far-left New Party were revealed and explored (although not by the mainstream press). Yet many seem to have forgotten that the New Party, particularly in Chicago, was dominated by ACORN (and by an ACORN-controlled SEIU union local). During the campaign, I detailed Obama’s New Party ties in two pieces, "Something New Here," and "Life of the New Party." Important evidence of Obama’s pursuit of the New Party endorsement can also be found in the September-October 1995 issue of "New Ground," newsletter of the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Obama’s New Party ties matter because they show that his links to ACORN went far beyond shared on-the-ground organizing, legal representation, training, or even funding (although all of those ties existed and were important). By running for office with the New Party, Obama was effectively indicating that he shared ACORN’s radical political goals.More at the link.
So it’s of interest that in late 1995, just as Obama was seeking New Party endorsement in Chicago, Patrick Gaspard was working as a New Party organizer in New Jersey. (This was reported in "Jersey Man Hopes to Create Third Political Party," NPR, "Morning Edition, " September 28, 1995). Then, in the July 2, 2001 issue of "The Nation," Gaspard and Bertha Lewis jointly published a reply to a June 4 Nation article by Doug Ireland which had been critical of the New York’s Working Families Party (a successor to the New Party, led by New Party co-founder Dan Cantor, and largely controlled by ACORN and the SEIU). In the course of their letter, Gaspard and Lewis describe their extensive joint involvement in Working Families Party activities. The letter is signed: "Bertha Lewis, ACORN, WFP; Patrick Gaspard, SEIU State Council, WFP." This does seem to confirm and extend the new evidence of a close political tie between Patrick Gaspard and ACORN’s Bertha Lewis.
No doubt, some will dismiss the newly revealed connections between the Obama administration, Patrick Gaspard, Bertha Lewis, and ACORN as "guilt by association." Yet it seems to me that the evidence points to something more significant than that. We are talking about a persistent and shared political-ideological alliance between President Obama and the complex of community, labor, and party organizations controlled by ACORN.
Image Credit: The People's Cube, "ACORN: Honesty is Not Going to Get You the House." See also, Michelle Malkin, "ACORN Watch: “Honesty is Not Going to Get You the House”."