September 20th, 2009
05:16 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama: Taped ACORN misdeeds should be investigated

The videos have sparked controversy over ACORN, already under fire amid election fraud claims.
The videos have sparked controversy over ACORN, already under fire amid election fraud claims.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama says ACORN misdeeds captured on secretly taped videos should be investigated, but that the controversy over the community service group was not occupying much of his time.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on the ABC program "This Week," Obama was asked if he supported cutting off all federal funding for ACORN - an acronym for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - due to the incriminating videotapes.

"What I saw on that video was certainly inappropriate and deserves to be investigated," Obama said.

The videos were secretly taped by two individuals posing as a prostitute and a pimp. They show ACORN employees in four of the agency's offices suggesting or condoning a series of illicit actions as the couple seek advice on setting up a brothel with underage women from El Salvador.

On Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller signaled a potential federal investigation of the organization. At least 11 states already had been investigating ACORN for alleged voter registration fraud stemming from the general election in 2008.

In addition, both the Senate and House have called for halting government funding to the group.

Asked if he supported cutting off government grants that ACORN applies for, Obama avoided a direct answer.

"This is not the biggest issue facing the country," he said. "It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to."

In response to the controversy, ACORN's chief executive officer, Bertha Lewis, told FOX News Sunday she has fired anyone shown on videotape to have acted improperly, launched an independent internal review and will announce on Monday an independent audit of the organization.

Critics contend that ACORN is a left-leaning political organization involved in questionable activities while receiving federal and state government money.

On the ACORN Web site, the group founded in 1970 describes itself as "the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities."


Filed under: ACORN • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. mel

    I think for Obama to downplay this ACORN issue is pretty much expected considering his long history and ties to the organization. I wonder though why he feels this issue should be investigated when during the election he didn't think they should spend much effort on ACORN's election fraud schemes...which turned out to be illegal after the election was over. I guess McCain and Clinton both told us that Obama's shady history will catch up to him.

    September 20, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. S Houtzager

    We have people dying because they can't afford the correct healthcare. Or they are red-taped by insurance companies which prevents them from getting life or death care, and people want to complain about ACORN.

    September 20, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. Dave in Ohio

    Thank you Fox news for being there for this story otherwise it would not of been told. nuff said

    September 20, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. smithoman

    Seems like the word "framed" should apply here.

    September 20, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. JAY

    Obama did not answer the question of cutting off funds to acorn.
    He's not paying a lot of attention to acorns activities ,but he is paying
    millions of dollars of taxpayers money to support these activities.

    September 20, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. sue

    common guys, i mean republicans, your efforts to shame the presidents are going to nowhere. you are a bully, aggresive, angry and racists. the rest of americans have known and seen you ugly tactics and we reject them completely. what are you gonna come up with next? why not respect yourselves so that you can be respected. hateful leaders are ineffective and have no room in our society.

    September 20, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. Kimberly from Houston, Texas

    How is this more important than Health care?
    Enough already with Acorn.

    September 20, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Jim Voigh

    Criminal. Deserves to be investigated, for sure. I suspect we're only seeing the surface of criminal activities by ACORN. Investigations will lead to much more than this.

    September 20, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. For Real?

    Of course he avoided answering about acorn. He doesn't want to upset his base. He know's that crap goes on there.

    September 20, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Jerry Brian

    Only FOX had the guts and insight to continue investigating ACORN and ACORN's association with OBAMA ACORN Head. CNN, NY Times, NBC, ABC, and CBS should be ashamed of themselves for giving Obama a Pass, and not doing your civil duty to investigate and perform true journalism for the US Citizens. FOX has saved the US TAXPAYERS a possible $5 Billion of Stimulus Funds that ACORN was going to pursue. NO Wonder why FOX Ratings are going through the roof and the rest of you report the same propoganda that Obama tells you. QUIT following BLIND TRUST, which leads to the blind leading the blind. Question Obama, how is he going to pay for healthcare, do the math, do the numbers add up, and draw your own conclusions. You also missed the VAN JONES story and all other CZARS because you have bought into the Obama Propoganda.

    September 20, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. jim

    Just now he makes a comment....Get a life ! Now medeling in the NY GOV race how sad ...Why have anyone in DC but him.Health care ? Well if it's so good all Govt workers should be on it including Congress and the Senate.Or give us all their healthcare plan .....

    September 20, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. mark in Atlanta

    Appropriate response from the President. ACORN was set up with good intentions, and clearly most of the people it employees are genuine people trying to do the right thing. Still, it's equally obvious that they have had too many scandals. ACORN needs to go away now. But Obama is right- this is not by any stretch of the imagination one of the big issues faces the country now.

    September 20, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. New Independent

    What else can he say? They helped him get elected by signing up "voters". Lets get real and worry about where this country is heading. 2010 is too far away for some of us retired workers.

    September 20, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. K2

    Why would he spend much time on it? He already knows well how ACORN operates and approves of it. Since he is no longer campaigning, he doesn't need to publicly throw them under the bus like all his other ideological friends (ie Wright, etc).

    September 20, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. g_fall

    Of course it doesn't occupy too much of his time because they helped him and the Democrats get elected! Then the dems in congress unilaterally pasted a so-called stimulus bill which was really Democratic pork spending with potentially billions of dollars of the returns from the bank bailout payback going to ACORN to pay them off for their election support.

    Why should we shut down ACORN? Does embezzlement by the former CEOs brother matter? Does election fraud matter? Does their refusal to allow outside audit of their accounting matter? Does encouraging and helping prostitution and advocating for tax fraud matter? Does it seem right to take tax money from everyone (Repub, Dem and Indep) to help only Democratic candidates seem fair?

    THIS ORGANIZATION HAS TO GO. ANY PERSON IN ANY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT WHO DOESN'T HELP DEFUND AND SHUT THEM DOWN DOES NOT GET MY VOTE NEXT ELECTION!

    September 20, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Bill

    Nice, he answers with a non-answer. He obviously is following what's going on with ACORN and as a typical liberal, sees nothing wrong with sinking government money into an organization that will further his causes, even if they're found to be corrupt.

    September 20, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. melinda

    Just like always...Avoiding the question and giving these answers that he can later change and say he didn't really say that...So Sad!!!

    September 20, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    I agree with the President that ACORN should be investigated. I would also like to remind people that several ACORN offices that were approached by the imposters turned them away and, in one case, called the police to report them.

    Just like not all governors are like Mark Sanford, not all ACORN offices engage in illegal activities.

    September 20, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. DonnaLee

    Rethuglicans have suddenly developed an acute case of amnesia. And I say that because it was the Rethuglicans started Acorn decades ago.

    Yup ... that's the truth ...and they have enthusiastically supported Acorn for years.

    Now Rethuglicans want all of us to believe that Obama is at the bottom of Acorn's shenanigans.

    What a load of Rethuglican bull pucky.

    September 20, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Navy Jack

    CNN must have approval from the POTUS, Rahm or the TOTUS to run this story..

    September 20, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Cassandra

    Leave Acorn alone and investigate Fox News. They spend more time trying to find dirt on people more than anyone or any group that I've ever seen. They need to grow up and stop acting like spoiled losers. Everyone has a past weather good or bad, people do change. Let's see if you all can change for the best and move on. Just remember everyone has skeletons, how long will it take berfore your skeletons are revealed. Be carefull because God knows your heart, it's not always what goes in the mouth, but what comes out.of the mouth that defiles. God don't love anyone of you no more than he loves Barack Obama, remember that. it's in your BIBLE.

    September 20, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. Kelsey

    Good call President Obama. I think ACORN needs the scrutiny.

    September 20, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Carl Justus

    I am with Obama, I think it should be fully investigated and if this is something that is not put up to make ACORN look bad then they should cut off funding for it. Those involved should be prosecuted to the extent of what the offense would call for.

    If this turns out to be a put up plot by those that are fervently against ACORN, then I think they should also be prosecuted for fraud and misrepresenting the mission of ACORN.

    September 20, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. Reggie

    About time! He's gotta bite the hand that feeds him, this time....

    September 20, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. herbww

    I have been a long time follower of CNN for more than 20 years. However I have moved to Fox because CNN does not provide information any more. I often disagree with Fox, but I do get information. For example today I was watching CNN. They talked about ACORN, but did not refer at all to all of the problems ACORN had with voter fraud. Frankly I was very disturbed by ACORN's behaviour during the election. I think CNN does a disservice to itself and the nation when it only reports part of the story. Even if they reported voter fraud as allegations and did not inlcude all the investigations and charges involving fraud, they should refer to it. Is this because CNN thinks we should not have the facts because it reflects badly on the Democratic Party. It sure looks that way. I have switehed back to Fox. I want the story so that I can make my judgement.

    September 20, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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