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

Obama: Taped ACORN misdeeds should be investigated

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Scott

    For an organization so emblematic of change to embarass the President this way is beyond my comprehension. If the foks involved were just too stupid to understand that, then shame on them and go away. Be rightfully fired. But what a shame.

    September 20, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. gor

    not news what about investigating wall street you know the ones that almost killed america instead a hand full of idiots

    September 20, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. bimmer

    "I owe my Presiedency to ACORN to some extent. But I cannot condone this politically harmful outing of ACORN,". should have said Obama.

    September 20, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Freedom

    It's not a big issue when you may have your hand in the cookie jar. He can't break away from the organzation after he help set it up. Accorn is criminal we all see it in each of these tapes. Obama doesn't see it because maybe he's.

    September 20, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Reality

    Obama's role in setting ACORN policy should be investigated. So should Obama's ties to PHARMA and how it is influencing his health care agenda. Don't count on media looking too closely though.

    September 20, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. 4 Palin

    Obama DID NOTsound off about ACORN0–he just stated the obvious when commenting on the videos. They should be investigated!!! DUH!! He is not going to say anything bad about ACORN. He probably taught them everything that they know. You need to be asking him about his past ties with ACORN!! That organization is a disgrace!!!

    September 20, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. Gregorius, PA

    Of course it's left-leaning – look at the demographics it serves.

    I've watched the video; it's absolutely comical how these two undercover "journalists" portrayed themselves. I half wonder if the ACORN employees weren't at least in part just humoring them.

    September 20, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Nick

    I've seen ACORN organizers here in Houston. They're usually putting up flyers about the minimum wage and stuff like that. They meet at community centers all over the city. I'm sure there are some bad apples in the group, just as there are bad apples in every other aspect of public and private life. I don't think they are responsible for the ills of the world, but if there are people doing illegal things, they need to be found out and stopped.

    September 20, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. dean

    Whimpy answer,

    Obama is in the back pocket of ACORN!

    September 20, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. GOP

    And if we know Obama he will get his top team of cheats to investigate them to the fullest.

    Yes when you do it yourself there is so little chance of the truth coming out.

    September 20, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Erick

    It's too bad Fox was 4 days ahead of CNN on this story. That doesn't bode well for CNN credibility.

    September 20, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. Liberal-You got a problem with that?

    Yes, these incidents should be investigated. But to penalize an organization that does a great deal of good by cutting ALL federal funding? That's a bit extreme. But then, extremism is the modus operandi of the racist faction of the right.

    September 20, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Mike O

    Just because he worked for this group, slid them a chuck of change before the election and has been shoveling them 'stimulus' dollars as fast as possible, doesn't mean he's 'paying a lot of attention to'.

    Under the bus! Quickly!

    September 20, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Nancy

    Ahhh, the distancing has now begun . . . . .

    September 20, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. Jane/Seattle

    Acorn is an old arganization that has done much valuable work over these long years. That some folks involved are guilty of misdeeds and/or illegal activity IS NOT the sole cause of any problem. IT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE REPUBLICAN SPINMEISTERS TO USE THE "Straw Man Argument" in order to shift the main focus away from their own misdeeds and to vilify President Obama in the eyes of the ignorant ones who will listen and follow them. This is always the case with Politics, more or less. The Republicans love to shift the discussion and twist the Semantics to reflect these weak links in order to Obfuscate their own defense of the heinous acts of Bush and Company while attacking the spending (just one focus) of this new Administration. I saw "Meet the Press this AM". It was sooooo Obvious to me. Boner and Graham, Graham and Juliani, endlessly sending out the spinners to spin! Peace

    September 20, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. cl

    ACORN will have funding. One bad apple does'nt spoil the whole bunch, just look at congress. ACORN start your registration drive now!!! You don't need money to make an impact, just smarts and hard work. Good luck.

    September 20, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. joe m

    while i understand what the president was trying to say, it was not very effective. he needed to at least have put out there that he would support a measure to cutting off funding until all the questions have been answered. it was also not effective for the president to say that ACORN "is not something (he) is paying a lot of attention to'. ACORN is fast becoming a smear on him, considering that he has been tied to the group. i'm not certain if the approach and response the president has provided is something that he has decided upon himself, or it is the result of advice given to him, but it is not the most effective approach. ACORN is a distraction and it shifts the conversation, addressing healthcare, to what the president's continued relationship with this group is. the issue provides an avenue to suggest that the president's healthcare program is as suspicious as the activities of this group. i wish the president would take a stronger stance on this matter.

    September 20, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. dun

    There is nothing like beating around the bush.
    It is interesting that the person ,who was so well supported by ACORN,WOULD NOT SPEEK UP ABOUT HIS THOUGHTS TO THE INPROPRIEITYS OF THAT ORGANIZATION.
    However, a topical polititian.

    September 20, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Charlie Rangel

    o'bama needs to be investigated.

    September 20, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. AK

    I don't know how anyone could watch the video and think the ACORN ladies were doing anything other than messing around with the very poor "infiltrators."

    September 20, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. bjmiller

    Well, Mr. President, you certainly were paying a lot of attention to ACORN when you were running for President and wanting their support. What about when you were being paid for your legal work for the organization? Give me a break what a hyprocrite, oh maybe I shouldn't mention that, is that a little bit like being a liar!

    September 20, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. JP

    Groups like ACORN helped to cause the financial crisis by helping people get loans they could never pay back. Do a search on ACORN and NINJA loans it will make you sick. You will learn that ACORN is basically a legalized criminal enterprise. Obama has had long time ties to this rancid organization.

    September 20, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. minnie

    You know Obama is not going to say anything bad about his baby doll group that he loves so much. Acorn is a bad bunch which Obama is a part of.

    September 20, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Howard Roark

    You can bet if Michael Moore orchastrated a similar tape with a conservative group, CNN and every other media outlet would hailing it as important work, etc.

    "...I did not have...sexual relations...with that woman...Ms. Lewinsky.."

    September 20, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. SM be followed by a full investigation into the actions of Haliburton, BlackWater, and those Afghanistan embassary contractors, right?

    September 20, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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