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. Vic

    From CNN article: 'When 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." "

    It loks to me that Obama didn't "sound off" as CNN indicated. He ducked the question. He couldn't bring himself to say anything bad about the corupt activities of ACORN.

    September 20, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. Preston kath

    Preston kathy look gop obama is going after acorn he had ties with acorn he is trying to clean up there mess can the gop clean up there mess

    September 20, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. ib

    Obama is worried about them being looked into to far since everyone knows what they did to help elect Obama. He owes them and you can bet that he will repay them. Nothing will come out of this;Obama will stop it before it does in my humble opinion.

    September 20, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. John Q

    He should be concerned, being that he was a poster boy for them and an Attorney not that long ago. This seems to be a politicians way of life. Be part of something that is questionable/deplorable, and then start doing double speak/damage control.

    September 20, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Amazing

    Shut them down immediately!! This organization is full of corruption, dating back to embezzlement, money going through an abandoned Funeral home in New Orleans to the most current tapes everyone has seen. The CEO of ACORN was just on and she does NOT answer questions and will NOT turn over the books for review.

    NO More Tax payer dollars to this corrupt organization, period!

    September 20, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. independent

    The GOP has long complained about 'gotcha' moments.

    The ACORN members' comments were inappropriate, yes, and parts were despicable. However, what will the GOP say when someone or some group, leaning to the right, is audio-taped saying something despicable.

    They will say what they always say, "out of context", "gotcha journalism", "a distraction from the important work that needs to be done".

    The authors are patting themselves on the back. What have they done to reduce the number of under-age, illegal sex slaves? What have they done to reduce tax significant fraud. Nothing. It's too bad.

    September 20, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Jeffery Meaux, Sr.

    Is the President somewhere in the Middle East with his head in the sand?. This is not a major issue, he says. The economy is in serious trouble, the ACORN issue is a major example of fraud and a waste of tax money and he is not "on top" of the issue. Maybe he should select another CZAR to look into the problem – how about Bertha Lewis.

    September 20, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Mike in VA

    OBAMA: You know, what I know is, is that what I saw on that video was certainly inappropriate and deserves to be investigated.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not committing to - to cut off the federal funding?

    OBAMA: George, this is not the biggest issue facing the country. It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to.

    Yeah, right. Liar.

    September 20, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |

    Accorn helped you Obama, so \does that mean that Obama should be investigated. YES, but it wont happen.

    September 20, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. ral_ohio

    Upon investigation, I wouldn't be surprised if the 4 employees turn out to
    be undercover "plants" from the RNC, who got hired in to ACORN with the
    intent to disrupt and smear the ACORN organization.

    I also believe the two individuals setting up this scam, were from the RNC too.

    It purely is another bogus attempt by the RNC to create another diversion for the White House.

    September 20, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Obama IS ACORN

    Get with the program, Obama! That is OUR money.

    September 20, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. Inglorious...

    The FBI is already on that, aren't they? What I hope they subeona first and foremost is the complete tapes. There is substantial reason to beleive that there is far more tape, and that these vile swine were using every form of entrappment to get the Acorn members to do and say what they did. Of course, if there is criminal activity it should be prosecuted. If there is criminal activity on the part of those making the tapes, likewise. In the emantime, the Democratic party is right, along with the Republicons, in voting to suspend funding. Acorn is not a government agency, iot is not part of the Democratic party, and if they are a community group they have to uphold the law in order to get taxpayer funding. FUx news has turned this minor story into a huge straw man with which they are causing all sorts of dfistractions for the Democrats. A massive non-story that is playing well to the crazies.

    September 20, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. Get Real

    I hope they get shut down.

    September 20, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. jazz in mich.

    Call me crazy but I think they should do everything to find the people who are making these videos and question who gave them the authority to do so. Nine times out of ten, it was a republican, four steps away from Karl Rove. Not only that, I'll bet the ACORN workers were probed into making some of those statements. JUST SAYING!

    September 20, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. MatthewDetroit

    NO KIDDING....
    Where was everyone last week when this came out.
    It took FOUR tapes before everyone started paying attention.
    Baracks PET PROJECT is a bunch of militant liars and cheats....
    How come HIS attorney general is not investigating these groups..
    These people were going to be INVOLVED in the Census....
    That would be great..
    They would take a city like Detroit with less than 800 thousand in population and somehow come up with a MILLION and a HALF.

    Maybe MSNBC should do some investigating if Chris Matthews could stop getting sweet tingles in he legs when ever Barack speaks....

    September 20, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    Two greedy instigators stirring up trouble on both sides with no solutions, just dollars in their pockets.

    September 20, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  17. Ken Durkin

    atlast President O"Bama comments on the Acorn fiasco and the news media finaly gets its act together.maybe these two reporters shoud be hired by one of the SUPPOSED NEWS cannells

    September 20, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. ggb

    He has no choice but to investigate....and to think he was their attorney. Makes you wonder.

    September 20, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  19. Tim, Roswell GA

    Most mature answer so far. I also agree that a thorough investigation into this sting business is necessary. We should review the video footage from all of the ACORN offices this group visited before everyone starts to make drastic decisions. We know that some groups on the right have been gunning for ACORN and we should not be unwitting accomplices to a political witch-hunt. I was shocked and appalled when I watched an ACORN employee bragging about killing her ex-husband in one video later to hear that her ex is live and hardy; what is going on? It looks like these people are all putting us on. For starters the pimp and his lady were so seventies and out of place that I am sure the ACORN employees were laughing their buns off. On a serious note, if some employees broke the law, they need to be duly punished but if they were horsing around with a bad imitation of Huggy Bear, then that is an issue for ACORN to deal with. But a full inquiry should have been carried out before Congress went into this FREEDOM FRIES knee-jerk reaction towards defunding the group.

    September 20, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse, NY

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

    Looks like he just voted 'present' again. Not surprising at all. To condemn ACORN would be to condemn his shady past.

    September 20, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. Keith in Austin

    Meanwhile, while Barry is not spending time addressing the ACORN conspiracy, they have already received 5 million in taxpayers money with 8 billion earmarked via his stimulous bill! Classic response Barry. Just chickenfeed money right

    September 20, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. FranSays

    Who would go to Acorn to ask how to set up a brothel?

    If they wanted something incriminating . . . why not ask how to throw an election??

    This is stupid to the 3rd power. These two "individuals" need real jobs!!

    September 20, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. nurse

    obama answered like a true Acorn lawyer. Come on people , do you realy think he will toss them under the bus . He needs them for fraud in the 2010 elections .

    September 20, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. Ryan indy

    Of course this isnt worth his time because these are the People who were campaigning for him in the last election. Why would you bite the hand that feeds you????? Obama makes GW better and better every day that goes by!!!

    September 20, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. joe

    way to lead out, Prez. About a dollar short and two weeks late.

    September 20, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
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