Video: Stephanopoulos asks President Obama about ACORN
GLENN: By the way, Stephanopoulos actually asked the president about ACORN and if we may, if I can play ‑‑ he was on five different channels, none of them Fox, but he did get to that all important Univision interview. I mean, why would you, you know, why would you have an interview with the leader in cable news?
STU: Right. Well, the Fox one's coming up tonight obviously.
GLENN: Oh, yeah. That's right, I forgot.
STU: Yeah, you forgot about it because ‑‑
GLENN: I was only working on it last night. Pat, what time did we stop working on this? 11:00?
PAT: Yeah, around there.
GLENN: And you actually ‑‑
PAT: Well, I stopped around 12:30, 1:00.
GLENN: So I completely forgot we had the interview.
STU: That's weird you'd forget something like that.
STU: It's the president.
GLENN: It's not stuff that we've worked on all weekend. Yeah, we've decided if he's not going to come to us, that's okay. We'll just take all of the interviews that he's done and we'll piece them together and try to figure out what exactly he means just by piecing together all of the audio that he has left as a trail for the last five years. What does he mean? I don't know. I don't know. But he's ‑‑
STU: We'll ask him tonight.
GLENN: We'll ask him. So Stephanopoulos asked him about ACORN. This is what the president said about ACORN.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: If you say something outrageous, you're there in a hot second.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if some of your allies made it easier if you are handed some ammunition like ACORN, for example ‑‑
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look. The ‑‑ you know, I think that are there folks in the Democratic camp or on the left who haven't, haven't always operated in ways that I'd appreciate? Absolutely.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congress said they should cut off all funding for ACORN. Are you for that?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Is that true on the other side as well? Of course that's true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the funding for ACORN?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Frankly it's not really something I followed closely. I didn't even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the Senate and the House have voted to cut it off.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: What I know is that what I saw on that video was certainly inappropriate and deserved to be ‑‑
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you are not committing the cutting off the federal funding?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: George, this is not the biggest issue facing the country. It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to.
PAT: It's only corruption.
GLENN: It's only corruption.
PAT: It's only unbelievable corruption.
GLENN: It's only a group that is going to ‑‑
PAT: $8 1/2 billion.
GLENN: Had actually $8 1/2 billion, was something he put in for the census, no big deal. It doesn't affect ‑‑ it's not one of the more important things.
PAT: Not looking at it.
GLENN: By the way, he also didn't know anything about, that they were getting federal money. He didn't know that. He barely has anything to do with ACORN. Do you know that?
STU: He probably had never heard of the organization until that question.
GLENN: Well, he may have forgotten the speech that he gave in 2007 to ACORN leaders.
PAT: What? He was with ACORN?
PAT: He was with them physically?
GLENN: Let me just give you the ‑‑
PAT: That's weird.
GLENN: I'll just give you the quote here.
GLENN: 2007 to ACORN. Do we have the audio of it? Can we ‑‑
PAT: It's from ‑‑ oh, yes. To, yes, the promise? Is that what you're talking about?
GLENN: The promise?
PAT: The promise.
GLENN: I don't even know the promise.
STU: He is not going to promise to an organization that he doesn't know exists.
PAT: Doesn't know anything about? You are right.
GLENN: I didn't know we had audio of the promise. What is the audio of the promise?
PAT: That they were going to shape his agenda?
GLENN: That's not ‑‑
PAT: Should we not go down that road again?
GLENN: Let's not go down the road of a promise.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: But let me even say before I get inaugurated, during the transition we're going to be calling all of you in to help us shape the agenda.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We're going to be having meetings all across the country with community organizations.
GLENN: No, no, no, stop. I mean in 2007. The speech to ACORN leaders. When Obama met with ACORN leaders in November ‑‑ this is from an Organizing for America blog. So it has absolutely no credibility because it's from Obama's Organizing for America blog.
PAT: You can't, you can't trust a fringe blog like that.
STU: No, a rightwing source like that.
GLENN: When Obama met with ACORN leaders in November, he reminded them of his history with ACORN and his beginnings in Illinois as a Project Vote organizer, a nonprofit focused on voter rights and education. Senator Obama said, quote ‑‑ now remember this in the conversation that we just had with our listener who said, "Hey, don't dump this information on Friday. You know, you are showing all of the connections and everything." He said, quote: I came out of a grassroots organizing background. That's what I did for three and a half years before I went to law school. That's the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize.
Now, hang on just a second. You're moving to Chicago, that's the reason you moved to Chicago, to organize? That's almost like, did he know about the community organizations there? How did he know about the community organizations there? Which community organizations did he know about in Chicago? Who told him about the community organizations in Chicago?
PAT: I wish someone would look into that.
GLENN: I do, too ‑‑ oh, we did, on Friday's show.
That's the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do.
Remember he's speaking to ACORN: 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 project vote registration drive in Illinois. ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.
STU: Is it the same ‑‑ could it have been another ACORN because, you know, like maybe ‑‑
GLENN: Oh, like Johnny ACORN? No, that's Johnny Appleseed. No, uh‑uh, I'm pretty sure it's the same, pretty sure it's the same idea.
STU: But he had no idea.
PAT: ACORN clothiers? Maybe he was speaking to a group of retail salespeople?
STU: That's a really good point.
PAT: I don't think so.
STU: Been working for retail clothes business for my entire career. That makes sense. I mean, that could be if his career was in sales clothing.
PAT: Doesn't remember it being like that, but ‑‑
GLENN: Try this, Dateline Washington: The liberal political organizing group ACORN faced internal chaos and allegations of financial mismanagement and fraud long before two conservatives embarrassed the group with undercover videos made at the field offices in Washington and across the country. Internal ACORN documents show an organization in turmoil as last year's presidential election approached. With the board torn over how to handle embezzlement by the founder's brother and a growing concern that donor money and pension funds had been plundered in the insider scheme. Minutes from the meeting of ACORN held in Los Angeles last summer reveal a group then on the brink of financial collapse. Quote: Currently we owe over $800,000 to the IRS, the minutes note. Haven't paid medical bills of over $300,000. We're essentially broke nationally, and a lot of offices are struggling. Some top ACORN officials tried to shield the scheme which involved Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. Quote: Leadership has no faith in staff. Wade betrayed them. End quote, the minu tes said. The documents present a troubling picture of one of the nation's leading social justice advocacy groups with more than 400,000 members' offices in 75 cities and an expanding international presence. Sounds to me like it's nothing that we should worry about. I can understand why the president ‑‑
PAT: Glad it's not even on his radar.
GLENN: You know, he followed that with, you know, there are other things like Afghanistan. President Barack Obama is considering, is considering more forces in Afghanistan.
Let me give you this one. The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent confidential ‑‑ I don't know why we're reading about it on the radio then ‑‑ urgent confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight‑year conflict, quoting, will likely result in failure. General Stanley McChrystal says, quote: Failure to gain the initiative and reverse the insurgent momentum in the near term while Afghan security capacity matures, risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible. The president said that he is taking this under consideration. I just want to, I just ‑‑ hmmm. I just ‑‑ hmmm. You've got a guy who's in charge over there, you should either replace him or do what he says if he's saying that we're going to fail.
STU: Did he consult on this decision with either SEIU or ACORN?
GLENN: I don't know, we haven't ‑‑
PAT: I doubt he's ever heard of SEIU.
GLENN: He hasn't heard about it?
PAT: No, I'm sure not.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I spent my entire adult life working with SEIU.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm not a newcomer to this.
PAT: Gollee. Well, maybe ‑‑
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I didn't this summer discover SEIU. On the campaign trail, your agenda's been my agenda in the United States Senate.
GLENN: Oh, wow.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Before debating healthcare.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I talked to Andy Stern and SEIU members.
GLENN: Oh, well, that's good.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Before immigration debates took place in Washington.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I talked to Medina and SEIU members, before even the EFCA, I talked to SEIU.
GLENN: Oh, that is fantastic. So maybe he's on the phone with SEIU.
PAT: He's heard of them.
GLENN: And he's just trying to get their viewpoint on what he should do in the war.
STU: Maybe Andy Stern can run the war. He seems like the good guy.
GLENN: Don't count that out yet.