By Aaron Klein
Was David Axelrod misleading yesterday when he told a reporter yesterday that he had “no idea” about whether President Obama was a member of the socialist New Party in the 1990s?
Axelrod traveled in the same political circles as New Party activists and was close to the party’s founders, raising doubts about the veracity of his denial.
Already, Obama’s campaign may have previously misled about the politician’s involvement with the New Party, which sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.
The Obama campaign denial came in 2008 amid reports of Obama’s participation with the party, including several articles by WND.
WND previously reported on newspaper evidence showing Obama was listed as a member of the New Party in the group’s own literature.
WND also conducted an exclusive interview with Marxist activist Carl Davidson, a founder of the New Party, who recounted Obama’s participation.
In 2008, Obama’s Fight the Smears campaign website conceded the New Party did support the politician in 1996 but denied that Obama had ever joined.
Yesterday, Breitbart.com confronted Axelrod while he was leaving a Chicago radio station.
Axelrod refused to answer the website when asked whether the Obama campaign still denied that Obama had been a member of the New Party.
Asked by Breitbart.com whether his silence meant “yes” or “no,” Axelrod plied: “You can take that as I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Axelrod, however, was part of the Chicago political circles that orbited around ACORN, the SEIU and the Democratic Socialists of America, the three organizations that formed the backbone of the New Party.
As WND reported in 2010 uncovered correspondence quotes a purported communist activist claiming he served as Axelrod’s political mentor. That supposed mentor and other activists trace to New Party founders.
Don Rose, founder of the pro-communist Hyde Park Voices and member in the 1960s of a purported Communist Party front, the Alliance to End Repression, boasted of his relationship with Axelrod:
“Your dad and I ‘mentored’ and helped educate [Axelrod] politically,” Rose writes, “which is perhaps why you may recall seeing him hanging around the house.”
Rose was writing to Marc Canter, the son of the late David S. Canter, who was co-founder of the Voices newspaper and was named as a communist in the late 1960′s by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
“I later wrote a reference letter for him (Axelrod) that helped him win an internship at the Tribune, which was the next step in his journalism career,” admitted Rose, referring to an internship Axelrod landed at the Chicago Tribune in 1977.
The newspaper later hired Axelrod full-time. At the age of 27, Axelrod became the youngest Tribune writer when he served as the City Hall Bureau Chief and a political columnist for the publication.
Rose’s correspondence with Marc Canter came in response to blog reports claiming Axelrod worked for Rose’s Hyde Park Voices, when it was a similar sounding newspaper, the Hyde Park Herald, that employed Axelrod for a short period of time.
The correspondence was later posted on Marc Canter’s personal blog.
Axelrod, meanwhile, worked again with Rose and Canter when Obama’s future top adviser was hired in 1987 to aid in the successful reelection campaign of Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor. Washington himself was supported by a coalition of communist and socialist groups.
Canter, a key Chicago political fixer, was reportedly instrumental in convincing Washington to first run as Chicago’s mayor in 1981.
Rose and Axelrod then worked together again, running the 1992 senatorial campaign of Carol Moseley Braun, whose election was notoriously aided by a massive voter registration drive led by Obama himself at Chicago’s Project Vote.
Rose was later an organizing member of Chicagoans Against the War in Iraq, the group that invited Obama to speak at its October 2, 2002, antiwar rally in Chicago – an address that was said to propel Obama to national attention. That group included New Party founders.
The rally was also organized by Carl Davidson and activists Marilyn Katz and Bettylu Saltzman.
Davidson is a notorious far-left activist and former radical national leader in the anti-Vietnam movement. He served as national secretary for the infamous Students for a Democratic Society anti-war group, from which Ayers’ Weathermen later splintered.
Davidson was a founder of the New Party.
Obama campaign caught in big lie?
On Thursday, holes were further punched into the Obama camp’s denials when researcher and author Stanley Kurtz, writing at National Review Online, reported on documentation from the updated records of Illinois ACORN at the Wisconsin Historical Society that “definitively establishes” that Obama was a member of the New Party.
Kurtz reported Obama also signed a “contract” promising to publicly support and associate himself with the New Party while in office.
In 2008, Obama’s Fight the Smears campaign website quoted Carol Harwell, who managed Obama’s 1996 campaign for the Illinois Senate, as stating: “Barack did not solicit or seek the New Party endorsement for state senator in 1995.”
Fight the Smears conceded the New Party did support Obama in 1996 but denied that Obama had ever joined.
According to documents from the Democratic Socialists of America, the New Party worked with ACORN to promote its candidates. ACORN, convicted in massive, nationwide voter fraud cases, was a point of controversy for Obama during his 2008 campaign for president.
Becoming a New Party member requires some effort on behalf of the politician. Candidates must be approved by the party’s political committee and, once approved, must sign a contract mandating they will have a “visible and active relationship” with the party.
If Obama indeed signed the contract, not only would his campaign be caught in a lie but it could prove highly embarrassing for him at a time when he is fighting claims, including from Mitt Romney’s camp, that his policies are socialist.
Also, Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan of “Forward” has been criticized for its use of a historic socialist slogan.
The socialist-oriented goals of the New Party were enumerated on its old website.
Among the New Party’s stated objectives were “full employment, a shorter work week and a guaranteed minimum income for all adults; a universal ‘social wage’ to include such basic benefits as health care, child care, vacation time and lifelong access to education and training; a systematic phase-in of comparable worth; and like programs to ensure gender equity.”
The New Party stated it also sought “the democratization of our banking and financial system – including popular election of those charged with public stewardship of our banking system, worker-owner control over their pension assets [and] community-controlled alternative financial institutions.”
Many of the New Party’s founding members were Democratic Socialists of America leaders and members of Committees of Correspondence, a breakaway of the Communist Party USA.
Last month, WND reported on a 1996 print advertisement in a local Chicago newspaper that shows Obama was the speaker at an event sponsored and presented by the Democratic Socialists of America, the DSA.
Obama listed as New Party member
While Obama’s campaign in 2008 denied the then–presidential candidate was ever an actual member of the New Party, print copies of the New Party News, the party’s official newspaper, show Obama posing with New Party leaders, listing him as a New Party member and printing quotes from him as a member.
The party’s spring 1996 newspaper boasted: “New Party members won three other primaries this Spring in Chicago: Barack Obama (State Senate), Michael Chandler (Democratic Party Committee) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary).”
The paper quoted Obama saying, “These victories prove that small ‘d’ democracy can work.”
The newspaper lists other politicians it endorsed who were not members but specifies Obama as a New Party member.
New Ground, the newsletter of Chicago’s Democratic Socialists of America, reported in its July/August 1996 edition that Obama attended a New Party membership meeting April 11, 1996, in which he expressed his gratitude for the group’s support and “encouraged NPers (New Party members) to join in his task forces on voter education and voter registration.”
The New Party, established in 1992, took advantage of what was known as electoral “fusion,” which enabled candidates to run on two tickets simultaneously, attracting voters from both parties. But the New Party disbanded in 1998, one year after fusion was halted by the Supreme Court.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott