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Obama Opposes Supreme Court Rape Decision


Sen. Barack Obama calls on a reporter as he speaks with the media during a news conference in Chicago June 25, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Shailagh Murray
CHICAGO -- A longtime critic of the death penalty, Sen. Barack Obama said he opposed the Supreme Court's decision today that child rapists may not be executed in cases where they do not kill their victims.

"I have said repeatedly I think the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances, for the most egregious of crimes," said the Illinois senator, speaking to reporters at a hometown press conference. But he added, "I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime, and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well defined circumstances, the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that does not violate our Constitution."

In today's 5 to 4 decision, with the more liberal members forming the majority, the court struck down a 1995 Louisiana law that allowed the death penalty to be used against anyone who rapes a child under the age of 12. The decision overturned the death penalty for Patrick Kennedy, a 43-year-old who was convicted of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter in 1998.

Obama is a longtime critic of the death penalty and has championed reforms to prevent wrongful convictions. He has written that executing offenders "does little to deter crime," but has said that some acts are so heinous, "so beyond the pale," that "the ultimate punishment" is warranted.

He also is the father of two young daughters. "Had the Supreme Court said, we want to constrain the ability of states to do this, to make sure it's done in a careful and appropriate way, that would have been one thing," said Obama. "But it basically had a blanket prohibition."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 25, 2008; 6:08 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama  
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Comments

This is not a decision about whether or not he thinks it's right, it's whether or not it's constitutional! He said that the Supreme Court made the correct decision on Constitutional grounds, not that he personally agrees with it. I am very against the death penalty, but I would not want the Supreme Court to make decisions based on whims. To make the opposite ruling, the Supreme Court would have to base it on something other than the Constitution. For Obama to disagree with the ruling, he's be making the same mistake. So even if he was adamantly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, he's have to agree with the ruling, as it is based on the constitutionality of the law not the merit of the law.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | July 10, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I invite Obama to make his case for support of the death penalty in terms of his faith in Jesus of Nazareth against whom it was applied.

The Supreme Court, whether knowingly, in this decision, even according to Law of the Hebrew scriptures (Christian "Old Testament"), is in conformance to the Biblical eye-for-an-eye (Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 21:20, even Deuteronomy 19:21) principle of punishment commensurate with the offence, however reprehensible.

Obama's position goes beyond this and compounds the wrong.

Posted by: Huguenot | June 27, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

*rampant* It's early...

Posted by: K. Richards | June 27, 2008 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh wow! Just look at all of the ignorance running rampid. One thing that non-politicians and people who do not study Political Science is that there are very rarely just black and white areas of certain issues. The death penalty is a very touchy subject. The subject of children is touchy subject--especially when it comes to them being harmed in any way shape or form.

Have you guys thought to consider that Obama, having two daughters, is basing his opinion more on whether or not someone rapes his child? Or do you think he's just pandering? Well, obviously you think he's just pandering. A man who's against the death penalty, but has two very young daughters couldn't possibly be taking his daughters into consideration. Think about it. If someone were to rape your child, how do you think you would react? Me, personally, I am all for the death penalty. Hell, I'm all for bringing back medieval torture methods to child molestors/rapists.

I know quite a few average joes that oppose the death penalty except for in the case of child molestation/rape. They are parents, of course. If you don't support the death penalty of child molestors/child rapists, you must support child molestors/rapists, right? See what I did there?

There is no pure black and white areas. Same thing with the war. If you oppose the war, but you support the troops, are you unpatriotic or patriotic? Both my parents are in the military and both were deployed, I support them and my military friends but not this war of false pretenses. Am I unpatriotic or patriotic?

Of course I am not trying to change anyone's mind. You already have your minds made up and that's cool. That's your opinion. I'm just giving my unsolicited $2.02.

P.S. There's a very special level of hell reserved for child molesters/rapists and people who talk in the theatre...


Posted by: K. Richards | June 27, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Obama's take on this seems a little out of character for a liberal. I am for capital punishment in principle but given the flawed nature of our judicial system I have come to oppose it since I can't imagine anything worse than executing an innocent human being. Even as heinous a crime as raping a child is, capital punishment does not quite match the crime in my view. But of even more importance in is this almost "Sophie's choice" kind of question: what's worse, raping a child or raping and murdering a child? I ask this since I wonder how many child rapists will leave their victim alive if they know they will be executed if caught?

Posted by: Steve | June 27, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

If you don't think Obama is the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate, then I will sell you a bridge to nowhere. Get real. Look at his record or nonrecord.

Posted by: Political Watchdog | June 26, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I am a Democrat and can't believe Obama's part of the same party with his opinion on this ruling!!!

On second thought Democrats should be happy the guy took a stand on an issue--which different than in the Illinois State Senate where he just voted "present" the majority of the time.

I am sure more surprises are on the horizon from Obama...which is why McCain is likely to be the next president!

Posted by: Political Watchdog | June 26, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

So, is Obama FOR capital punishment or AGAINST it?
As with all other issues, nobody knows where the hell he stands.
Very decisive guy.
Yeah, let's put him in charge of the most powerful nation on earth.

Posted by: robtay | June 26, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad commentary when a candidate is so liberal that his supporters (WaPo, etc) scrambles to their keyboards to brag that their man is against raping children. "See? He's not so liberal afterall, so there."
Sad, sad, sad.

Posted by: robtay | June 26, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

If the death penalty is not applied for rape unless the victim is killed, there might be a better chance that the victim will not be killed. Is this not also true in the case of raping a child? Obama is right that this crime is so bad that the perpatrator deserves the ultimate penalty, but isn't the main purpose of the law and of punishments to protect the victims?

Posted by: rps | June 26, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't beleive and eye for an eye makes the world go round...but any man who is rapeing a child or an adult needs to have his dick cut off if they don't execute the s.o.b.
And I support a womans right to choose...terminate the preganancy and save the child future grief or let the US government send them to fight a war and bring them home in a casket...I don't see much of a differance

Posted by: Lucretia | June 26, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA IS SUCH A PANDERING LIAR!!!

He and wife Michelle supported INFANTICIDE (late term abortions) before it became illegal in 2002 (LIVE BABY ACT)..... and now he is advocating the death penalty for rapists of children????

HYPOCRITE,,,,PHONEY....AMORAL VOTE GETTER!!!

Posted by: Steve | June 26, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Public financing of general election campaign - flip flop
Comment on Supreme Court gun decision -
flip flop flip
Comment on Supreme Court death penalty ruling - flip flop flip flop

Posted by: Mike 46 | June 26, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I am an opponent of any and all uses of the death penalty. It has not served as a deterrent, and it is irreversible if we found out that a mistake has been made. It is, and never will be applied equally, primarily because of socio-economic differences. I am, and will continue to be, a strong Obama supporter. It is not essential that I agree with him on every issue. If I were president , I expect that I would disagree with myself with some degree of frequency. I trust his judgement, his understanding of what is possible and what is not possible, and his willingness to listen to all sides of an argument prior to making his decisions. . . a really new concept if compared with the present administration. Waynep

Posted by: Wayne Potrafka | June 26, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I understand where Obama is coming from.
I was incested by my stepfather when I was 9, and it has and continues to cause, all kinds of problems throughout my life.
Also, my husband broke my 5-year-old's arm in two places, when he hurled him across a room in anger because he was refusing to go to bed. And I felt no remorse from him for the act. And he was never punished by the courts.
Other than those two incidents, I am an advocate of diplomacy first.
Life is complicated.

Posted by: Colleen O'Brien | June 26, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

is obama the republican guy? or the democrat guy? i am confused?

Posted by: tottallyblonde | June 26, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama=Bush

Posted by: Paul | June 26, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Like many others I listened to Senator Obama very closely during the primary selection process and I said then what I will repeat now, "When the Senator opens his mouth it's usually just to change feet".

Posted by: Henry Greenwood | June 26, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I never thought obama was very smart till now..he got what he wanted kennedy,Kerry.New York Times and the Washington Post and now he's telling them to get lost.....lol

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

This totally cracks me up. Finally shows that Obama and his supporters are truly all for show, no substance. How long did we have to endure that he was the "real deal," a true liberal, a true progressive, who didn't just say and vote the way polls or politics suggested, but by his amazing gut and instinct and brillance. And Mrs. Clinton was a conservative on par with the Bushes, a right-winger that would say anything to get elected. So the inevitable happens with the male-dominated Democratic party making back room deals to make sure a man was entitled to the nomination, and now that he is going into the general election he veers sharply to the right, starts taking positions completely hypocritical to what he once said and postured as; now a staunch supporter of the death penalty, anti-gay marriage, all for immunity to the telecoms and for spying on Americans. And what do the Obamanics do? Well, first blame "that woman" naturally, but also say, "well he has to do this to win the general." But when Hillary did that is was treason. These people have no depth.

Posted by: David | June 26, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

WillieD is comparing a presidential candidate with a child molester? What planet are you from? Hilliary made a statement about Kennedy's assasination with an inference on the possible killing of a nominee (OBama) and people did not get so outraged as Mr. D., yet linking him up with the likes of someone that would do something so heinous is utterly ridiculous. How far will you go before you tell the truth to yourself? That is not why you dislike Barak. Comeone be a big boy and say what your really think and stop wasting our time. Officer Mancuso don't you have some ticket's to write or some bad guys to catch or some donuts that need eating?

Posted by: Totally Baffled | June 26, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

WillieD is comparing a presidential candidate with a child molester? What planet are you from? Hilliary made a statement about Kennedy's assasination with an inference on the possible killing of a nominee (OBama) and people did not get so outraged as Mr. D., yet linking him up with the likes of someone that would do something so heinous is utterly ridiculous. How far will you go before you tell the truth to yourself? That is not why you dislike Barak. Comeone be a big boy and say what your really think and stop wasting our time. Officer Mancuso don't you have some ticket's to write or some bad guys to catch or some donuts that need eating?

Posted by: Totally Baffled | June 26, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

hey look, all this BS about 'liberal courts wanting to rule from the bench' is total crap. First off, the courts aren't 'liberal'. Only two of the Justices were appointed by a Democratic President. The rest by Republicans. Also, most of the lower courts have been stacked by the Bush admin with conservative judges as is his right to do so. Second, it IS the Courts' job, as a seperate but CO-EQUAL branch of gov't to decide if laws passed by states or Congress violate the Constitution. Third, most of the 'activism' we've seen coming from the bench over the last 30 yrs has come from conservative judges. The Supreme Court has been stacked with conservative judges for a long time. You may not like their rulings but, calling them 'liberal' is laughable and shows your lack of knowledge of the court.

Posted by: fattkidd | June 26, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Ha Ha! I can see Obama has got Da Tourist's panties in a wad, which is why I love him! Go get 'em Obama!

I disagree with Obama on this issue, but he can't be all things to all people. I am happy to support him even if he doesn't agree with me on 100% of the issues - which somehow terrified Repugnants desperately paint as some wild-eyed Obamania. It's so funny.


Posted by: sequoia | June 26, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey Spammer,

The issue here is O'Bama's pandering to all sides after a bad Supreme Court ruling on capital punishment, not Senator McCain's honorable military record. McCain flew 27 combat missions over North Vietnam and endured years of hardship in captivity. If he said anything under torture and duress, then it's accepted and understood by those of us who also served our country.

Maybe "you" ought to sign the form instead.



Posted by: Back From Iraq | June 26, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Markie's post at 12:28 AMI. I, too, "have already sent Obama a little money for his campaign. No more." From a legal standpoint, Obama is wrong and knows it--in death penalty cases, states can decide if its three-drug lethal cocktail is OK, but NOT what crime merits the death penalty. States can't decide to fry the retarded, the mentally ill, minors. Obama is, as Markie says, just another "old-school politician."

Posted by:

Posted by: Ann Loflin | June 26, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court decision was repulsive and disturbing. It not only removes the death penalty from horrendous child rapes which deserve to be punished by death, but it also inserts the Supreme Court into an activist role defining the moral grounds for capital punishment. The writers of the Constitution never intended for the Supreme Court to limit the death penalty to specific crimes. This was clearly left to the states.

Posted by: darwin | June 26, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

The total irony is that, now with DNA and almost complete certainty of guilt in rape cases, the liberal courts want to legislate from the bench and do away with capital punishment using this initial step to ultimately do away with all capital crimes. With the new DNA technology, there is now greater burden on the state to determine guilt, making the death penalty less chancy. Unfortunately, that wasn't good enough for this court. Hopefully, a President McCain will make some improvements in the Supreme Court through wiser appointments.

Posted by: Back From Iraq | June 26, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

[Posted by: Isiah Thomas | June 26, 2008 3:38 AM]
Nobody is going agree with their candidate on every single position, you have to understand that. Instead you must be electing someone who is intelligent enough and speaks for that majority of what you stand for. I respect Obama for his ability to always stand up for what he believes in, rather than always taking the liberal or always taking the conservative position. Folks, you don't just have to follow scripts written for you: you are allowed to think for yourself. Let's also be clear that Obama has been very consistent and forthright on his position on this issue.
===========================================
Consistent and forthright?? Hardly!! Obama says what his handlers tell him to say. Obama has long been against the death penalty, as are the narrow left fringe of our society. He knows that he has to pander to the immediate situation at hand by denouncing the liberal Supreme Court justices on the one hand and embracing a "very narrow circumstances" argument on the other hand in applying the death penalty. I suppose it depends on which audience Obama is addressing at the time.

The decision was wrong. Rest assured that an Obama Administration will pack the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court with as many Justice Kennedy type judges as they can until our Constitution and present form of government is forever changed.

Posted by: Back From Iraq | June 26, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

My advice to Senator Obama's Campaign is same: Stand by your values and take your positions firmly: So another "evolution" theory...still not gettting the point.

Posted by: peace4world | June 26, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

This is surprising.

The rape of a child is arguably the most abhorrent crime--short of murder--but given the number of death row inmates who have later been found to be innocent of their "crimes" we cannot, as a society, impose a death penalty without a means to ensure that it is 100% accurate.

That, of course, is impossible.

And so we must instead rely on a prison system. Expensive? Yes, but that's the price of a free society.

Posted by: Emlyn | June 26, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Here I disagree with Obama.

Child rape surely is disgusting.

But the possibility of the death penalty
sure is an incentive to get rid of the
witness/victim.

Posted by: Marcaurelius | June 26, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Nobody is going agree with their candidate on every single position, you have to understand that. Instead you must be electing someone who is intelligent enough and speaks for that majority of what you stand for. I respect Obama for his ability to always stand up for what he believes in, rather than always taking the liberal or always taking the conservative position. Folks, you don't just have to follow scripts written for you: you are allowed to think for yourself. Let's also be clear that Obama has been very consistent and forthright on his position on this issue.

Posted by: Isiah Thomas | June 26, 2008 3:38 AM | Report abuse

While I can see why an action that does not kill anyone, or is not intended to kill anyone, can be said to not merit a death penalty, the Court's majority opinion leaves a LOT to be desired, that's for sure! OsiSpeaks[dot]com

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | June 26, 2008 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Thank God, Reason won over Anger & Hatred in the Supreme Court Again.

Obama, You hit the target.
There are circumstances in every criminal case that must not be overlooked and because MAN is fallible, we must analyze each circumstance before reaching a life decision. No more "One size fits all" sex offender Laws.

Thank you Jesus for the Supreme Court Victory This Date.

Posted by: TAFAH | June 26, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

I have already sent Obama a little money for his campaign. No more. After today's wavering, he'll have to get elected with my vote but without my money. He's started acting waaaay too much like a old-school politician. Me no likee.

Posted by: Markie | June 26, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Sign the Form 180 waiver, OLD Songbird "Make it a Hundred" McBush. Kerry signed it.

What are you hiding?

We know you graduated at the bottom of your Class of 1958, 894 out of 899. What the heck were you doing at the US Naval Academy to graduate so low? Was it Honor, Duty, and Getting Some Everyday?

Maybe, this website will provide us with some answers.

http://www.usvetdsp.com/jan08/mccain_military_record.htm

Posted by: Why would a war hero hide his Military Records, Old Songbird Traitor McBush? | June 26, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line, Obama supporters need to understand Obama's positions and policies. Also don't believe the media when they use terms like Obama is the "most liberal Senator in senate" or that "he is more leftist than Ted Kennedy".
I encourage people who support or want to support Obama to go to his website and research his voting records or read his books.

This election cycle is throwing a lot people off with distinctions like conservative and liberal.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | June 25, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse


Obama wrote in his recent memoir that he thinks the death penalty "does little to deter crime." But he supports capital punishment in cases "so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment."

In Illinois, Obama won respect from both sides of the aisle for his consistent position.

In proposing changes, Obama met repeatedly with officials and advocates on all sides. He nudged and cajoled colleagues fearful of being branded soft on crime, as well as death-penalty opponents worried that any reform would weaken efforts to abolish capital punishment.

Obama's signature effort was a push for mandatory taping of interrogations and confessions. It was opposed by prosecutors, police organizations and Ryan's successor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, who said it would impede investigators.

Working under the belief that no innocent defendant should end up on death row an no guilty one should go free, Obama helped get the bill approved by the Senate on a 58 to 0 vote. When Blagojevich reversed his position and signed it, Illinois became the first state to require taping by statute.

"Obviously, we didn't agree all the time, but he would always take suggestions when they were logical, and he was willing to listen to our point of view. And he offered his opinions in a lawyerly way," said Carl Hawkinson, the retired Republican chairman o the Judiciary Committee. "When he spoke on the floor of the Senate, he spoke out of conviction. You knew that, whether you agreed with him or disagreed with him."

Those posting herein, ready to throw Obama under the bus for "abondoning a no death penalty stance," simply do not know what they are talking about. Obama has always stood where he stands today.

Posted by: Big Red Cornhusker | June 25, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

While I am horrified and disgusted by those that commit child rape, I know that the decision of the Supreme Court is correct. The Court's responsibility is to strictly interpret the Constitution. The Court can't make certain exceptions while allowing certain other exceptions. Were that to happen, our system would become chaotic and the Supreme Court would need to rule on every case which would be impossible and rediculous.

I also agree that the death penalty needs to be limited, not expanded. Expanding the death penalty to child rape cases opens the door to using the death penalty in all rape cases. This could lead to using the death penalty for other crimes and soon we are killing more and more--it has to stop somewhere.

I expected this response from McCain. He will surely get a lot of mileage from this one and his friends at FOX and on AM Radio will be doing a big cheer for this one.

However, Obama comes across as a panderer and risks losing those of us that detest the death penalty and cheer any attempt to limit its use.

Be careful, Obama. You can't be for something and against it at the same time.

Posted by: TexasDem | June 25, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

While I have no personal experience with incarceration, some I know who do assure me that there are enough parents in prison to ensure that a child rapist will receive the ultimate punishment, regardless of any Supreme Court decision.
Personally, I agree with Obama, with appropriate caveats to ensure that convictions are accurately made. As far as I know, only Texans execute people who "might be guilty".

Posted by: OldUncleTom | June 25, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama is so arrogant that he feels free to pass judgement on arguments Supreme Court Justices have spent months crafting, after having spent 30 seconds inspecting those arguments, 1 hour with his pollster, and 20 minutes with his advisors. He has not yet pointed out to the public that in this case he finds himself in agreement with Justice Alito and opposed to Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg. The man is not ready for prime time.

Posted by: OfficerMancuso | June 25, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama's position in opposition to today's SCOTUS opinion drawing a bright line against the death penalty for child rape cases is entirely consistent with his principled views throughout his political career. He has NEVER opposed the death penalty --- he has always opposed its arbitrary and capricious application by state courts that have been inconsistent with the application of the law and in sentencing. That was the narrow and sharp distinction upon which he expressed his opposition today.

Obama does not fit the mold of a dogmatic liberal nor does he hew to some line that brooks no alternative to mandatory penalty.

He is a constitutional scholar and when the emotional reaction has subsided sufficiently to hear from other constitutional scholars -- you will find that they respect his reasoned position.

Bottom line -- he is not a left-wing crazy liberal and NEVER has been. Check his record in Illinois to confirm his position on the death penalty.

Posted by: GandalftheGrey | June 25, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that my favorite presidential candidate actually read the decision, and the dissent, before vocalizing what he felt sure would nab him the most votes. He is rapidly losing my favor.

Posted by: OfficerMancuso | June 25, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I guess child molesters and Supreme Court Judges have a lot in common. Both are unpopular, and consider themselves "misunderstood" victims.

Outrageous.

Posted by: Lower Than a Lawyer | June 25, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse


"I think actually Justice Breyer, Justice Ginsburg are very sensible judges...Justice Souter, who was a Republican appointee is a sensible judge."

- Obama on his model for a possible Supreme Court Justice nominee, 5/11/08

Obama likes these sorts of justices. Just not the decisions they reach. Way nuanced.

If Obama were caught with an empty jar of Skippy peanut butter and 7 naked, peanut butter slathered cub scouts, his backers would blame the cub scouts.

Posted by: WylieD | June 25, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

This will be a 50+1 state contest. Obama has changed positions faster than he plays the race card. Even his supporters don't know how to defend him. Obama attacks, so they attack because they have no ideal what he stands for. They just know he gives a great speech. It is funny watching Obama kick the left to the curb as he changes positions on FISA, campaign finance which they will come to regret because politics runs in cycles, so don't b1tch when the next republican skips public financing. Now, he is not even sure if he will have troops out of Iraq by the end of a first term. Bend over and inhale lefties.

Posted by: Realitycheck | June 25, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

In one day, we learn that our top judges support child rapist and murderers.

Posted by: Stunned | June 25, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I can understand some of the reactions here, given that the article twice calls Obama a "longtime critic of the death penalty." But in fact the position he today advocated is mentioned in one of his books and Obama has supported the death penalty in other egregious cases.

What the author of this article took as being a "longtime critic" is his advocacy for more protection against the use of the death penalty against the wrongly convicted. It turns out that there were some cases of this while Obama was in the Illinois legislature and his package of reforms helped quite a bit in that state.

Obama's statement today -- agree or disagree -- was 100% consistent with the view he's always taken.

Posted by: Ed | June 25, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Black And Iraq

Beginning in 1999 and continuing throughout the years leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Charlie Black's lobbying firm represented Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress (INC), the most vocal Iraqi group calling for regime change [Los Angeles Times, 7/14/04]. Chalabi clearly had a lot to gain personally from a U.S. invasion. Living in exile from his homeland and viewed by many in Washington "as a possible successor to Saddam Hussein," regime change would allow him to return home and take a leadership role in rebuilding Iraq [BBC, 10/3/02]. Charlie Black's lobbying firm pushed Chalabi's interests in Washington and allowed him to gain access to the highest levels of government. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the fact that Chalabi was meeting in the Pentagon with high-level officials pushing for an invasion of Iraq nine days after 9/11 [New Yorker, 6/7/04]. It has since come to light that Chalabi helped engineer the claims that Saddam Hussein had W.M.D. and is very much responsible for helping bring about the U.S. war in Iraq. He has also been accused of passing American secrets to Iran.

Charlie Black and his lobbying firm had a lot to gain from their connection to Chalabi, too. In the early days of the Iraq war, Black and his firm were touting their connection to Chalabi and their experience dealing in Iraq [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/1/03]. Black clearly saw his work prior to the 2003 invasion as laying the groundwork for new business opportunities for him and his clients. In August 2003, just months after the invasion, Black said:

Due to our past representation of the INC, we know and have worked with a lot of people who will be in the provisional government. We have a number of clients who are interested in doing business in Iraq. [National Journal, 8/2/03]

Black even said he was 'strongly considering' opening an office in Baghdad [National Journal, 8/2/03]. Over the past five years, Black and his firm have used their prior experience working in Iraq to help their clients gain lucrative contracts, and the firm has used its experience to draw new clients.

Black and Chalabi both got what they wanted. For Chalabi, it was a chance at power. For Black, it was endless war in a country he had more experience dealing than anyone else, allowing him to profit while American soldiers died. Now, it's clear that a McCain presidency would be in Black's best interest, as an endless war in Iraq and future wars across the region will continue to bring in the big bucks for him and his clients.
Black's Firm Worked for Ahmed Chalabi and the INC

Black and BKSH Represented Iraqi National Congress. "BKSH & Associates, headed by longtime Republican insider Charles Black, represents Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, his former exile group, in Washington." [Newsday, 10/5/03]

Black Touted Connections to Chalabi. "BKSH & Associates, the lobby firm run by GOP strategist Charlie Black, touts its connections to Ahmed Chalabi (until recently a Pentagon sweetheart), who formerly headed the exiled Iraqi National Congress and is currently on Iraq's governing council."[St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/1/03]

BKSH's Lobbying Gave Chalabi Inside Access to Bush Administration. Roll Call reported that Chalabi gets help from "BKSH & Associates, the Washington firm founded by Charles Black, a longtime ally of President Bush. Those contacts have paid off: At this year's state of the union address, Chalabi sat in the VIP Box with first lady Laura Bush. [Roll Call, 2/24/04]

BKSH Developed INC's Communications Strategy. BKSH "won a State Department contract to help develop a communications strategy for the Iraqi National Congress (INC) in the years before the war." BKSH had a lobbyist in Baghdad in 2003 "to help the INC build a communications operation in Iraq." [The Hill, 2/7/06]
Chalabi's Role Leading up to the War

Chalabi Helped Engineer WMD Claims and Pushed Bush Administration to Attack Iraq. Meeting at the Pentagon nine days after the 9/11 attacks, Chalabi urged the Defense Policy Board, which advised Secretary Rumsfeld, "to skip any intervention in Afghanistan, where the Taliban had harbored Al Qaeda, and to proceed immediately with targeting Iraq. A participant at the meeting, who asked not to be named, recalled that Chalabi made a compelling case that the Americans would have an easy victory there: 'He said there'd be no resistance, no guerilla warfare from the Baathists, and a quick matter of establishing a government.' Soon afterward, however, Chalabi began to clash with the Administration. Chalabi told me that he would have preferred to sell the war to the American people on philosophical grounds, as a fight against genocidal tyranny and in favor of bringing democracy to the Arab world, but that this approach was rejected by the Bush Administration. 'Look, our focus was on Saddam's crimes, moral crimes, genocide,' Chalabi said. 'We were not focused on W.M.D. The U.S. asked us. We didn't bring these people up; they asked us! They requested this help from us.'" [New Yorker, 6/7/04]

* Former BKSH Employee Helped Sell WMD Claims. Francis Brooke, who "worked with Mr. Chalabi since 1990 - first as a consultant paid by the CIA and most recently as a consultant for BKSH and Associates, a company run by Charlie Black, a Republican Party veterain," helped focus on WMDs in the case for war. "Francis Brooke said that nobody had ordered the I.N.C. to focus solely on W.M.D.s. 'I'm a smart man,' he said. 'I saw what they wanted, and I adapted my strategy.'" Brooke and "the I.N.C. was enlisted to promote the danger posed by Saddam's regime. Brooke said, 'I sent out an all-points bulletin to our network, saying, 'Look, guys, get me a terrorist, or someone who workers with terrorists. And, if you can get stuff on W.M.D., sent it!''" [New Yorker, 6/7/04; Sunday Telegraph, 6/6/04]

Chalabi Accused of Giving False Info to U.S. Leading up to War. "Well, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi is stirring controversy again. Once the favorite of the Bush administration, Chalabi is in the U.S. on a trip some see as an attempt to rebuild his reputation. Critics, including some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, vilify Chalabi for allegedly feeding false pre-war intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons." [CNN, 11/14/05]

Chalabi Helped Spur U.S. Invasion with False Information. Knight Ridder described Chalabi as "the former exile who helped spur the U.S.-led invasion by feeding false intelligence to Washington about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction, and who returned to Iraq after Saddam's fall to craft himself into a political leader." [Knight Ridder, 1/14/06]
Chalabi's Shady Character

Chalabi Investigated for Passing American Secrets to Iran. The FBI invsestigated Chalabi, raiding his home and his office, "for allegedly passing classified information to Iran." According to CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "The FBI assistant director, John Miller, just put out a statement the other day saying they've interviewed a lot of people on the accusation that Ahmed Chalabi may have provided Iran with classified information about U.S. codes, code breaking equipment." [CNN, 11/14/05]

Chalabi Wanted for Fraud in Jordan. According to CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "He makes it clear he doesn't like the government of King Abdullah because he's wanted in Jordan for fraud. Supposedly, accused of stealing some $50 million over the year[s]." [CNN, 11/14/05]
Charlie Black: War Profiteer?

Black's Firm Involved "Pushing for the War." "BKSH had a special interest in Iraq. The firm was a key member of the coterie of talking heads, lobbyists, and politicians pushing for the war in Iraq that centered around Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC), the anti-Saddam exile group, which was itself a BKSH client." [Washington Monthly, 6/1/05]

* Black's Firm Compared to Operators in Gold Rush. "In the gold rush of 1849, they say, it was not the miners who got rich, but the operators who sold the picks and the shovels and the wagons and the denim. So it was in Iraq, with the likes of Peg Bartel, the INC, and BKSH." [Washington Monthly, 6/1/05]

Black's Comments Show he Saw Iraq as a Personal Money-Maker for him and his Clients. "Over the past four years, BKSH has been boosting the interests of the Iraqi National Congress, whose leader, Ahmed Chalabi, was a key anti-Saddam opponent and now sits on the newly formed Iraqi Governing Council." "'Due to our past representation of the INC,' says Black, 'we know and have worked with a lot of people who will be in the provisional government. We have a number of clients who are interested in doing business in Iraq.' Black adds that his firm is 'strongly considering' opening an office in Baghdad." [National Journal, 8/2/03]

* Black Planned to Set up Iraq's First Lobbying Firm. According to the New Yorker, "Another top Republican lobbyist in Washington, Charlie Black, told me that his firm, BKSH & Associates, has plans to help Iraqis set up their own affiliated public-relations and government-relations firm; the company would become perhaps the first lobbying shop in Baghdad. Black is excited by the opportunities in Iraq, but he, too, has complaints. 'The problem in Iraq so far is it's slow and very confusing for people to figure out how to do business there,' he said. 'One week you go to Baghdad, and they say the decisions are being made at the Pentagon. Then you go to the Pentagon, and they say the decisions are being made in Baghdad. Only Halliburton is making money now!' He laughed. 'Is there too much cronyism? I just wish I could find the cronies.'" [The New Yorker, 2/16/04]

Black's Firm had Leg Up Because of Work for INC. Newsday reported, "BKSH & Associates, headed by longtime Republican insider Charles Black, represents Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, his former exile group, in Washington." Said one of lobbyists working for black: "What I think gives us a leg up, and I think we have a leg up, is the fact we have been working this issue for four-and-a-half years, and we know a lot of Iraqis that have been involved in the political process." [Newsday, 10/5/03]

Black's Clients Could Expect to be Well-Served in Seeking Iraq Contracts Because of Firm's History in Iraq. According to Energy Compass, "BKSH Associates is attracting similar interest. The company, which says its lobbyists include individuals who have worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations, has over the years promoted the interests of Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Since Chalabi and other INC members are on the governing council, BKSH's clients can expect to be well-served. They include, among others, Fluor, which has bid for work in Iraq, as well as US telecoms and engineering firms." [Energy Compass, 10/16/03]

Black's Firm has Represented 8 of Top 60 Defense Contractors. Charlie Black's firm, BKSH, has lobbied for 8 (or roughly 13%) of the top 60 companies receiving DOD contracts during 2007, including the top DOD contractor (Lockheed Martin) and six of the top 16 contractors. BKSH has represented Lockheed Martin, ranked first with over $36 billion in FY 2006 defense revenue; United Technologies, ranked 10th with over $7 billion in contracts; Thales, ranked 11th with nearly $7 billion in contracts; General Electric, ranked 14th, with over $4.5 billion in defense contracts; Honeywell, ranked 15th with $4.4 billion in contracts; Rolls-Royce, ranked 16th with over $4 billion in contracts; Harris, ranked 38th with $1.5 billion in contracts; and NEC, ranked 59th with over $700 million in contracts. [Army Times, accessed 5/16/08; Senate Lobbyist Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

* Lockheed Paid Black's Firm Over $625,000 Since 2002. Between 2002 and 2007, Lockheed Martin has paid Black's lobbying firm at least $627,500 for to lobby the Department of Defense, the CIA, the Office of Management and Budget, the House and the Senate. Black himself is listed as one of the lobbyists working on Lockheed's behalf for a portion of the firm's work. All of the lobbying done by the firm for Lockheed was on defense issues. [Analysis of Senate Lobbyist Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

* United Technologies Paid Black's Firm $650,000 since 2003. Since the middle of 2003, United Technologies has paid Black's lobbying firm $650,000 to lobby on its behalf. Charlie Black is listed as having personally handled this client. [Analysis of Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

* Thales Inc. Paid Black's Firm $935,000 Since 2000. Between 2000 and the middle of 2007, Thales Inc. paid Charlie Black's lobbying firm $935,000 to lobby on its behalf. The firm has charged the contractor higher fees since the beginning of the Iraq war. From 2000-2003, the firm charged an average of just over $120,000. Since then, the firm has charged an average of approximately $160,000 per year. [Analysis of Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

* General Electric Paid Black's Firm Nearly $1 Million Between 1999 And 2008. Since 1999, General Electric and General Electric Capital Services have paid Charlie Black's lobbying firm between $940,000 and $980,000 to lobby on its behalf. [Analysis of Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

* Honeywell Paid Black's Firm $140,000 Between 2000 And 2001. Between 2000 and 2001, Honeywell paid Black's lobbying firm $140,000 for its services. [Analysis of Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

* Rolls-Royce Paid Black's Firm At least $240,000 from 1999-2001. Between 1999 and 2001, Rolls-Royce paid Black's lobbying firm between $240,000 and $250,000. [Analysis of Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

* Harris Corp. Paid Black's Firm $40,000 In 2006. In 2006, Harris Corp. paid Charlie Black's lobbying firm $40,000 for lobbying services. [Analysis of Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

* NEC Paid Black's Firm $660,000 Between 2001 and 2005. Between 2001 and 2005, NEC USA, the U.S. branch of the Japanese defense contractor, paid Charlie Black's lobbying firm $660,000 to lobby Congress and the Department of Homeland Security. Charlie Black personally worked on the account. [Analysis of Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

Four Black Clients Got Lucrative Iraq Contracts. An analysis of the Center for Public Integrity's (CPI) list of Iraq contractors and of the Senate's Lobbyist Disclosure Database shows that four of BKSH's clients have received lucrative government contracts for Iraq reconstruction. According to CPI, BKSH client Fluor has received over $3.7 billion in Iraq contracts; Harris Corporation has received $165 million; General Electric has received an unknown amount; and new client Blackwater - the notorious security firm - has received over $21 million. [Center for Public Integrity, accessed 2/29/08; Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 2/29/08]

Black Helped Fluor Corporation Become Top Contractor. "Through his lobbying firm, BKSH & Associates (a division of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller), Black represents Fluor Corporation, an engineering and construction firm that is one of the top contractors for post-war reconstruction in Iraq."

* Fluor Knowingly Over-Charged DOD And Dept. Of Energy. The American Prospect reported, "Last November, Fluor agreed to pay the government $12.5 million to settle a whistleblower suit alleging that the company had knowingly overbilled the Departments of Defense and Energy on contracts for tens of millions of dollars of illegal costs, including executive bonuses, land investments, construction and building improvements, luxury condos, fine art, a Mercedes driven by the company's president, and an antique Chippendale chair." [The American Prospect, 1/2006]

BKSH Lobbied For Firm That Handled Propaganda Articles In Iraqi Newspapers. The Hamilton Spectator reported, "The Lincoln Group, a previously little-known business intelligence company headed by a heretofore little known young Briton and Oxford graduate, Christian Bailey, now at the centre of controversy surrounding the Bush administration's covert propaganda war in Iraq. It was recently revealed that Bailey's company got the lion's share of a $100-million contract from Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defense for buying space in Iraqi newspapers to place deliberately one-sided stories written by U.S. 'psy-ops' troops." Additionally, the Lincoln Group was paid $20 million to place misleading stories in Anbar providence about U.S. forces running up to Iraqi elections. "The Lincoln Group has Republican links. Its lobbyists include Charles Black, an adviser to Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr. and Marlin 'Buzz' Hefti, a former Pentagon director." [Hamilton Spectator, 1/7/06]

* Black's Firm Hired By "Psychological Warfare" Firm. Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter reported, "BKSH & Assoc. has been hired by the Lincoln Group. One of three firms selected last month by the U.S. Special Operations Command, to wage psychological warfare on behalf of the Pentagon in Iraq and other hot spots." [Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter, 7/27/05]

Wye Oak Technology Hired BKSH To help Contractor Get Contracts In Post-Invasion Iraq. Washington Monthly reported, "In April of 2003, after the United States invaded Iraq, Stoffel retained the lobbying powerhouse BKSH, the firm headed by the influential Republican lobbyist Charles Black, to provide 'assistance in defense contract procurement,' for Wye Oak." [Washington Monthly, 6/1/05]

* Wye Oak Was "Proudly And Openly In Iraq To Make A Fortune." According to Washington Monthly, Dale Sfoffel, the founder and head of Wye Oak Technologies, "was a self-professed man of action, who was proudly and openly in Iraq to make a fortune." [Washington Monthly, 6/1/05]

Blackwater Enlisted Black To Repair Reputation. The International Herald Tribune reported, "Blackwater Worldwide, its reputation in tatters and its lucrative government contracts in jeopardy, is mounting an aggressive legal, political and public relations counterstrike." The work was "landed by BKSH...led by Charles Black Jr." A "BKSH associate had worked briefly in Iraq and met several Blackwater personnel." [International Herald Tribune, 11/2/07]

Posted by: Why would a "war hero" hide his Military Records, Old Songbird McBush? | June 25, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

The USa is a crazy nation. First it condemns violence by a convicted rapist and then it declares that he should be killed. I just cannot understand how this bible bashing nation, which insists that it is close to God and Jesus, can ignore the ten commandments especially that one that says: 'Thou shall not kill'. Then again, time and time again, the USA proves that its agendas are not convincing or bound by predictable principles.

By the way, given that the USA has convicted, imprisoned and execcuted many innocent prisoners over the years what effort have those who support capital punishment put into the idea of being cautious and how do they propose to rectify these injustices. It seems to me that the hang 'em high vigilantes have given the matter no thought and that provided that they get their state vengeance and murders from time to time their blood lust is satisfied. I have not heard one supporter of capital punishment explain how the state will rectify its injustices. I have not heard one of these people show any remorse when the state kills an innocent person.

The idea that the state does not need to kill people or behave oppressively has escaped the USA which has proved that it can be very unintelligent and cruel and that it has no hope of introspection or or changing its ways.

Well done USA!

Obama should slip the noose around his own neck for 5 minutes while he contemplates what will have if executions happen to those who are wrongly convicted because they are innocent.

Americans talk of what they 'believe'. Unfortunately, they do not seem to support their beliefs with weighty arguments. I guess the blood lust will continue unabated because you want to kill someone from time to time.

Posted by: Robert James | June 25, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama is growing on me. Correct, Obama.

The horrific act of raping a child clearly warrants the state electing death as an option.

As a law officer seeing the shattered lives of the young, I can clearly state that the average prison inmate has more of a sense of justice for child molester than any Federal Judge.

The recent revelation of the 9th Circuit Appeals Judge with the porno site, coupled with Souter's odd behavior and taste for porn makes me wonder if we have allowed our Congress to be a crime sanctuary, and our Federal Courthouses to be porn web hosts.

This is outrageous.

Shame Kennedy. Shame Ginsberg. Shame Souter. Shame Breyer. Shame Stevens.

There are things worse than death, and being raped as a child is at the top of the list. This decision is idiotic.

What next, Souter? NAMBLA membership?

A dog has more protection under the law than our children.

Posted by: Republican Moderate | June 25, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

If you're outraged and sickened by the five liberal Supreme Court justices' ruling in favor of child rapists, then you've just had a preview of the kind of Supreme Court Obama would create.

Such a Supreme Court wouldn't stop at ruling in favor of child rapists. You'll have gay marriage as the Constitutional law of the land, unrestricted abortion on demand, and terrorists elevated to de facto US citizenship.

Posted by: DaTourist | June 25, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

As much as I hate to say this, I agree with the judges decision... It takes more, sometimes much more, than a million dollars to kill a man by our system, of justice for all...It cost about nine hundred thousand to hold a man for life! You do the math, the rapist does not get out of prison, to rape more children...

Posted by: Ceci | June 25, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

So, But...Obama is AGAINST the death penalty ...except for child rape? Or?
What the heck is he saying?
Next week he'll say something different, deny everything and blabber incoherantly "Well...zabb....ummmmm....whitey....laws are, um, different....zabbbbbbb...."
Then when he's Prez he'll pardon all Black killers....unless they raped 'Protected classes' of children.

Posted by: Rape but NOT Murder? | June 25, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Castrate all Rapists, Execute repeat offenders, Execute all Killers

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Pardon me if I don't depend on Barack Obama to appoint Supreme Court justices who will strengthen the four conservatives to preserve the death penalty, to reverse the current ruling favoring child rapists, to outlaw abortion on demand, and to maintain traditional marriage between one woman and one man.

Obama's just a lying liberal. That's what liberals do. They lie.

Posted by: DaTourist | June 25, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

What exactly is Obama's "opposition" to the the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of child rapists worth?

If Obama would appoint COMPASSIONATE AND EMPATHETIC Supreme Court justices like the five who had compassion and empathy for child rapists, then we'll immediately have a ruling to abolish the death penalty.

Obama should be slapped!

Posted by: DaTourist | June 25, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Well so Obama is for the death penalty...in circumstances he feels are justified. So much for the compasionate liberal. Where else will he change his mind... this month?

Posted by: Tom | June 25, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

"Problem is, the system drags on for so many years, when in fact swift punishment for these beasts is what is warranted. And they cannot be cured."

Curing these beasts,IMHO, is a moot issue.

I'm heartily for the death penalty for them ... and a slew of other crimes.

Posted by: Chuckamok | June 25, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't vote for a liberal like Obama, but I might respect Obama if he would just be honest and say he will appoint the kind of Supreme Court justices who will abolish the death penalty.

That would be honest.

But who ever accused Obama of honesty or loyalty?

Posted by: DaTourist | June 25, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. Obama was for public financing before he was against it. He was against wiretapping before he was for it. He was against the death penalty before he was for it. I'm just getting a headache trying to keep everything straight.

Posted by: John | June 25, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest: if Obama had stated "ice cream is good. Everyone who wants ice cream should have some", he'd be pilloried by most of the anti-Obama posters here.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 25, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama's opposition and Obama's appointment of one more liberal Supreme Court justice would bring a speedy ruling to abolish the death penalty as unconstitutional.

Obama's a two-face! A liar! Can't be trusted!

Posted by: DaTourist | June 25, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Does one single person (including Obamaniacs) believe that Obama would appoint Federal judges and Supreme Court justices who would strengthen the minority of four conservative justices in this ruling?

Who dat! Who dat! Who dat! Who dat say dat!

Posted by: DaTourist | June 25, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

All eyes nose is it took a WHITE-WOMAN of low standards and lacking morals two creates the first Black presidential candidte. How do ya like dat?

I axe you, ain't dat some shet? Now dare be a nappy headed hoe. Someone say IMUS

Bubba

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

What kind of POW would loyal Barack Obama have been?

Would Obama have been as loyal to the USA as Obama was to Jeremiah Wright and Public Campaign Financing?

Whoa, mule!

Somebody would have had to frag that loyal POW!

Posted by: DaTourist | June 25, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Pandering and flip flopping you can believe it. Or not believe in. Or whatever.

Posted by: John | June 25, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Yet Obama is ON THE RECORD as saying he would appoint Supreme Court justices who have EMPATHY AND COMPASSION FOR PEOPLE, and it appears that the liberal majority of five SC justices had EMPATHY AND COMPASSION for the child rapists, but not for the raped children.

I think we know that Obama would appoint justices who would increase the liberal majority, so the two-faced bastid is just blowing smoke rings.

Yeah, Obama smokes like a fiend in private!

Smoke! Smoke! Smoke that cigarette!

Posted by: DaTourist | June 25, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

"The man I voted for has been kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a doppelganger. I hope they return him safe and sound after the experimentation is done. I miss the candidate who followed his moral compass."

I second that post. Extremely disappointing to hear O's caving to the political winds lately. Bring back the pre-Presidential campaign O.

Posted by: MerryJoe | June 25, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

A child who has been raped by an adult will have mental and physical scars for the rest of their lives so I can agree that the death penalty could be warranted. Especially since DNA can prove they were/are guilty.

Problem is, the system drags on for so many years, when in fact swift punishment for these beasts is what is warranted. And they cannot be cured. And to add insult to injury the guilty get all their needs met at tax payers expense, while the victims of crime have to go it alone.

Posted by: MotherLodeBeth | June 25, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

The man I voted for has been kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a doppelganger. I hope they return him safe and sound after the experimentation is done. I miss the candidate who followed his moral compass.

Posted by: qimugtua | June 25, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

THE SUPREME COURT GOT THIS ONE RIGHT ON THE LAW. BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE PUT IN A FOOTNOTE: "THE CHILD'S FATHER CAN KILL THE CHILD RAPIST, AND THE GOVERNMENT NEEDN'T COMPLAIN."

Posted by: benighse | June 25, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Now Obama is pandering to the "Execute 'em all" law and order crowd. This guy is all over the map. Just another politician.

Posted by: John | June 25, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Where has Obama's logic gone? The rape of a child, while a heinous and harmful crime, is trumped by the egregious murders that normally recieve the death penalty.

Being adamantly against capital punishment, I am deeply saddened to hear this stance from Obama. The death penalty has no part in "Hope". Obama promises "change we can believe in", but maintaining the death penalty is a relic of the past that deserves no place in modern America.

Posted by: Allison | June 25, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama is most confused.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"But, when a defenseless child is the victim of rape....I don't know, I might just sign up to be the executioner. Most parents I think would feel this way."

Agreed. That's a normal reaction. But think for a moment...Does this mean that potentially every person (step-dad, uncle,scout leader, priest, teacher) who sexually abuses (rapes) a child could conceivably get the death penalty? Now you could say it would only apply where awful, additional physical violence was committed against the child as well. But psychological torment (threats to kill the child or his/her family) is heinous as well. Where would the courts draw the line? Death row would be a mighty crowded place.

Posted by: cadbury | June 25, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

This ain't no pander. States have the death penalty and they should be able to decide when to use it.

Look, the stakes are too high this time around. We can't allow anyone to Willie Horton or swiftboat Barack Obama. The country is counting on him to win. The world is counting on him to win. We can not afford 4 more years of destructive George W. Bush policies.

Posted by: Ed Lynch | June 25, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama's position is crystal clear: He oppposes the Supreme courts decision and supports the death penalty if a state court decides that it is appropriate.

Michael
Sydney, Australia

Posted by: Michael Pfeiffer | June 25, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I do believe there are crimes that deserve the death penalty.

Is it a deterrent? No.

But what is the point of incarceration? In most cases, the point is punishment with rehabilitation for the offenders.

I just read about a murder of a woman who was heinously tortured for a day before she finally died. Horribly tortured (I won't go into detail, but it is very gruesome). There is no rehabilitation for someone like the person who did this crime, and when convicted, this person can never be returned to society. This is a crime befitting the death penalty.

Based on the amount of revidicism in child sexual assaults, and based on the evidence in individual cases (particularly for repeat offenders), I agree with Obama that individual states should have the right to decide the stiffest penalty.

Posted by: Susan | June 25, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

disappointed, you're a better person than I am. Since I live in a solid Blue state, I may just sit out the top spot this year.
I already voted for Mondale, Dukakis and Kerry. I think 3 "lesser-evils" is enough for me for now.

Posted by: lb | June 25, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

This is another chance for Obama to appear conservative by staking a stand that most Americans agree with. It is similar to his statements against irresponsible fatherhood. It is just another way for to say something but to actually say nothing.

He really is a new type of politician. You can tell by the way he stands up to the advocates of irresponsible fatherhood and child rape. (sarcasm)

Posted by: danielhancock | June 25, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama is just trying to convince those "bitter" folks who "cling to their guns" that he supports the death penalty for child rapists.

OR

Obama is just trying to convince folks who support the death penalty for child rapists that he is "bitter" and "clinges to his guns".

OR

Obama is just trying to convince child rapists who "cling to their guns" that he supports the death penalty for "bitter" folks.

OR

Whatever.

Posted by: berrymonster | June 25, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

And the Obama fans threaten Hillary supporters with choices he'd make on the Supreme Court and that they'd be better than John Mc Cain's. What? Expanding the death penalty? This man is nuts, we shouldn't have a death penalty at all!

Posted by: Lynn E | June 25, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Right, most parents would feel that way, because they're acting out of the emotion on revenge. The whole point of the court system is that it should not be emotional. You shouldn't be thinking of your little daughter when you're deciding the fate of a man / woman in front of you.

Courts should be rational, and emotion shouldn't enter into it. I'm very disappointed in Obama, but clearly it's very hard to win the presidency without tacking way right on these sorts of issues, so I'll take it.

While I wish he were perfect, I understand he isn't. With Justices Stevens and Ginsburg getting up there in years, I'm willing to forgive a few errors.

Posted by: disappointed | June 25, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse


"...if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well defined circumstances...."

Narrow and limited.

So, like, no death penalty for jaywalking, spitting on the sidewalk, or shooting Apu dead during a holdup down at the Kwik-E-Mart.

Wow. His wisdom is blinding.

Posted by: WylieD | June 25, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for Obamam

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

((I can understand this kind of sentiment for I too am against the death penalty in most cases. But, when a defenseless child is the victim of rape....I don't know, I might just sign up to be the executioner.))

And there we have the difference between justice and vigilantism. Unfortunately, Obama has demonstrated which mindset he chooses to court and/or fears most.

Posted by: lb | June 25, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

JohnAdams1 wrote:

"Obama does not have any convictions at all."

Yes he does: Say and do anything to get elected. According to his followers, that's a nuanced yet pragmatic stance with just a hint of lemon.

Posted by: WylieD | June 25, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama is seeking to appear more conservative by posturing with this opinion on a matter that has already received a court verdict. Between this and his opting out of Federal funding, I have had Democratic friends tell me that they are no longer enchanted with this junior senator. And just thinking of who he might appoint to the Supreme Court should be enough for any moderate or conservative voter to reject his slick rhetoric.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | June 25, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Saying you support the death penalty under "narrow circumstances" basically affirms that you believe the state has the right to take a life. Unacceptable, at least to me.

I'm disappointed, to say the least. I'll probably still vote for him, but with the knowledge that he is not really different from any other politician.

Sad.

Posted by: Jim Carlson | June 25, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama for President!

Posted by: JBE | June 25, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

C.R.E.A.M wrote:

"I wonder how many of Obama's young, enthusiastic, college student supporters are suddenly realizing that the ten bucks they sent their new Messiah would have been better spent on weed and Doritos..."

Around 0.

Lemmings, they'll rationalize and happily follow this guy over the cliff. And that $10 they contributed, it was charged to the credit card their parents cover. No big deal.

Posted by: WylieD | June 25, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

David, while you are correct that Obama supported the Illinois Republican governor's stance on the death penalty, it was a moratorium, not a ban. Obama's position then, as it is now, is that there are some crimes so beyond the pale that the death penalty is warranted. I happen not to agree with that position, but he has been consistent in his view on this subject.

Posted by: Swampy | June 25, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

not to worry, he will soon change his mind...doesn't he always...

Posted by: Dwight | June 25, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

wow... one more reason I am with this candidate. I too hate the death penalty. It just bothers me fundamentally. I lived in Europe for awhile and I used to get questioned a lot on this kinda anti-civilization thing. But it did force me to think... and really, I think child rape is up there with taking a life. I now kinda look at a death penalty case and I don't see it as the death penalty but individual cases. So like a Dalmer or that other guy who dressed like a clown, they have to be removed from the planet. Society has spit them up and we must dispose of them. They deep down want this as well.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | June 25, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse


And if the victim is 9? How about 11?

Obama has so lost his bearings. "Whatever it takes" long ago replaced "Change you can believe in."

Fortunately for Obama, his pod people supporters have similarly tossed out their moral compasses.

Posted by: WylieD | June 25, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

C'mon folks. Even the Catholic Church - no slouch when it comes to opposing the death penalty - teaches that in some admittedly narrow (and, to be fair, undefined) set of circumstances, there may be cases where it is an appropriate sanction. Rare cases, to be sure, but they do at least hypothetically exist. The posters are, in my view, mostly reacting to the fact that Obama is taking a carefully nuanced position instead of a yes/no, up/down, right/wrong, all/nothing, black/white position. Heaven help us if our pols might actually show some thoughtfulness or depth of analysis from time to time!

Posted by: MikeyA | June 25, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how many of Obama's young, enthusiastic, college student supporters are suddenly realizing that the ten bucks they sent their new Messiah would have been better spent on weed and Doritos...

Posted by: C.R.E.A.M. | June 25, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama is correct: capital punishment for crimes other than murder (such as rape, espionage, and treason) passes constitutional muster. We can decide that it's not a good idea to have the death penalty for these crimes, but the Constitution does not forbid it.

Right or wrong, I am overjoyed to see yet another move to the center by Obama. Perhaps now some of his cult-like (or at least fanboy-like) supporters will begin to see that he's not anything new or different, that he's just a typical Democrat. He's not a vessel for your hopes and dreams. He's not going to usher in a new era. He's a politician.

Most of us knew that all along. Unfortunately, Obama promised his supporters a rose garden, and his supporters, being too naive to see through empty "audacilicious hopey changitude" language, bought it. Cognitive dissonance is never fun!

Posted by: AK | June 25, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama makes no sense. Is he against the death penalty in all cases or just in the case of rape of children under the age of 8 even if no death occurs.

Obama does not have any convictions at all.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | June 25, 2008 6:44 PM

=========================
Read much? He clearly states that he is against the death penalty except in cases where the offense so heinous and egregous that it cries for the ultimate punishment.

I can understand this kind of sentiment for I too am against the death penalty in most cases. But, when a defenseless child is the victim of rape....I don't know, I might just sign up to be the executioner.

Most parents I think would feel this way.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord! A position to the right of this right-wing court! I also have a daughter, so I can understand the visceral reaction.

What's next with this guy?

Posted by: cadbury | June 25, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Shame on you, Barack Obama. I'm a supporter, but this is a blatant attempt to look tough. But instead you just look like a regular politician when you do stuff like this.

After reading your eloquent rebuffs to Dobson, this response to the supreme court is just bizzare.

Who would Jesus kill?

Posted by: chris | June 25, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama in illinios helped end the death penalty. He bragged about it during the primary. He has no convictions. He wouldn't put out a statement this morning. He had to be asked about it. McCain put out a statement right away.

Posted by: David | June 25, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I concur with the first post. A shameful pander or a misguided American-style revenge mentality - either way, he's on the wrong side of the civilized world. What a shame - win the primary and run to the right.

Posted by: Thomas | June 25, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, how disappointing. How has his head not turned inside out from the inherent contradictions in his stance? This is one of a handful of GOOD decisions this SCOTUS has handed down lately, and a wise, fair interpretation of the constitution. Whether one supports capital punishment or not, it is clear that child rape (esp. considering all of the rape convictions that have been overturned) is not death-worthy.
Oh oh Obama...

Posted by: deb | June 25, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse


Obama makes no sense. Is he against the death penalty in all cases or just in the case of rape of children under the age of 8 even if no death occurs.

Obama does not have any convictions at all.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | June 25, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another pander.
First the broken promise on public financing. Then the cave on retroactive telecom immunity. Now this careful triangulation to justify a barbarous act of state-sponsored homicide that the rest of the civilized world long ago rejected.

Obama should be glad he didn't have to vote on the Iraq war resolution. After the last few days, I no longer have any confidence that his actions match his brave words.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

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