The Republican National Committee is sending out another round of automated anti-Obama calls that, somewhat remarkably, include segments from a controversial program that recently aired on Fox News.
In text messages sent to voters, the RNC instructs recipients to call a number to "know the facts" or risk losing "your freedoms this November 4th." Once dialed in, callers are read the standard text of the robocalls tying Obama to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers.
Then participants get a dose of the fair and balanced. The recording that viewers hear next is the final section of the "Obama & Friends: The History of Radicalism" special program that ran recently on Fox News. That show, quite famously, featured Sean Hannity interviewing Andy Martin, an "Internet journalist" who once called a judge a "crooked, slimy Jew" and advanced the conspiracy theory that "[w]e have not seen a valid Obama birth certificate."
Recipients of the call weren't subjected to Martin's take on Obama -- in which it was asserted that the Senator had once trained for a "radical overthrow" of the U.S. government. But they were treated to lines that appear to be from Stanley Kurtz, the National Review reporter who has gone to great lengths to dig up dirt on the Senator's time in Chicago, his connection to Ayers, and his ties to ACORN. The latter topic is the primary subject of the automated call, which was first reported by the New York Times.
"Up to now, we have been looking at this whole process from the top down. We have been seeing the Wall Street connection to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac connection. But if you look from the ground up, that's where ACORN has been the driving force. And Barack Obama has been with them every step of the way," says Kurtz. "I think understanding where Barack Obama is coming from would make any voter think twice about whether he is the right person to solve this problem."
The call ends with Hannity's declaring: "Obama's list of friends reads like a history of radicalism."
This is not the first time that the McCain campaign has used Fox News segments as a means of hammering Obama. In mid-September the cable network wrote a cease-and-desist letter to the Arizona Republican after his staff released a web ad, featuring correspondent Major Garrett.
UPDATE: Alex Conant of the RNC tells Ben Smith that the robocall is not from the Republican Party. The New York Times had reported that it was sanctioned by the McCain campaign because the call started off saying so. But the number at the end is apparently associated with many marketing complaints.