07/16/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dennis Byrne's Obama Baloney

Dennis Byrne has a column today in Chicago Tribune that spouts the "baloney" he falsely accuses the Obama campaign of offering. Byrne begins by claiming that Obama "promised never" to reject public financing. This is utterly false, and I defy Byrne to offer a single example of Obama stating that he would never exceed the $84.1 million spending limits in the general election. Obama did promise to "pursue" an agreement with McCain that included restrictions on party spending where McCain has a clear advantage. But Obama never made an unconditional promise to take public funding.

Byrne give us more "baloney." He claims that Obama’s campaign is "disingenuous" for writing in a fundraising email, "we are at a disadvantage." To prove his case, Byrne cites a news story that Obama "probably will" raise more money than McCain. Perhaps Byrne ought to learn more about tenses before he falsely accuses people of lying. The Obama campaign email is correct that Obama began the general election campaign at a disadvantage. According to, the Republican National Committee has more than $53.5 million cash on hand, while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has less than $4 million. Would Byrne be willing to admit that a $50 million deficit might rationally be considered a "disadvantage" even if Obama manages to raise more money in the future?

Byrne accuses Obama’s campaign of "shading the truth" because "it implies that all the money comes from small contributions of $5, $10 or $20." Unless Byrne can come up with a single example where Obama’s campaign claimed that all of its money comes from $20 donations or less, he’s "shading the truth" and owes Obama–and his readers–an apology.

Byrne also engages in a particularly absurd kind of intellectual fraud by claiming that it doesn’t matter if Obama refuses donations from PACs and lobbyists because he takes money from "special interests." Byrne then gives us a long list of industries where the employees gave money to Obama. Everybody, including Byrne, works for an industry of one kind or another that has an interest in legislation. But an individual’s donation has nothing to do with the corporation and cannot be called "corporate contributors," as Byrne does. I challenge Byrne to identify a single donor to any campaign who would not qualify as a member of a "special interest" according to Byrne’s definition. If everyone is a "special interest," then the term is meaningless.

Finally, Byrne concludes his column by accurately reporting one fact which contradicts every smear he’s been trying to deploy against the Obama campaign. Byrne notes that in 2004, PACs provided one-tenth of the DNC’s total fundraising. The fact that Obama rejected party funding from PACs that were so important says a lot of his integrity, particularly because Obama could have allowed this funding without breaking the promise for his campaign. The fact that this is one of the few accurate statements in the column says a lot about Byrne’s integrity.

Crossposted at ObamaPolitics.