Obama's campaign has the following at its Fight the Smears website:
Fact: Barack was never an ACORN trainer and never worked for ACORN in any other capacity.But, Sweetness and Light cites the following from Toni Foulkes, identified as being a Chicago ACORN leader and a member of ACORN's national board:
As Sen. Obama puts it, how did a skinny kid with a funny name become the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, with 53% of the statewide Democratic vote in a seven-person field?Interestingly, the link at the cited Social Policy journal for Toni Foulkes' article is non-existent, even though all other articles on that page and others have working links. So bear in mind I am taking Sweetness and Light at their word without independent verification. But it raises the question of why that article alone has no link in the journal, when all the others do have working links.
Obama started building the base years before. For instance, ACORN noticed him when he was organizing on the far south side of the city with the Developing Communities Project. He was a very good organizer. When he returned from law school, we asked him to help us with a lawsuit to challenge the state of Illinois’ refusal to abide by the National Voting Rights Act, also known as motor voter. Allied only with the state of Mississippi, Illinois had been refusing to allow mass-based voter registration according to the new law. Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won. Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5000 of them).
Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus, it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends.
In any event, there is ever so slight wiggle room here for Obama to claim he never worked for ACORN. From the above, it looks like he didn't draw a paycheck from them. But come on! -- by this ACORN board member's own admission, Obama showed up from 1992 through 2003 at "our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office." By any reasonable definition, contrary to Fight the Smears, Obama was indeed an ACORN trainer, even if he was an unpaid one.