HRC's campaign just released a fact sheet on Obama's 129 Present Votes.
Today, Sen. Obama's campaign held a conference call to defend his record of voting present on choice issues. But the Obama campaign failed to address the fact that Sen. Obama voted present 129 times on a wide array of issues, including choice, privacy for victims of sexual assault, and school violence. In fact, the Obama campaign claimed that Sen. Obama's present votes were part of a legislative strategy but failed to mention that Sen. Obama was the lone present vote on a number of key issues.
Sen. Obama's Present Votes By The Numbers
Sen. Obama voted 'present' 129 times while in the State Senate. [New York Times, 12/20/07]
In 1999, Sen. Obama voted 'present' more often than he voted 'no': According to state records, Obama voted 'present' 43 times in 1999, while voting 'no' just 29 times. [ilga.gov]
At least 36 times, Sen. Obama was either the only State Senator to vote present or was part of a group of six or fewer to vote that way. [New York Times, 12/20/07]
Other Present Votes of Interest:
Sen. Obama was the only State Senator to vote 'present' on a bill that sought to protect the privacy of sex-abuse victims, and the only state senator to not support the bill. [HB854, Passed 58-0-1, 05/11/99]
Sen. Obama was the only State Senator to vote 'present' on an adoption bill that imposed stricter requirements for parental fitness, and the only State Senator to not support the bill. [HB1298, Passed 57-0-1, 5/6/1999]
Sen. Obama voted 'present' on a bill that would increase penalties for the use of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. The bill called for the mandatory adult persecution of a minor at least 15 years of age being tried for using a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. [SB759, Passed 52-1-5, 3/25/1999]
Sen. Obama voted 'present' on a bill to prohibit the presence of adult sex shops near schools, places of worship, and day care facilities; bill allows local governments to regulate the presence of adult sex shops. [SB609, Passed 33-15-5, 3/29/2001]
Illinois Now on Obama's Present Votes On Choice:
During Sen. Obama's 2004 Senate campaign, the Illinois NOW PAC did not recommend the endorsement of Obama for U.S. Senate because he refused to stand up for a woman's right to choose and repeatedly voted `present' on important legislation.
As a State Senator, Barack Obama voted `present' on seven abortion bills, including a ban on 'partial birth abortion,' two parental notification laws and three 'born alive' bills. In each case, the right vote was clear, but Sen. Obama chose political cover over standing and fighting for his convictions.
"When we needed someone to take a stand, Sen. Obama took a pass," said Grabenhofer. "He wasn't there for us then and we don't expect him to be now."