Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
DES MOINES, Iowa – A video the Barack Obama campaign produced last year to solicit the endorsement of an Iowa-based advocacy group has generated more than 3 million page views on YouTube, fueled by chain e-mails claiming the clip is evidence the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee intends to disarm the U.S..
Florida’s St. Petersburg Times received an e-mail that warned of Obama’s plan to “unilaterally disarm our nation” and stated, “You do not have to check Snopes to determine if this is true or false. … Watch and listen to Obama’s own words.”
WND also received an e-mail suggesting the Democratic National Committee is supposedly pressuring YouTube to remove the video clip before it leaks out to too many viewers and damages Obama’s chances of winning the presidency.
The video, however, was originally posted on YouTube by the Obama campaign itself on Oct. 22, 2007, and has been seen – in its various repeat appearances on the site – well over 3 million times.
Does it give evidence of a plan to disarm the U.S.?
In the clip, Obama pledges to “cut tens of billions of dollars” in defense spending, “cut investments” in missile defense systems and “slow our development of future combat systems.”
You can view the candidate’s promises in his own words and full context below:
In addition to budget cuts and curtailing weapons research and development, Obama concludes the video by pledging to refrain from developing new nuclear weapons, to negotiate with Russia to take intercontinental missiles “off hair-trigger alert” and to “achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.”
Whether such promises constitute an endangering level of disarmament or not is a subject hotly debated on YouTube itself.
One viewer commented, “How will you ‘protect the American people’ without a powerful defence (sic)? R & D is mandatory to keep ahead of the threats, and develop new and better ways to support and protect our troops when they go in harms (sic) way.”
Another viewer agreed with Obama’s plan, saying, “Wow. So that’s where all my money is going. … Man we are over-kill when it come (sic) to producing a lot of weapons for this country.”
Obama originally made the video clip to garner the endorsement of Caucus4Priorities, an Iowa-based group that would likely agree with the latter viewer that advocates shifting federal funds from defense spending to social programs.
The Democratic candidate thanked the group in the video’s opening remarks.
The video was made last October as Obama was attempting to win Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus. Obama pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards to win the caucus but lost the Caucus4Priorities endorsement, as the organization backed Edwards instead.