While IL state senator, Barack Obama voted “present” on a partial birth abortion ban, parental notification, and a package of 3 Born Alive Infant Protection bills, for which political heat has since forever risen, thank goodness.
Yesterday the Chicago Tribune discussed Hillary’s latest jab at Obama:

She also raised a new front on the issue of Obama’s use of “present” votes — rather than “yes” and “no” votes — on legislation when he was in the Illinois Senate, including on measures that dealt with Republican-led efforts to restrict abortion rights.


“A president can’t vote present. A president can’t pick and choose which challenges he or she will face,” Clinton said. “Instead of looking for political cover or taking a pass, we need a president who will take a stand and stand there and do whatever is necessary for their country.”
Obama has defended his “present” votes on abortion-related bills in the Illinois legislature, contending it was part of a strategy fashioned with abortion-rights advocates to help give some Illinois Senate Democrats political cover and to avoid looking harsh by casting “no” votes that would create a re-election risk….

But the Tribune earlier this year found few lawmakers remembered such a strategy and many of those who joined with Obama to vote present were, like him, in politically safe districts.
Obama’s campaign said he had received a perfect grade from abortion-rights advocates during his tenure in Springfield….

Oh, how I would LOVE Hillary Clinton, who voted yes on Born Alive as U.S. senator, to challenge Barack Obama on his “present” and “no” votes on Born Alive! But that’s an aside. Moving on…
The Chicago Sun-Times has a different take on the strategy:

On the abortion bills, legislators who supported women’s rights to the procedure were encouraged to vote “present” on bills that would have required parental notice before minors could obtain abortions and that would have barred what abortion foes call “partial-birth” abortions, a leading abortion-rights advocate said. The goal was to entice moderate Republicans and Democrats to also vote present, helping to defeat the bills.
“The poor guy is getting all this heat for a strategy we, the pro-choice community, did,” said Pam Sutherland, president and CEO of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council.

And liberal Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has reposted a column he wrote in 2004 when Obama’s cowardly “present” votes were an issue in his U.S. Senate primary:

If “present” sounds wimpy, that’s because it sometimes is…. [L]awmakers who anticipate a tough re-election challenge will vote “present” on a controversial bill they oppose so as not to give their prospective opponents a good club to bash them with.
Obama, however, was in a safe district and never faced a serious challenge for his legislative seat. He had no need to shy from hard-line stands on gun control and abortion rights….
Why would he then vote “present” instead of a resounding “no” on certain bills advanced by lawmakers opposed to abortion rights?
“To provide cover for other Democrats who were shaky on the issue in an effort to convince them not to vote `yes,'” Sutherland said. “The idea is to recruit a group to vote `present’ that includes legislators who are clearly right with the issue.”
Sutherland said this tactic makes the “present” vote look less like a hedge or a cop-out and more like a constitutional concern or other high-minded qualm.

So here were described opposite reasons for Obama’s cowardly votes. Which was it, to give himself political cover from voting a politically unpopular “no,” since most of the public, even pro-aborts, support parental notification and oppose partial birth abortion and infanticide; or to entice wobbly legislators from “yes” to “no”?
Either way, all this demonstrates that Obama is beholden to abortion special interest groups over populous opinion.
Revisiting this line from Zorn’s 2004 piece was verrrry interesting:

Sutherland said this tactic makes the “present” vote look less like a hedge or a cop-out and more like a constitutional concern or other high-minded qualm.

With that in mind, here is what supposed constitutional expert Obama said on the IL Senate floor as the LONE vocal opponent to Born Alive in 2001:

… I just want to suggest… that this is probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny.
Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place.

His argument, was, of course, absurd. I think now Planned Parenthood simply handed him his talking points.

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