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Obama Manager: ACORN Criticism A "Cynical Ploy" To Suppress Turnout

From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(TOLEDO, OHIO) - The Obama campaign was forced to defend their voter registration efforts today, after the McCain campaign continued to the link them to ACORN. Earlier today, the group acknowledged that there has been some voter registration fraud, but that state election officials are required to "weed out" bad applications.

Both campaign manager David Plouffe and general counsel Bob Bauer vehemently denied any connection between ACORN and their voter registration effort. "The case is ludicrous," Bauer said about the Republican accusations, adding, "this campaign has never paid ACORN to register voters."

Plouffe acknowledged that ACORN was hired last spring to canvas in states like Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania. "It was to augment our grassroots organization so that we could try and generate as much turn out as we could," Plouffe explained, but said that only volunteers and campaign staff are involved with registration.

He charged that the Republicans are "suppressing" and "intimidating" voters in various states, making it harder for people to vote.

"What this is, is a strategic and cynical ploy to in some ways to denigrate all these people who decided to participate in their democracy, to sow confusion out there in a deliberate attempt to try to decrease turnout," Plouffe argued.

"This is just the start of what is going to be a deliberate and cynical attempt to try and create confusion, to challenge people inappropriately."

Plouffe cited several examples in which Republicans may be intimidating voters, including an example in Wisconsin where individuals with law enforcement background were being recruited as election workers. He also said that by raising questions about the registration process, voters are becoming confused about the process.

The McCain campaign has invited the Obama campaign to join a committee created to stop voter fraud and deal with any Election Day problems, but they said they have not received a reply to their request. Although Bauer said they did respond several weeks ago, he argued that it is hard to take up the offer in good faith.

"They're really not concerned at the moment that we need their help with anything. We need them to stop the suppressive activity," Bauer said, "And then voters can vote and I'm sure everything will proceed smoothly."

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