Code Pink co-founder pans 'silly' RNC attack on Obama
One of Republicans' favorite tactics of late has been to attack Barack Obama by proxy, finding any number of controversial figures who have had even the slightest encounter with the Democratic presidential candidate and elevating them to the role of top campaign adviser.
One of the latest targets is Jodie Evans, a co-founder of the theatrical anti-war group Code Pink. On its BarackBook site attacking Obama over his alleged associations, the Republican National Committee lists Evans as a "friend" of the Illinois senator.
"That's not true at all," Evans tells Raw Story, calling the charge "silly" and saying she hadn't even committed to support Obama.
While the RNC points to her listing on Obama's Web site as a campaign "bundler" raising up to $100,000, she says it's her husband, Max Palevsky, who's been supporting the campaign. Palevsky is a benefactor to the University of Chicago and met Obama when he taught constitutional law there in the early 1990s.
"Since I'm his wife, I get tied to that effort because the money's going through both of us," said Evans, who was listed as a co-sponsor of a Los Angeles fundraiser in early 2007 that was also attended by several Hollywood figures.
Evans acknowledged meeting Obama on several occasions, but she said she has "no influence on his views" and expressed her dissatisfaction with his views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I definitely have concerns about his militaristic stances, and his commitment to keep soldiers and Blackwater in Iraq," Evans said this week. "And his desire to heighten military action against Afghanistan instead of realizing terrorism is a crime" and handling it as such.
Perhaps ironically, it is areas such as these in which Evans splits with Obama that attracted the RNC's scorn in the first place. The "BarackBook" listing highlights Evans's participation in a "mock war crimes tribunal" in Turkey in 2005 and quotes her referring to the invasion of Iraq as a "global testosterone poisoning." (The story of Evans's supposed Obama support has been kicking around the right-wing blogosphere for months.)
An occasional contributor to the Huffington Post, Evans said she felt no need to enter the fray and hit back at the Republicans' attempted character assassination.
"It just seems silly to me," she said after being contacted by Raw Story this week. "It's a big stretch ... so why bother? I have much more to worry about."
Evans and her husband had a more favorable view of Obama in February 2007, after his first Hollywood fundraiser and before many considered he had a real chance of emerging as the Democratic nominee against then-frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
"His position on the war is no baloney," said producer Max Palevsky, one of the event co-chairs. "There was no constant changing. What he believes, he believes."
Of Clinton, Palevsky said, "on the war, she's been terrible, and she's always double-talking. She doesn't inspire."
Jodie Evans, one of the founders of the peace group Code Pink, said of Obama, "Hollywood sees someone who has charisma and who is a leader. That is what Hollywood has always been able to see. He's kind of a cross between Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King."
A longtime Democratic activist, who ran former California Gov. Jerry Brown's 1992 presidential campaign, Evans has donated $19,200 to Democratic candidates and causes in the 2008 election cycle, according to a search of campaign finance records. Her donations include $2,300 to Obama at the 2007 fundraiser, identical maximum donations to former Democratic candidates John Edwards and Bill Richardson, and $1,000 to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who also sought his party's nomination.
Federal election law would permit Evans to donate another $2,300 to Obama's general election effort, but she apparently has declined to do so.
Code Pink, the group Evans co-founded in 2002 has become known for its members' perennial ejections from congressional hearings. Evans said she is just a volunteer for the group, which is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization aimed simply at ending the war.
"Code Pink isn't related to this at all," she said.
The group will be bringing its trademark zeal to the Democratic Convention, which begins next week in Denver, and the Republican Convention next month in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Boisterous protests are a more likely result than any ringing endorsement of Obama.
As for whose name Evans will be checking off at the ballot box in November?
"I don't know," she said.