ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Talal Al-Khatib Report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., maintained at Wednesday’s ABC News debate in Philadelphia that his handwriting does not appear on a 1996 questionnaire stating support for a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns. The Democratic presidential frontrunner made this claim even though a copy of the original document suggests otherwise.
"No, my writing wasn’t on that particular questionnaire, Charlie. As I said, I have never favored an all-out ban on handguns," said Obama.
The Illinois Democrat made his remarks after ABC News’ Charlie Gibson told Obama: "In 1996, your campaign issued a questionnaire, and your writing was on the questionnaire that said you favored a ban on handguns."
The questionnaire, which was filled out for an organization called "Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organizations," appears to have Obama’s handwriting on the first page plus a typewritten answer to the gun question on the last page.
Read the questionnaire with the handwriting here.
Read an accompanying story from Politico here.
The questionnaire asked: "Do you support state legislation to: ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns?"
Obama’s campaign answered: "Yes."
Obama’s response to an earlier 1996 questionnaire from the same group has the same statement of support for a sweeping ban on handguns.
Read the earlier questionnaire here.
When asked about the gun questionnaire with the handwriting on it, Obama adviser Robert Gibbs did not dispute that the writing was Obama’s.
Rather than defend Obama’s claim that his handwriting was not on the questionnaire, Gibbs argued that voters should instead focus on the Illinois Democrat’s claim that he does not — and has never — supported a handgun ban.
Asked why his 1996 campaign manager would think that he supported a handgun ban if that was never his position, Gibbs said, "Why she filled out the questionnaire the way she did I have no idea because it didn’t reflect his views."
The Clinton campaign swiftly rebuked Obama’s unsupported claim that his handwriting was not on the questionnaire.
"He did not give a defensible answer," said Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson on Wednesday.
"Perhaps he could explain how his handwriting could appear on it without actually seeing it?" Wolfson added during a Thursday conference call with reporters.