Voters and watchdog groups complained about the calls, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper ordered them to stop on Wednesday. Some saw a turnout-suppression conspiracy because the group's allies include so many Clinton supporters, especially Podesta and Williams.
On Friday, Barack Obama's campaign weighed in by circulating the transcript of a National Public Radio report on the calls. It noted that the North Carolina calls seemed to heavily skew to African Americans, including many women who had already registered, causing them to question whether they were eligible to vote in the primary on Tuesday.
I wouldn't normally trust a report like this, but it is corroborating by Obama campaign attorney Bob Bauer's diffident statement of non-support for the group.
Bob Bauer, an attorney for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign, said the calls were "extremely disturbing" and fit "the classic model of voter suppression" by sowing confusion just before the May 6 primary.
But he stopped short of saying the calls were designed to discourage voters.
"They have said it's inadvertent, and I understand it will not happen again," he said.
In this situation, it would be extremely easy for the Obama campaign to publicly praise WVWV and privately harangue them through surrogates. That would both prevent any problems and allow a progressive group to continue its work.
The Obama campaign oddly chose to ratchet up pressure on WVWV, a group which counts several Obama supporters on its board. Odd.