James O’Keefe is promising quite the October surprise — a video of Hillary Clinton allegedly “demeaning and disparaging” black people.
The conservative journalists and prankster dropped the news of his alleged video on Twitter late on Wednesday evening, claiming to have video that would likely sink Clinton’s campaign. And it comes just as the Democratic Party’s candidate is on a high after her resounding debate win over Donald Trump.
O’Keefe, who has been a thorn in the side of Democrats ever since he first released secretly filmed videos at ACORN offices more than seven years ago, made the claim that he has video evidence of what sounds to be Clinton’s racism.
While James O’Keefe didn’t specify who exactly he meant by “them” in his tweet, it seems to be a direct reference to Hillary Clinton as he was responding to someone bemoaning the fact that the FBI couldn’t nail Clinton on her email scandal.
If James O’Keefe can deliver the October surprise he has seemed to promise, it could be a death blow to the Clinton campaign. She maintains a tight edge over Donald Trump in national polls, but has seen her standing in the electoral college slipping and could lose if Trump can turn over just one more swing state, analysis from Real Clear Politics shows.
And black voters make up one of Hillary Clinton’s strongest and most important voting blocs. If something were to jeopardize that demographic for Clinton — or even bring down turnout by a few points — it could be enough to swing the election to Donald Trump.
The promise of an October surprise seemed very welcoming to Donald Trump supporters, who helped the tweet go viral within an hour of James O’Keefe posting it. It was also pushed by the Trump campaign’s hub on Reddit, known as The_Donald, which voted his tweet to the top of the site in the early morning hours on Thursday.
But there was one problem with the tweet, and that comes from O’Keefe’s own reputation as a journalist. The 32-year-old, who in his mid 20s was taken under the wing of conservative internet media trailblazer Andrew Breitbart, has been known for putting out highly deceptive videos and in 2010 was arrested for attempting to record staff conversations at the offices of then-U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana.
James O’Keefe burst onto the national scene with what appeared to be a damning video of ACORN, the group accused of voter registration fraud in the lead-up to the 2008 election. In the video, O’Keefe appeared to be dressed as an over-the-top pimp, seeking help with benefits and loans and finding ACORN employees who seemed willing to turn a blind eye to his profession.
The videos led to a wave of protests against ACORN, and Republican members of Congress even moved to cut off funding, but a later investigation from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found no wrongdoing on the part of ACORN.
In fact, the GAO found that James O’Keefe had deceptively edited most of the videos, failing to show ACORN workers responding appropriately, the Huffington Post noted in a follow-up from 2010.
“The complaints included an embezzlement matter, several cases of voter registration fraud, and the release of edited and misleading videotapes, secretly made by conservative activists that appeared to implicate ACORN workers in several offices facilitating prostitution. In fact the staff in most of ACORN’s offices turned the pair away, reported the couple to the police, refused to provide them any aid, and in one case tried to convince the phony prostitute to get counseling. In no ACORN office did employees file any paperwork or do anything illegal on the duo’s behalf.”
O’Keefe was again accused of lying in 2011 when he released a video that appeared to show executives from NPR in a meeting with a group they believed to be representing the Muslim Brotherhood.
It may not be much longer before America finds out if James O’Keefe has a real October surprise this time around. The conservative journalist promised that the video of Hillary Clinton “demeaning and disparaging black people in the worst ways” would be coming out within the month.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]