Swingers Claim Obama Campaign Link

Stephen Yagielowicz
LOS ANGELES — Swinger lifestyle magazine and social community Kasidie.com is reporting on a link between a sex scandal and the rise of presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

"Kasidie.com is not a porn site," a statement on the website reads. "Kasidie is a fun, sexy and informative place for seasoned swingers, newbies and even curious vanillas (nonswingers) to learn and exchange ideas about the swinging lifestyle."

The report, Obama's Success Linked to Swinger's Club, appears in the magazine's April issue and contends that candidate's U.S. Senate win came partially as the result of a 1997 swinger's event held in New Orleans.

Witnesses allege that Obama's competitor in the 2004 race, Republican Jack Ryan, attended the event with his wife. Ryan dropped out of the race in the aftermath of the Chicago Tribune's reporting of the story.

"In Europe, where sexuality is viewed with a more relaxed attitude, this probably wouldn't have mattered," Kasidie Publisher Scott Purcell said. "But in the United States, the values are reversed. A politician who is comfortable with his or her sexuality is scandalous, and in this case, forced Mr. Ryan to resign his campaign."

Ryan's withdrawal led to the largest Republican defeat in Illinois history, with 70 percent of the vote ultimately bringing Democrat Barack Obama into office.

"This situation where people's negative view of sexuality overwhelms the fundamentals about someone's ability to lead is, to us, a very sad statement about our country," Purcell said. "Although the gay community in particular has made tremendous strides in changing public attitude, it's obvious that we still have a long way to go."

Purcell stressed that support for Obama was not due to his involvement in the lifestyle.

"Obama is not a swinger, nor, to our knowledge, has he ever visited a swingers club," Purcell said. "But thanks to the escapades of his 2004 opponent, he now may have a chance to change the world."