Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

Why would Barack Obama lie about being born in Kenya when he was really born in Hawaii?

Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

The booklet, which was distributed to “business colleagues” in the publishing industry, includes a brief biography of Obama among the biographies of eighty-nine other authors represented by Acton & Dystel.

It also promotes Obama’s anticipated first book, Journeys in Black and White–which Obama abandoned, later publishing Dreams from My Father instead.

This is no birther blog – we don’t smoke that shit around here. I have no doubt in my mind that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii and is a natural born citizen.

This story barely broke before the Obama campaign and the media (but I repeat myself) rushed to claim it was a resurgence of birtherism. Miriam Goderich promptly issued the following statement:

“You’re undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me — an agency assistant at the time. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.”

That’s the mother of all fact checking errors. Who wrote the original copy? If Obama didn’t write it, who did? Are we supposed to believe that a narcissist like Obama didn’t review his own bio?

This was 1991 – Obama was still a nobody. Back then his sole claim to fame was getting chosen as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. He had a book deal but no book.

This is what got written in his bio:

Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

In that one paragraph there are several misstatements. Barack Obama Sr. was a senior economist for the Kenyan Ministry of Finance, not a finance minister. A minister is like a cabinet secretary. Obama’s positions with NYPIRG and the Developing Communities Project may have carried a fancy title but it was basically just him being a “community organizer.”

But wait! There’s more!

Jack Cashill:

The most interesting “tell” in the 1991 Acton & Dystel brochure relates to what was said about Obama’s career in the business world. Obama, the reader learns, “worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation.”

In Dreams from My Father, Obama inflated his stint at Business International even more and transformed it into a faux moment of racial awareness, one of at least a half-dozen concocted racial melodramas in the book. As Obama tells the story, a “consulting house to multinational corporations” hired him and promptly promoted him to the position of “financial writer.”

Here, he felt like “a spy behind enemy lines,” and a guilty one at that. “As far as I could tell,” he adds, “I was the only black man in the company.” He does not boast of his racial uniqueness. Rather, in full grievance mode, he considers it “a source of shame.” Indeed, the whole experience troubled him:

I had my own office, my own secretary, money in the bank. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors-see myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand-and for a split second I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve.

As early as July 2005, however, former co-worker and Obama fan Dan Armstrong revealed Obama’s whole account to be a “serious exaggeration.” Obama worked at not a multinational corporation, but a “small company that published newsletters.” He was not the only black person who worked there. He did not, as claimed, have his own office, wear a jacket and tie, interview international businessmen, or write articles. He mostly just copy-edited business items and slipped them into a three-ring binder for the company’s customers.

Are we supposed to believe that Goderich not only changed Obama’s birthplace from Hawaii to Kenya, but also transformed him from a grunt filling three-ring binders into a “financial journalist and editor”?

Who hasn’t puffed-up a résumé a little bit? But this goes beyond that. For one thing, this kind of stuff is among the characteristics of narcissism:

Pretending to be more important than they really are
Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
Claiming to be an “expert” at many things

One last piece of data: In Dreams From My Father Obama admits that while at Punahou School, the fancy prep school he attended with the children of Hawaii’s rich and powerful, he told people that his father was an African prince.

Are you starting to see a pattern?

Unlike Obama, I never went on some years-long journey of self-discovery trying to figure out who I am. That journey is what Dreams is supposedly all about. But as we have already learned, many of the people in that memoir are fake “composites” and the events he describes didn’t take place.

Obama is not only pretentious, he is pretend-tious. At Punahou School he was low on the social status totem pole compared to the other children. So he claims to be the son of an African Prince. As he grows older he cultivates a persona that is exotic and international. He wears a sarong, quotes TS Eliot and listens to jazz.

Early on his lies are easy to tell and hard to check. Later on, not so much. So he begins trying to clean up his history. But the problem is he has created a paper trail, and now that he is world famous there is no place to hide.

Luckily for him the media is doing their best to protect him.

”Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”

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58 Responses to Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

    • elliesmom says:

      Love the last line-
      “If they need some motivation, they could always pretend they’re investigating Sarah Palin.”

    • cj says:

      Oh I think the media knows a lot, they’ve just decided to sit on it, or in the case of the journolisters, actively suppress it. Even worse, they’ve succeeded in making it an act of moral outrage to even raise the questions.

    • trixta says:

      “This is no birther blog – we don’t smoke that shit around here. I have no doubt in my mind that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii and is a natural born citizen.”

      Fine. But definitions are at issue here. What does “natural born” mean and where does Obama fall or not fall under that category? I’ve understood that to qualify as a “natural born citizen” himself, BO’s parents (both) have to be U.S. citizens. (BO’s father was Kenyan and never a U.S. citizen.)

      Another issue is how Title 8, Section 1401 of the U.S. Code (which does not use the language “natural born” [see below])
      apply or not apply to Obama. Unfortunately, Obama has not released authentic or definitive records to the public to clarify this “natural born” issue, once and for all.

      Nevertheless, definitions and categorizations of citizenship can be confusing, as the following website points out:

      “But to be President, you must also be a “natural born” citizen, according to Section I, Article II of the U.S. Constitution. What does that mean? The only thing that is black-and-white about citizenship and the presidency is this:

      1. A child of a two American citizens who is born on U.S. soil is clearly eligible to be President;

      2. Anyone who becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen after birth (think Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) is clearly not eligible to be President.

      Then life turns gray, or at least contested, as events of the 2008 Presidential election make clear.

      What constitutes being “natural born” falls into two philosophical camps: geography or blood. One group argues that blood rules — that you are “natural born” regardless of geography, if both parents are citizens. Another group argues that geography rules — that you are “natural born” only if you are born on U.S. soil.

      Purists insist that both parents must be U.S. citizens and you must be born on U.S. soil. This narrow interpretation would mean that Barack Obama is ineligible to be President of the United States.”


      The Law Is Little Help
      Title 8, Section 1401 of the U.S. Code defines a national and citizen of the United States “at birth”. Note that this legal definition does not include the phrase “natural born.”

      • myiq2xu says:

        Unless and until SCOTUS says otherwise it means “citizen at birth.”

        • wyntre says:

          What about adopted children? Two of my siblings adopted kids at birth from South America and Korea. Anyone know whether they would be eligible for the presidency? Just curious.

        • trixta says:

          So, myiq, that means anyone born in the USA is legally eligible to run for President even though his/her parents are, let’s say, only legal residents (via a green card).

        • votermom says:

          I wish SCOTUS would settle the question.

        • 1539days says:

          I think the 14th amendment basically gives birthright citizenship. If you are born here, you are a citizen. That’s how the SCOTUS interpreted it.

          Birtherism is ultimately useless. Obama has a birth certificate signed by a Hawaiian official. Those people could be lying, but there would have to be more evidence than the anecdotes there are now to prove it. Better off to just fire him and worry about it later.

          Besides, many people think that Chester A. Arthur wasn’t a natural born citizen either.

  1. 1539days says:

    Was Obama’s mother an anthropologist?

    I once wrote that I am not a birther, I’m a collegiate. I want to know what grades Obama got in college, the kind of thing that has been released for decades. Remember the pouring over Dan Quayle’s transcripts? The media trick is to conflate all questions of Obama’s biography with him being a foreigner.

    Humility is a good quality in a president, but it is a negative for a candidate. John McCain never seemed to believe that he was uniquely qualified to be president. Obama thinks he is the most interesting man in the world and it scares the hell out of me.

    • elliesmom says:

      I’m not all that interested in Obama’s grades. Graduating summa cum laude has never been a requirement to be President. I’m more interested in why he has gone to such lengths to hide his transcripts.

      • cj says:

        I’m interested, but I’m petty like that. lol. Just tired of all the “smartest man in the room” crap being stuffed down our throats for 4 years. Prove it, document it & then we’ll talk.

      • DeniseVB says:

        I want to see his transcripts because he promised to be the MOST TRANSPARENT PRESIDENT EVAH !

  2. Oswald says:

    Check this out:

    All that time she spent training the dog paid off – she won £500,000

    • elliesmom says:

      Pudsey looks like Ellie’s best friend, Henry, who is part bichon and part soft-coated wheaton terrier. He’s a smart little dog. He learns a lot from Ellie who taught him how to put his paw on the pedal at the bottom of the trashcan to get the top to open. Neither one of them can dance, though.

  3. yttik says:

    Besides the narcissism, I think Obama’s embellishment (and Elizabeth Warren’s) are signs of a political ideology that believes it’s shameful to be an American. They both had to distance themselves, seeking some sort of legitimacy with their political base. So Obama became this Kenyan raised in Indonesia to show that he’s not tainted by all the “evils” of being an American.

    • elliesmom says:

      Elizabeth Warren and I are close in age. When my class took the PSATs in high school, one of the white boys checked off the “Black” box on the race question part of the test. He was a good student, but not great, and many of us in the class had higher PSAT scores than he did. But his test scores set off a flurry of college recruiters and scholarship offers that none of us with higher scores could come close to matching. While his “prank” was an embarrassment to our small high school, it was not a surprise to the rest of us. Surely, Warren knew that checking off the “Native American” box would get her noticed. And Obama knew that being a foreign student would get him noticed, too. I think both of them worked the system until they didn’t need to anymore or it started working against them.

      • cj says:

        Mark Steyn has a good take on it. (I hate to use RW sources, but in the age of Obama, you really don’t have a choice.)

        …. “The more obvious explanation of the variable first line in the eternally shifting sands of Obama’s biography is that, rather than pretending to have been born in Hawaii, he’s spent much of his life pretending to have been born in Kenya. After all, if your first book is an exploration of racial identity and has the working title “Journeys in Black and White,” being born in Hawaii doesn’t really help.

        …..To 99.99 percent of people, Hawaii is a luxury-vacation destination and nothing else. Whereas Kenya puts you at the heart of what, in an otherwise notably orderly decolonization process by the British, was a bitter and violent struggle against the white man’s rule. Cool! The composite chicks dig it, and the literary agents.” …

        • WMCB says:

          Yep. I was writing below at the same time you were posting this.

        • WMCB says:

          That whole piece by Steyn is worth a read. He goes on to compare Obama to Jay Gatsby. The man who completely invented himself.

        • cj says:

          I was struck by the Gatsby quote too. Stroke of genius. 🙂

        • wmcb says:

          Yes. And who were the ones fooled by Jay Gatsby? Why, the elites, of course. The best and the brightest.

          The best and the brightest are so often the most gullible. Perhaps because they don’t have to actually live in an environment where being snookered has dire consequences. Poor and middle class people are more suspicious by necessity. Our lives don’t give us much margin of error.

        • Oswald says:

          I’m going to have to read Gatsby again. I always thought it was overrated.

    • You’re close, Y. It’s about whiteness, not Americanism, IMO. This is the effect of affirmative action, and that’s the ultimate point of the Breitbart piece. The Elizabeth Warren story is very much tied into this. They’re vetting the distortions in the identity games that privileged people play to gain access to greater privilege. The shame is that actual poor people with these identities got shut out of the process so they could do the gaming.

  4. WMCB says:

    It’s simply not likely that the info in that bio came from anyone but Obama. The overblown description of his “financial” job matches perfectly the description in the book he hadn’t written yet.

    Also, the bio was updated FIVE times over the 16 years that it remained part of the agent’s brochure. Other things, like the title of his published book, were added/changed. Yet the “born in Kenya” remained. Why? It wasn’t overlooked in error FIVE freaking times. Give me a break.

    Obama remained “born in Kenya” because it was an advantage to him to be foreign and exotic and “truly African” in the political and academic world of Harvard and then Chicago. In Chicago, he would have struggled to be received as “authentically black”, being from Indonesia and Hawaii. He had no “American blackness” to draw on for street cred. Indonesia and Hawaii strike no emotional chord in the black voters of inner city Chicago. Ah…. but KENYA! Kenya makes you a link to a shared history. Kenya makes you a princely descendant of the lost heritage.

    It wasn’t until he started setting his sights on bigger things than Chicago, and ran for US Senator, that it became a disadvantage, and so was quietly changed.

  5. HELENK says:

    David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog

    Next time I apply to Harvard, I’m checking ‘Intergalactic Eskimo’ on the form.

    • trixta says:

      I wonder if “white Hispanic” would now count on applications? Personally, I’d opt for “pink Hispanic” cause, after all, I’m both a woman and “Hispanic.”

  6. DeniseVB says:

    • trixta says:

      But did Miriam Gogerich ever work at Acton & Dystel, Inc., the agency that distributed the bio on Obama in 1991? She claims to have gone straight from grad school to work at Jane Dystel Literary Management (JDLM) — an agency founded in 1994!

      The time lines / info don’t add up.

      According to two websites, Goderich became a partner either in 1995 or 2003 (when JDLM formerly changed its name to Dystel & Goderich Literary Mangagement). If the former date, than she might have been involved in the editing of Obama’s bio — but this would mean she was employed as early as 1989 at Acton & Dystel, Inc. The problem is, she claims her employer (straight from grad school) was Jane Dystel Lit Management NOT Acton & Dystel, Inc. Again, Obama’s bio was distributed in 1991 from Acton & Dystel, Inc.

      See Bios for Jane Dystel and Miriam Goderich below:

  7. angienc says:

    The MSM is sure having a hey-day calling Liz Warren out on using her non-existent NA background for advancement, but will not touch this story. Now, I’m not condoning Warren’s actions at all, but I do think there is a lot of sexism going on here in the disparate coverage each story is getting. IOW, if Warren was a man, would the MSM bother covering the NA story, or would they leave it on the blogs as they are doing with Obama’s publisher’s booklet? By the same token, as we know, if Obama was a woman he would have gotten the same vetting that Hillary & Sarah did in 2008 & wouldn’t have even gotten the nomination, much less the office.

    • leslie says:

      if Warren was a man, would the MSM bother covering the NA story, or would they leave it on the blogs as they are doing with Obama’s publisher’s booklet?

      If Warren were a Republican man I think MSM would be all over it.

  8. 1539days says:

    If I think Obama was born in Hawaii but lied for decades and said he was born in Kenya, does that make me a re-birther?

  9. Speaking of pumped up bios, I guess Biden is pretty scared about being dethroned, or we wouldn’t be reading stuff like this two days after he spent a great deal of time in Ohio and had dinner with the Strickland as witnessed by a Romeny aide:

    According to Strickland, he’s the greatest VP evah, responsible for keeping those middle class (Bush) tax cuts (and the rich ones, too; ftr, not mentioned) AND winding down the Iraq war, among other things.

    Eleventy-dimensional chess at it’s best, but you have to know how to read it.

  10. foxyladi14 says:

    Keep him or not they are both out come November. 🙂

  11. Oswald says:


    “I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then,” says Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. . . . So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.”

    In a postmodern America, the things that Gatsby attempted to fake — an elite schooling — Obama actually had; the things that Gatsby attempted to obscure — the impoverished roots — merely add to Obama’s luster. Gatsby claimed to have gone to Oxford, but nobody knew him there because he never went; Obama had a million bucks’ worth of elite education at Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard Law, and still nobody knew him (“Fox News contacted some 400 of his classmates and found no one who remembered him”). In that sense, Obama out-Gatsbys Gatsby: His “shiftless and unsuccessful” relatives — the deportation-dodging aunt on public housing in Boston, the DWI undocumented uncle, the $12-a-year brother back in Nairobi — are useful props in his story, the ever more vivid bit-players as the central character swims ever more out of focus, but they don’t seem to know him either. The more autobiographies he writes, the less anybody knows. Like Gatsby presiding over his wild, lavish parties, Obama is aloof and remote: Let everyone else rave deliriously; he just has to be. He is in his way the apotheosis of the Age of American Incredibility. When just being who you are anyway is an incredible accomplishment, Obama managed to run and win on biography almost entirely unmoored from life. But then, like Gatsby, he knew a thing or two about “the unreality of reality.”

    • trixta says:

      Excellent excerpt from Steyn! That Obama is Gatsby-like is certainly a good argument. I would also say Obama (like GWB) reminds me of Chauncey Gardner (BEING THERE) who was promoted and propped up by an elite cabal and the media. The other two characters he reminds me of are Forrest Gump and Zelig (the “human chameleon”).

  12. Constance says:

    This is all fascinating. The Corporate Media would have more viewers if they covered interesting topics like Obama’s shifting identity.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I think Al Gore’s new girlfriend was trending on WaPo and the NYT yesterday. Noticing more and more objections in the comments about these fluff pieces. That’s a good thing.

  13. trixta says:

    [Did my post on Goderich go to SPAM?]

  14. DeniseVB says:

    A good link to all the NATO news, keep it hand as hillarity ensues…… 😀

  15. Pingback: » Faking fakers and the fakery they fake - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion

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