The Washington Post’s David Maraniss has a book coming out in June with the intriguing title, “Barack Obama: The Story.” The word “story” suggests a variation from “the truth.”
In the meantime, the findings of the Sheriff Arpaio posse have opened new cracks in that story. Those of us who explore this topic are routinely reminded by our media betters that Obama’s life story has already been “vetted.” In fact, the right word here is not “vetted,” but “laundered.”
The media, including the various Obama biographers, have laboriously scrubbed the record of any evidence that the story Obama first told about himself in “Dreams from My Father” is false, but new evidence keeps popping up.
The Arpaio report, for instance, noted that “the INS records for foreign flights arriving in Hawaii during the week of Obama’s birth were missing, not only on the microfilm reels examined, but also in the primary database itself.”
The unique absence of these records from the file strengthens the argument that Obama was born somewhere other than Hawaii and perhaps some time other than Aug. 4, 1961.
The finding that the birth certificate was likely forged, as was Obama’s selective service card, further erodes the objective observer’s confidence in Obama’s account of his own origins.
President Obama claims, of course, a Hawaiian birth and a brief family life in Hawaii with Obama Sr. and his mother, Ann Dunham. As recently as Father’s Day 2011, he said, “I grew up without my father around. He left when I was 2 years old.”
The first fully credible report of a sighting of the already fatherless baby Obama was in Seattle when Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, visited high school friend Susan Blake [Botkin].
Blake placed the time as “a late August afternoon” in 1961 “when Barry was just a few weeks old.” As Blake told the Seattle Times in April 2008, Ann was excited about her husband’s plans to return to Kenya.
In the summer of 2008, Blake told writer Michael Patrick Leahy: “She left just as soon she had clearance from her doctor to travel with her new baby.” She reportedly never saw her friend again.
Soon after the Blake visit, Ann visited high school friend, Maxine Box. “Ann was only a year out of high school and was already married with a child,” Box told Leahy. “She was on her way to join her husband,” she adds, “but I don’t know where.” Box never saw Ann again, either.
The 1961-1962 Polk Directory for Seattle lists an “Obama Anna Mrs. Studt h516 13th Av E apt 2.” (If anyone knows when this directory went to press, that would be useful information). Posted course records show that Ann was enrolled for two night courses at the University of Washington, beginning in the fall quarter of 1961.
All of this information has been in the public sphere for the last three years. It is revealing to see how Obama’s biographers have handled it.
David Remnick, editor, the New Yorker, “The Bridge,” 2010. When the baby was born, “Ann dropped out of school to care for her infant son,” then grew restive at home “while Barack Sr. was in classes, studying at the library, and out drinking with his friends.” Ann, in fact, had dropped out seven months earlier.
Ann “registered for an extension course in the winter of 1961 [at the U. of W.] and enrolled as a regular student in the spring of 1962.” Only then, she “moved to Seattle with Barack Jr. … and reconnected with old friends.”
In fall 1962, “Ann went with the baby to Cambridge briefly to visit her husband, but that trip was a failure and she returned to Hawaii.”
Janny Scott, New York Times, “A Singular Woman,” 2011.The February 1961 wedding was “reportedly on the island of Maui.” As to the birth, Scott provides no details. As to Ann’s departure, “In the spring quarter of 1962, as Obama was embarking on his final semester in Hawaii, Ann was enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle.”
Sally Jacobs, Boston Globe, “The Other Barack,” 2011. Like Scott, Jacobs tells the reader not one word about Dunham’s whereabouts for the six months between the wedding and Obama’s birth.
She quotes an April 1961 INS document, “Subject [Obama] got his USC [United States citizen] wife ‘Hapai’ [pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together.” They never lived together.
Like Scott and Remnick, Jacobs delays Ann’s departure to Seattle to create an illusion of married life. Writes Jacobs, “Dunham would, in fact, enroll at U-Dub [the University of Washington] the following spring.”
Jodi Kantor, New York Times, “The Obamas,” 2012. Obama “was a writer” of such quality that he looked at the media with contempt, and, yes, Obama’s father left home when Obama was 2 years old.
David Maraniss, Washington Post, 2008. “Something happened in Cambridge, and Stanley Ann returned to Seattle. [Her friends] saw her a few more times, and they thought she even tried to enroll in classes at the University of Washington, before she packed up and returned to Hawaii.”
Despite the fact that he was writing a lengthy biographical piece two months before the election, Maraniss made a hash of it. He has Ann following Obama Sr. to Harvard in the fall of 1961, but he did not enroll there until the fall of 1962.
By this time, too, Blake seems to have changed her story. She told Maraniss that Dunham was on her way to Cambridge, not Kenya, as she had told the Seattle Times months earlier.
Despite the 2008 botch – he may have been purposely misled – Maraniss has historically been reliable. The advance PR on his new book tells us, “Maraniss explodes the myths.”
The myths that need to be exploded include the “improbable love,” the apocryphal wedding, the two years of family life and, quite possibly, the Aug. 4, 1961, birth in Honolulu.
Given his “hundreds of interviews,” Maraniss also needs to tell us when Ann arrived in Seattle, where she came from and why Obama and his allies in the media have been so diligently and dishonestly covering her tracks.
Obama built his candidacy on his “story.” It remains to be seen whether Maraniss has the moxie to set it straight.