Barack Obama “born in Kenya”

No, it’s not the latest theory from the Birther fever swamps.  It’s part of the short 1991 biography of Barack Obama written by Acton and Dystel, the New York literary agency that had just won the young Harvard lawyer a six-figure book deal with Simon and Schuster.  Obama’s biography appears in Acton and Dystel’s industry promotion materials alongside biographies of other notables including Ralph Nader and Tip O’Neill:

“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.” published scans of the 1991 Acton and Dystel brochure yesterday.

Neither the folks at Breitbart, nor anyone else with credibility, thinks this is “proof” of Birther consipracy theories.  But what we do think is that we are seeing a classic example of affirmative action opportunism.

There is no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama knew what this bio said.  It wasn’t corrected until 2007, when Obama began exploring a run for the Presidency.  So for sixteen years he was comfortable with his former literary agent proudly showcasing his Kenyan ancestry, fudged by a false claim to native Kenyan birth, as part of their commitment to diversity.  Likewise, Elizabeth Warren had no problem with Harvard University showcasing her alleged Cherokee ancestry as a part of Harvard’s commitment to diversity.  Both instances only became problematic when other people started asking questions that Ivy League elites were either too polite or too far in denial to ask.

And about those questions.  Why didn’t anyone in the mainstream media ask the Obama campaign about this in 2008?  If they would have invested just half the resources they committed to vetting Sarah Palin into a similar effort to research Barack Obama’s past, this should have been an easy find.  So what happened?

First allegations of attempted bribery with respect to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, now a clear example of willful fraud designed to boost his credibility as an expert on multiculturalism.  Was this the kind of man America thought they were voting for in 2008?  I’m getting the popcorn ready right now, because this is shaping up to be quite a summer for election politics.


Extra points for any commenter who wants to write a Solomon Grundy rhyme about “Barack Obama, Born in Kenya …”

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  • Hank_M

    Now we know why liberals are so enthusiastic about Affirmative Action, Quota’s and oppose ID laws.

    They use the system for their own gain.

    As for Obama….the man is a walking lie.

  • Sky__Captain

    I believe the laughable part is the claim that this was a “fact checking error”.

    So this error happened to have the SAME place of birth “error” as Hillary Clinton’s campaign brought up in 2008? Why didn’t Hillary present this document then?

    And why was this document allowed to stand until April 2007 on the Dystel & Goderich website ?

    I do wonder if the AP had the same “fact checking error” in 2004?

    I now look forward to L’il Grumpy to come by to defend his 0bamaMessiah by accusing all of us of “birtherism”.
    Grumpy may even try to use the (long-overdrawn) race card again…

  • jim_m

    First, as far as I am concerned the fact that his mother was a US citizen pretty much makes the matter moot in my opinion.

    BUt I look at his handling of his country of origin in the same manner as his handling of his religion.  He is Christian when it suits his political purposes.  He has muslim roots when it suits him.  Likewise he was born in Kenya when the situation calls for him to be a foreigner.  He was raised in Indonesia when it suits him. He was raised in Hawaii when necessity arises.

    He is truely the etch-s-sketch candidate.  He will mold his history to suit whatever constituency he feels he needs to pander to.

    • herddog505

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.  As a young, aspiring politician, Barry doubtless found it useful to have some cachet about himself, something to set him apart from the crowd.  Given that he’s a dem, what could be better than being REALLY outside the American mainstream?  Recall that dems used to celebrate his background: the fact that he was raised for part of his life outside the country was considered to make him (somehow) more cosmopolitan, a true “citizen of the world”.

      Personally, I’ve always been pretty proud and happy to be a citizen of the United States of America…

    • Sky__Captain

      In 0bama’s defense, to an extent all politicians do this in order to show connection to their constituency.
      0bama has taken it to a new level, though. Downright unprecedented, that is.

      The other part of this story is that this proves the media did absolutely NO vetting of 0bama. This webpage and the 2004 AP story have been readily available in the web archive for quite some time.

    • Gmacr1

      That would be because he’s a chameleon. He’s whatever he needs to be to fit the situation, as long as someone else projects that image on him.

  • GarandFan

    Sounds like Barry is just like Elizabeth Warren.  “Check the box” for elevated “minority” status.

    “Hey!  This book is from some guy who came from Kenya!”  Sure beats, “Hey!  This book is from some mixed-race guy who lived a privileged life in Hawaii!” 

    Gotta make you wonder how many people have taken advantage of “Affirmative Action” by claiming to be something they weren’t.  And you know that they NEVER expected to be challenged on their claims.

    • herddog505

      It’s quite a racket, isn’t it?  One can claim to be a minority to get a leg up in academia or in certain career fields, and then play the race card if somebody ever questions his minority bona fides.

    • Wild_Willie

      My thoughts also Garand.  Opportunity to take advantage of a flawed system. They both are a part of the fraud that goes on. ww

      •  So is Barry ineligible because he is not natural born citizen or guilty of fraud?  It is one or the other.

        • UOG

           None of the above!

          Mom was a citizen. It doesn’t matter where in the world she was when she dropped her little whelp… he’s a”natural-born citizen.”

          It seems possible, from my reading of the latest information posted on Big Government, that Obama may have submitted the born in Kenya information himself. Is that fraud? It isn’t in a criminal sense as far as I’m concerned, more a case of “par for the course” for a politician.

  • Hank_M

    I’d like to know who corrected the Bio in 2007 and why?

  • Sky__Captain

    You know, this was in 1991 after Barry was with the Harvard Law Review.
    Thus, after his years at Occidental and Columbia.

    I’ll bet his college records show he was enrolled as a foreign student from Kenya.
    That’s why the records are sealed, to protect Barry from the lies.

    • “I’ll bet his college records show he was enrolled as a foreign student from Kenya. That’s why the records are sealed, to protect Barry from the lies.”

      This is mere speculation.

      • herddog505

        Yes, but it is also a reasonable theory about why Barry’s records are so (ahem) elusive.

        Personally, I think that they are sealed because they would show that, contrary to liberal fantasies, he was not an especially bright student who made his way through school not on his own merits but rather – to put it bluntly – on the basis of his skin color.

        • jim_m

          HIs records are sealed because he was a crappy affirmative action student.  That is the most likely story, average grade point getting by on his minority status.

      • PBunyan

        “This is mere speculation.”

        So?  First, off he prefaced his comment with “I bet”, which makes your comment “here’s your sign” worthy.

        Second, is it against the rules to speculate in a blog comment?

        Speculation it may be, but it is well substaciated speculation, based on the available facts.

      • Hank_M

        All we ever have with Obama is speculation.
        His past is locked up.
        His auto-biographies are full of self admitted composites and at least one may have been ghost written by someone else.
        Before becoming President, his voting record was “present”.
        We never see his budgets – they keep getting killed in the Senate.
        He speaks off the record to foreign dignitaries.
        He sends secret correspondence to other countries.
        He rarely gives press conferences.
        He avoids the truth.
        The MSM covers for him.

        What else is there but speculation?

  • Regardless of where he was born, it would be instructive to see his school transcripts and his passports, to see if he ever presented himself as foreign born to gain a monetary or educational advantage. 

    • jim_m

      Lizzy Warren part deux

      •  Obama is every bit as genuine as Fauxcahontas.

  • Birchstreetalum

    Barack O’Bama
    Born in Kenya
    Now from Chicaga
    Faux Africana?
    Mo like his Mama
    Luau hosanna
    Muslim bawana
    Socialist fawna
    Lawyer and liar
    False testifier
    One term conspirer
    Soon to be fired
    Barack O’Bama

  • According to a promotional booklet produced by the agency, Acton & Dystel, to showcase its roster of writers, Obama was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

    Miriam Goderich edited the text of the bio; she is now a partner at the Dystel & Goderich agency, which lists Obama as one of its current clients.

    “This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me–an agency assistant at the time,” Goderich wrote in an emailed statement to Yahoo News. “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.”

    Quote Source:

    • jim_m

      So this is contradicting what about the comment that this is just more evidence of how obama is willing to portray his nationality and upbrining in multiple ways to please different constituencies? 

      obama has sold himself as the improvrished foreigner made good.  He has sold himself as the cosmopolitan, Ivy League internationalist.  Like Warren he has willingly dissembled about his origins for personal and financial gain.  He’s just a run of the mill liar. That is the point on this, not that he was actually born outside the US.

    • herddog505

      And BARRY never noticed?  He, the proud author of two books, NEVER bothered to check his own info, never bothered to read the website to enjoy seeing himself listed there (a totally natural, normal thing to do, IMO)?  And the publishing company ran it without asking him to check it?  Where did they get the idea that he was born in Kenya in the first place?  Did this Goderich just look at his photo and SUPPOSE he was born there (why not Malawi or Rhodesia or South Africa?  Or California or Mississippi, for that matter?)?  Or did she simply repeat what she’d heard somewhere?  Did she make any other similar mistakes, like getting his birthday or name or alma mater wrong?

      Look, I’m not suggesting that this is some evidence that Barry was born in Kenya.  But I do say that it’s really stretching credulity to believe that this was some mundane error that went uncaught for years, and that Barry was totally unaware of it.  Hell, didn’t a friend or relative see the blurb and bring it to his attention?  Or are we to believe that NOBODY read the piece or, if they did, noticed that little error?

      • I could believe that nobody read the piece much easier than a ‘mistake’ of that magnitude by a literary agent.

    • From a ‘literary agent’, that’s a pretty big fact checking error.  And we’re to believe that Obama never got a proof copy?  Never looked at it and went “Hey, you’ve got this wrong” in the draft?


      Yeah, it MIGHT be a big-ass mistake by the agent.  How many other bios in that book have ‘errors’ on the same scale?

      Hawaii.  Kenya.  Hawaii, Kenya.  Oh, they just sound so SIMILAR it’s easy to see how it got mixed up!

      • cirby

        A couple of authors have mentioned that literary agents mostly make you write your own biographies for press releases, to prevent just such a “mistake” on their part.  At the very least, they ALWAYS make the authors sign off on the accuracy of any released biographical information.

        The literary firm that supposedly had a young intern make the “mistake” has had, apparently for at least the last twenty years, a policy of forcing writers to pen their own biographies.

        The woman who’s claiming “oops, mistake” is now a partner at the firm – which still represents Obama.

    • UOG

       “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.”

      Neither the first quote nor the second quote explain how the original statement of birth in Kenya got onto paper. Fact checking does not write the sentence, “Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law
      Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” Fact checking would only correct incorrect details in that sentence. We haven’t yet been given all the facts of this story.

      It came out later today the the policy of Acton and Dyste was to have authors write their own bios, based on perimeters set by the agency. What has not yet come out is for how long this has been the policy at Acton and Dyste. I repeat, we haven’t yet been given all the facts of this story. Frankly, I don’t think anyone involved will be “giving” us any information. But it seems likely the folks at Big Government will continue to pursue this matter.

      Just to make sure everyone knows where I am in this birther stuff, as I mentioned above in a comment above to Shadow, “Mom was a citizen. It doesn’t matter where in the world she was when she
      dropped her little whelp… he’s a ‘natural-born citizen’.”

  • PBunyan

    All this document proves is that Obama is a liar (i.e., either he lied by not correcting this pamplet before it was published, or he lied when he said he was born in Hawaii– and there no proof either way which one was the lie).  As if that needed proving.

  • Hank_M

    This seems relevant to the discussion. From way back in 2005….

    • ackwired

      I’d say it is very relevant.  Thanks for posting it.

    • herddog505

      From the article you cite:

      The Democrats – not to mention America – need a mixed-race spokesperson who can connect to both urban blacks and rural whites, who has the credibility to challenge the status quo on issues ranging from misogynistic rap to unfair school funding.

      I don’t know that the country “needs” this sort of person, but I will be interested to see what happens when he eventually shows up.

  • TomInCali

    Why didn’t anyone in the mainstream media ask the Obama campaign about this in 2008?

    Nobody dug into Obama’s past with more ferocity than the right. If they didn’t uncover this, then how can you blame the media for missing it?

    • cirby

      So – one side, you have a bunch of folks who would like to look into Obama’s past, but haven’t got the resources.  Even the Republican Party doesn’t have the manpower to do much serious research of that sort.

      On the other hand, you have the equivalent amount of resources on the Democrat side – PLUS the entire mainstream media apparatus.  You know: the same folks who crowdsourced Sarah Palin’s leaked emails and sent multiple full-time reporters to Wasilla, Alaska to try and dig up dirt on her?  Those same folks couldn’t manage to have someone hop a cab to Obama’s literary agency in New York…

  • Nobody dug into Obama’s past with more ferocity than the right. If they
    didn’t uncover this, then how can you blame the media for missing it?

    Because they claim to be professionals and this is part of the professional job they are manifestly not doing.


    • herddog505

      Exactly.  “The right” pretty much boils down to Barry’s opponents, a handful of media outlets, and bloggers.

      Might as well ask why it’s taken so long for us to find out certain key facts about Martin and Zimmerman: because we’ve waited on the “professionals” at MiniTru.

  • herddog505

    [EDIT] Removed redundant material already posted by Michael Laprarie with apologies for not reading closely [EDIT]

    UOG is right: it doesn’t matter WHERE Barry was born as his mother was an American citizen.  However, the fact that Barry’s publisher was advertizing FOR YEARS that he was a Kenyan does give me some sympathy for birthers.

  • Pingback: Barack Hussein Obama: Kenyan? | Daily Pundit()

  • Wouldn’t a Presidential candidate lying about one’s citizenship
    on a college application or other beneficial place be much more serious than an
    allege bully incident by a then 15 year old?

    • herddog505

      Oh, no, no, NO!  A thousand times NO!  Why, don’t you know that, when it comes to bullying, the behavior of a (Republican) man when he was only fifteen – nay! – FIVE years old TOTALLY tells us how he’ll behave for the rest of his life???

      (so lefties tell us, anyway)

      In a more serious vein, I think that the (ahem) peculiar lack of curiosity on the part of lefties and especially MiniTru with regards to Barry’s life history stems from not only their desire for electoral victory, but also their mania for electing / protecting a “historic” figure.

      I recall reading that a reporter confronted then-Sen. Carol Moseley Braun with evidence that she’d been committing Medicaid fraud.  She had no reply because she HAD been cooking the books, but the story got spiked because nobody at the paper (Chicago Tribune?) wanted to tarnish the “historic” first black female senator.*

      I think that much the same mindset is operating when it comes to Barry.


      (*) Background:

  • 914

    Not only does he lead from behind. Even his own identity cannot catch up to the myriad of lies that make up the Man..

    Is Barry live or Memorex?

  • Sky__Captain

    So much for the ” fact checking error theory”:

    Authors submitted their own biographic blurbs.

    You know, if we could just hook generators up to all these spins, America’s energy problems would be solved for quite some time…

    • herddog505

      Now THAT would make for interesting questions at a press conference!  It boils down to:

      “If President Obama followed what appears to be – and have always been – the publisher’s policy and wrote his own bio, then why does it say that he was born in Kenya?  Did he write the bio?  If not, who did?  Why?  And if he DID write it, why did he say he was born in Kenya?”

  • Walter_Cronanty

    I’m not a birther, but where has the MSM been for the last 4-5 years?  I now feel somewhat sympathetic towards the birthers.
    I don’t believe that this book blurb/bio is correct, nor do I believe that Obama was born in
    Kenya.  But I do believe that it proves that Obama is very adept at saying what he thinks people want to hear.  He is very adept at being what people want to believe he is. 
    I think this was part of his early persona, sort of him being a cool, black, exotic, foreign born dude, oh so much more sophisticated than the rubes born, raised and actually
    working at a real job in this country. 
    His literary agent used this biography for sixteen [that’s 16] years, from 1991 to 2007.  Not one MSM reporter ever, ever mentioned it. No questions, no answers [“Gosh, it was my literary agent who wrote it, I never was aware…..”].  I have never seen the MSM totally go in, and remain in, the tank like it has for Obama.  No vetting, at all. 

    Unfortunately, this will just serve to stir up the nutters.  The only questions to be asked about this issue should be asked to the media – like: “WTF?  Where were you?  What were you doing?  Please, remind me again, why do you deserve the protection afforded you by the 1st Amendment?”

  • 914

    He may or may not have been born in Kenya, but he has sure abused the good faith of the American people. Bill Clintons lie’s were numerous and annoying. This clowns are destructive and insufferable.

  • LiberalNightmare

    More people believe in global warming, with less evidence

  • Pingback: Media Works to Suppress Obama ‘Born in Kenya’ Bio – John Malcolm()

  • Pingback: Roger Simon and Jack Cashill: Literary Bio Claims Obama Born in Kenya [Video] – John Malcolm()

  • Brian_R_Allen

    Why didn’t anyone in the mainstream media ask the Obama campaign about this in 2008 …? 

    Because the fascists fraudsters that comprise the “mainstream media” hate America even more if it’s possible than do Buraq Hussayn and his loathsome and fearsome inciters, encouragers, enablers, facilitators, minders, cohorts and cronies and are as attracted to him as they are to any other of America’s and Judeo-Christian/Western/Human Civilization’s deadly enemies. And — to facilitate and to further their own, same — are therefore pathologically willing to rationalize and to justify Zero’s every un-and-anti Americanism! 

    Now ask me a hard one. 

  • Pingback: Why Kenyan Birth Claim Was No ‘Fact Checking Error’ – John Malcolm()

  • T-Mo

    Barack Obama was born in Kenya according to his grandmother who has pictures of him as an infant in Kenya. As with my children whom I adopted overseas, their official birth certificate shows them being born in Virginia, USA because part of the process is to naturalize them as US citizens and have their birth certificate show they are born in the US. The adoption or citizen naturalization paperwork that Obama’s parents completed changed his birth location from Kenya to Hawaii. It is perfectly legal except when running for President and other offices in the US Government.