If you have visited DrudgeReport recently you’ve noticed the above image posted with the bold headline “Born In Kenya.” The headline follows an exclusive piece by Breitbart – part of their “The Vetting” series of Obama. Breitbart’s exposing of this newly discovered booklet is raising a lot of questions and also understandably further fanning the flames of birthers everywhere. From Breitbart:
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.
Here is the text of Obama’s biography in the booklet:
“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.”
Breitbart goes on to detail the background of the booklet and the literate agency that wrote Obama’s biography. It is not suggested that this is proof that Obama was actually “born in Kenya,” but rather it is another piece of evidence showing how Obama’s profile has been modified to fit the preferred image for personal gain.
The biography does, however, fit a pattern in which Obama–or the people representing and supporting him–manipulate his public persona.
David Maraniss’s forthcoming biography of Obama has reportedly confirmed, for example, that a girlfriend Obama described in Dreams from My Father was, in fact, an amalgam of several separate individuals.
In addition, Obama and his handlers have a history of redefining his identity when expedient. In March 2008, for example, he famously declared: “I can no more disown [Jeremiah Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.”
Several weeks later, Obama left Wright’s church–and, according to Edward Klein’s new biography, The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, allegedly attempted to persuade Wright not to “do any more public speaking until after the November  election” (51).
Obama has been known frequently to fictionalize aspects of his own life. During his 2008 campaign, for instance, Obama claimed that his dying mother had fought with insurance companies over coverage for her cancer treatments.
That turned out to be untrue, but Obama has repeated the story–which even the Washington Post called “misleading”–in a campaign video for the 2012 election.
The Acton & Dystel biography could also reflect how Obama was seen by his associates, or transitions in his own identity. He is said, for instance, to have cultivated an “international” identity until well into his adulthood, according to Maraniss.
This explanation is certainly not going to calm the reactions of birthers. While I’m not a birther I cannot blame someone for questioning the legitimacy of his now. The (next) biggest question I believe is on most people’s mind is, how did the mainstream media miss this? Perhaps they didn’t miss it…or perhaps they never even tried. Lastly, what else is buried in Obama’s past just waiting to be discovered?