A Theory on Obama's Family History Misstatements

Barack Obama escaped hot water over his mistaking Auschwitz for Buchenwald. Fair enough. But I have a new theory now -- one that's more a curious observation than a criticism, or perhaps a little of both.

He makes a lot of mistakes about his family history. It's like he's retelling stories he's heard from third parties, including campaign staff who looked the stuff up. Maybe, aside from his grandparents with whom he lived for several years, he didn't know their side of the family that well -- including the great uncle who was one of the first at Buchenwald. In other words, he's telling stories he's learned on the campaign trail rather than ones he grew up hearing.

It probably wasn't his father who mistakenly told him the Kennedy family paid for his travel to the U.S. to study in Hawaii. It probably wasn't his mother who told him the 1965 March in Selma, AL allowed her to marry his father (he was born in 1961). More likely, I think, campaign researchers and aides came up with it.

Just like the Boston Globe reported the campaign came up with the story about his Indiana "homestead." I doubt he even knew there was a family homestead before going to Indiana to campaign: [More...]

On Saturday, Obama made his first visit to an Indiana house built by a great-great- great-grandfather for a potluck dinner with neighbors. Obama's local patrimony was recently uncovered by campaign researchers, an aide said, and the candidate was uncharacteristically short on words about it. "Look at this: the Dunham, uh . . ." he said, bounding off his bus toward the white clapboard house. After a long silence, he described it as a homestead. (my emphasis.)

Why would Obama do this -- tell family stories he's only recently learned from others? According to the same Boston Globe article, the campaign decided Obama was better off touting his mother's family than his father's Kenyan roots.

Entering tomorrow's primaries for the first time defensive about his identity - against charges that he is an elitist, distant from everyday concerns - Obama's campaign is placing new attention on some overlooked biographical points.

"The bio is our central focus," said David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist. "The bio is valuable because he is not a faux advocate for working folks."

Previously, the Obama strategy was to focus on his multiculturalism and the Kenyan side of his family:

While Obama's self-introduction in his famous 2004 Democratic convention speech also began with his parents, he told it then as a serendipitous romance whose unlikely participants - a Kenyan black man and Kansan white woman - spawned a "skinny kid with a funny name" uniquely able to bring people together.

Having written a memoir, "Dreams from My Father," about the search for his father's Kenyan relatives, Obama's focus in recent days turned to the roots of his mother, Ann Dunham. Out is the paternal grandfather who cooked for the British as a domestic servant. In is the one who enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor and served under General George S. Patton in Europe. (He married the woman Obama described last month as a "typical white person.") (my emphasis.)

The reaction they got in Indiana to his mother's family was positive.

Obama's attention to the less exotic component of his biracial makeup appealed to Irene Evans, who watched him from a picnic blanket in Noblesville. "I think white people can identify with the white background of his family," said Evans, 60, a social worker from Indianapolis who is white.

Obama has used his new biographical initiative to reassert his patriotism. "My belief in America," said Obama, is grounded in the support his mother's family received from federal programs, such as the GI Bill, Federal Housing Authority loans, and food stamps. He did not mention the Kennedy-era government scholarship that Obama has said was responsible for his "very existence," by bringing his father to the United States as a foreign student.

"When I met my wife, it turned out she had the same story," Obama said Friday. Economic hardship is "part of what we've been," he said, citing their challenges as a couple paying for day care, gas, and student loans.

Obama continued:
"We didn't recognize, I think, the caricature that's been painted of us over the last couple of weeks," Obama said Friday, citing the image of "elitist, intellectual pointy-head types" at an Indianapolis press conference. "The fact is our lives, if you look back over the last two decades, more closely approximate the lives of the average voters than any other candidate."

In other words, he's not repeating the memory-challenged words of an elderly grandfather or great-uncle. He's repeating what he's been told about them, because his campaign decided they should be the focus of his biographical narrative.

Still not convinced? Here's one more example. In his 2002 anti-war speech, Obama said his grandfather enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, which was December, 1941. [Charleston Gazette (West Virginia) April 8, 2008, Tuesday, available on Lexis.com]

"My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

Here is the WWII Kansas Veterans Index. His grandfather, Stanley A. Dunham, enlisted in the Army on June 18 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor. [Hat tip Baldilocks.)

There's no requirement in my mind that a presidential candidate have close family ties. But if a candidate is going to tout his family values and family history as a reason voters should view him as "just like us," his stories should at least be genuine, not something he learns from campaign staffers.

Update : The Charleston Gazette reprinted Obama's 2002 anti-war speech, he did not repeat the comments about his uncle while cammpaigning in W.Va. He did talk, however, talk about his grandfather enlisting the day after Pearl Harbor [IN CHARLESTON, OBAMA VOWS TO KEEP FAITH WITH OUR VETERANS States News Service May 12, 2008]:

My grandfather - Stanley Dunham - enlisted after Pearl Harbor and went on to march in Patton's Army. My grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line while he was gone, and my mother was born at Fort Leavenworth. When he returned, it was to a country that gave him the chance to college on the GI Bill; to buy his first home with a loan from the FHA; to move his family west, all the way to Hawaii, where he and my grandmother helped raise me. Today, my grandfather is buried in the Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, where 776 victims of Pearl Harbor are laid to rest.

I knew him when he was older. But whenever I meet young men and women along the campaign trail who are serving in the military today, I think about what my grandfather was like when he enlisted - a fresh-faced man of twenty-three, with a heart laugh and an easy smile.

I can still remember the day that we laid my grandfather to rest. In a cemetery lined with the graves of Americans who have sacrificed for our country, we heard the solemn notes of Taps and the crack of guns fired in salute; we watched as a folded flag was handed to my grandmother and my grandfather was laid to rest. ....

He has mentioned his grandfather enlisting the day after Pearl Harbor many times. The earliest other reference to his uncle I could find was in an article titled "Military Update: PTSD case review hit; more meds moving off formulary", The Capital (Annapolis, MD) September 30, 2005 :

Both his grandfather and great uncle served in World War II, said Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), but only his great uncle entered a Nazi death camp as the war came to a close. "According to the story my grandmother told," said the senator in a phone interview, "when he got home he went up to his parents' house, into the attic, and didn't talk for about six months."

I also received by e-mail a purported KS military registration for his grandfather for January 1942 rather than June with an explanation that it takes a month to be accepted after you enlist. So his grandfather may have enlisted in January rather than June.

More to the point, as to my theory that Obama didn't know his mother's relatives (other than his grandparents) very well before his campaign advisers urged him to switch from talking about his father's side of the family to his mother's, that seems to be the case from the transcript and article below:

In Kansas, Obama Tells His Family Story National Public Radio (NPR) January 30, 2008:

ONYEA: On his plane heading to Kansas, Obama told reporters some of his cousins would be attending the rally, joking that we probably wouldn't think they were his cousins if we spotted them in a crowd. Sure enough, at the event, he made an introduction.

Sen. OBAMA: And I've got another relative here at the - McCurry, where'd she go? There she is.

GONYEA: A 72-year-old white woman stood up in the audience not far from the stage - Margaret McCurry Wolf.

Ms. MARGARET McCURRY WOLF (Senator Barack Obama's Grandmother): His grandmother is my first cousin and we lived in Wichita and his grandma grew up in Augusta so we spent a lot of time on holidays and picnics with his grandma.

GONYEA: Wolf says she first heard of Barack Obama about four years ago and got a huge surprise one day while watching him on TV. Obama was being interviewed about his new book and began talking about his maternal grandmother.

Ms. WOLF: I looked at my husband, I just started shivering. I said that's Stanley Ann's son. I said he is my cousin.

Finally, from a January, 2008 article on his first-ever visit to El Dorado, KS [THE NATION; Obama explores Kansas family roots; In a deeply Republican state, the Democrat speaks about unity and his grandparents' humble beginnings. Los Angeles Times January 30, 2008,]

Standing in a packed gym in wind-swept Midwest oil country, Barack Obama was trying to explain how he and the 72-year-old white woman in the audience, with her hair band and spangly blue cardigan, happen to be related.

Obama had traveled here to his grandfather's birthplace to make a point about humble beginnings and possibility, about unity and shared purpose, and he was using his family's roots in deeply Republican Kansas as an illustration. At least, he was trying to.

Something about the McCurry family and a woman named Ruth, Obama began, tentative. She "was my grandfather's aunt, right? My grandmother's first cousin? . . . We're going through my family tree, trying to figure it all out."

The Illinois senator never got it quite right, but Margaret McCurry Wolf of Hutchinson, Kan. -- looking extremely proud and a little bit flustered -- was willing to explain their bond to anyone who asked.

"His grandmother is my first cousin," said Wolf, who had switched her voter registration from Republican to Democrat a month ago so she could caucus for Obama on Feb. 5. "I want him to make it so bad. I pray daily for him."

The candidate is not in South Carolina anymore, where African Americans helped him to victory in the primary on Saturday. When he talks inclusiveness in El Do-RAY-do (population 12,000, 94% white), he means something just a little bit different.

My only point is, as I've said above, Obama seems not to be making mistakes about his relatives because he's repeating what he's been told about them since his campaign decided they should be the focus of his biographical narrative.

Again, there's no requirement in my mind that a presidential candidate have close family ties. But if a candidate is going to tout his family values and family history as a reason voters should view him as "just like us," he should at least have a personal relationshiop with them, not just repeat what he's learned from campaign staffers and say that constitutes "roots."

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  • Display: Sort:
    Wow. I think you are correct. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:28:43 PM EST
    Does anyone know what this means: ""The bio is valuable because he is not a faux advocate for working folks."?

    It means we're going to run (5.00 / 9) (#11)
    by RalphB on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:44:42 PM EST
    on his bio because it can make a nice story and it's all we've got.  No history of accomplishments, qualifying experiences, etc.  I'm still trying to find out if Obama ever held a full time job of any kind.  So far there's been no luck with that chore.

    Well, he worked on Rezko files (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by oculus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:51:05 PM EST
    for 5 hours.

    Nobody has worked more on the Rezko files (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by diplomatic on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:03:39 AM EST
    than I have...

    -Barack Obama


    Obama does this as a matter of routine (5.00 / 6) (#117)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:39:24 AM EST
    The recent account of the woman who raised him.

    Time Magazine recently had the feature story on Obama's mother. During her teen years, her family lived "on a small island in Washington State". That is Mercer Island, one of the most affluent areas in the Seattle area. He told of her frequenting coffee shops in Seattle. This was in the 50's. I remember coffee shops popping up in the late 60's during the hippie "movement", and the original Starbucks store opened in 71 or 72 and it didn't even resemble the Starbucks of today.

    Research done on his autobiography.

    It escapes my logic how he was raised by a single mother.

    His father wouldn't have told him much of his Kenyan family. Dad left when O was 2 and he only saw him briefly again once when O was the age of 6.

    The food stamps thing is odd. His mother put herself through college during those single years. Her well-off parents were close by, but it wasn't at all uncommon in the late 60's for college students (especially with children) to be eligible for food stamps. They didn't have to be destitute.

    All photos of Obama as a child show a well-dressed, well-groomed young boy.

    I think Obama is quite comfortable fabricating his life.


    Mercer Island (none / 0) (#154)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:00:01 AM EST
    is not that small of an island.  And I believe the city of Mercer Island has the highest per capita income in the state.

    Whoops, apologies already (none / 0) (#157)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:01:25 AM EST
    It has the 7th highest per capita income

    I bet Bellevue is the highest (none / 0) (#160)
    by MarkL on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:04:02 AM EST
    Medina (none / 0) (#186)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:37:29 AM EST
    most likely....that's where Bill Gates lives. There are some fairly big pockets of lower income in Bellevue.

    I did see something recently, though (none / 0) (#190)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:40:10 AM EST
    Clyde Hill was mentioned...

    I think it means (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Grace on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:13:05 AM EST
    we are supposed to look at it as a work of nonfiction, even though it might be mostly fictional.  

    Well, I think you're missing (none / 0) (#71)
    by masslib on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:17:33 AM EST
    the larger truth.

    Because it's actually "invaluable"? (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Grace on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:23:27 AM EST
    Or perhaps, it's calculating?  ;)

    Yeah....the more untruths you tell, the harder (5.00 / 2) (#131)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:44:21 AM EST
    they are to keep straight.

    It means (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by Evie on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:19:31 AM EST
    his bio substitutes for a resume.

    Who needs accomplishments when you have homesteads and faux connections to the Kennedys and Selma?


    Obama's Narrator (5.00 / 8) (#88)
    by Stellaaa on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:24:29 AM EST
    Why do you have to search, Axelrod said it early one, but no one believes him.
    Axelrod says that the way to cut through all the noise is to see campaigns as an author might, to understand that you need not just ideas but also a credible and authentic character, a distinct politics rooted in personality. ("David breaks them down," Peter Giangreco, a Chicago direct-mail consultant who often works with Axelrod, told me. "Who is your mother? Who is your father? Why are you doing this?") This, Axelrod says, is what Karl Rove understood about George W. Bush. "One of the reasons Bush has succeeded in two elections," Axelrod says, "is that in his own rough-hewn way he has conveyed a sense of this is who I am, warts and all." For Obama, because of Senator Hillary Clinton's far-greater experience and establishment backing, this is a particularly essential project. "If we run a conventional campaign and look like a conventional candidacy, we lose," Axelrod says.

    Maybe "Axelrovian"? (5.00 / 2) (#112)
    by masslib on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:33:30 AM EST
    Axelovian? (none / 0) (#179)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:27:21 AM EST
    Well, isn't it obvious? (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by hitchhiker on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:20:30 AM EST
    Does anyone know what this means: ""The bio is valuable because he is not a faux advocate for working folks."?

    The person we're supposed to think of when we read the words "faux advocate for working folks" is not John McCain.  It's Hillary Clinton.  Obama is still running against Hillary Clinton, and his staff is pissed off that she's claimed the hearts of so many working folks while he has failed to do so.


    "faux advocate" (5.00 / 2) (#158)
    by denise k on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:02:32 AM EST
    Honestly, the phrase itself shows the Obama campaign's problem relating to the working class.  Who talks like that besides maybe the "elite"?  

    Methinks the folks they are trying to (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by nycstray on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:23:54 AM EST
    connect to might use different terms  ;)  Don't think I've heard that term here in Brooklyn, lol!~

    Jeralyn, exemplary investgative journalism. (5.00 / 6) (#188)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:37:41 AM EST
    Earlier today I posted a comment about this general subject, with more of a slant as to how Obama's childhood uprootedness has shaped his seemingly porous sense of self, time and place. It ended up being comment #231. I'm reposting it, but delete if it's redundant.

    In his NC victory speech Obama was waxing patriotic and referred to the stirring symbolism of the flag draped over his "father's coffin"; when it was, in fact, his grandfather's coffin.

    I think this Auschwitz gaffe and the prior war-story gaffe are both indicative of a fundamental estrangement from family. He's not close enough to the people and their stories to be able to keep them straight. He was often separated from family members by geography in addition to feeling that he didn't exactly fit in on either side of his family.

    This has interfered with his ability to develop core convictions and a core sense of self (imo). It makes for a fractured personality, which might also explain some of his other vagueness and general confusion.

    an interesting observation. (5.00 / 11) (#6)
    by cpinva on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:37:28 PM EST
    that would certainly explain a lot of what appears, at first glance, to be intentional efforts by the sen. to buff up his familial resume' with the folks, by citing anecdotes that are easily checked for accuracy, and proven wrong.

    unlike those of us who grew up hearing the stories from the family elders (i have seen the actual documents of my grandfather's service in wwI), he's relying on others to gather information that should come naturally to him. as a result, he stumbles in the re-telling.

    he might be better off prefacing his comments with "as i've recently learned........" or, just leaving it out entirely.

    there's nothing to ashamed of by not having close ties to your entire family, it happens all the time.

    that's exactly my point (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:53:04 PM EST
    thank you.

    I buy and sell antiques (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Grace on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:21:33 AM EST
    and I constantly hear family stories.  Some people really don't know their family history well, some people do.  

    It's not uncommon for people to embellish the family history though.  "My great grandmother brought this over on the Mayflower" they say while they hand you a circa 1920 silver spoon.  It happens all the time.    


    undoubtedly (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by dws3665 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:26:05 AM EST
    But those people are not Presidential candidates attempting to ingratiate themselves with the public by sharing those stories. Nor do those people have staffs advising them on their every utterance.

    Unless, that is, you work in some VERY exclusive antique shops! ;-)


    Spoon v. the Bloodline (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:46:12 AM EST
    How do you keep from laughing?

    Unfortunately, Obama is trying to sell his mythical ancestors as a glimpse into who he is as a person.


    I don't believe that his problem is not having (5.00 / 3) (#222)
    by bridget on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:58:56 AM EST
    close ties to his entire family

    for Obama it is all about DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA (just check the details that turn out to be wrong ... there is always a dramatic tie to historical events

    ...so basically he adds more Drama to what may or may not be there already in his family history. As he goes along ... on the campaign trail even.

    Just Read a piece where the author pointed out(sorry, don't have the link right now)that Obama runs a whole presidential campaign based solely on two autobiographies alone - instead of his political record, achievements and policy issues. And two more autobiographies (!!!???)  are in the works AFAIK and earning him millions in the process. It really is quite amazing how he gets away with it IMO.


    I think even close family (none / 0) (#144)
    by MKS on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:49:56 AM EST
    members can get details wrong about family lore--perhaps especially family lore.  The point is, after all, not that the details are true but the environment and values that Obama has absorbed from his family.

    My father was a career Army officer who served in Vietnam and Korea.  We are and always have been close.  The stories I remember from when I was kid came out differently when my Dad told them to my son.


    What is a "typical white person"? (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by dianem on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:40:47 PM EST
    And why didn't I hear any fuss about this? I don't think I'd dream of saying "typical black person". There is no typical black person.

    Regardless, I'm not sure about your theory. I have a bunch of questionable family stories. We all probably do. Something we heard when we were children and distorted. Things that certain family members passed on that weren't true. It happens. It is also possible that he is simply making things up, although if he is I can't see how he is making up such obviously false stories.

    If these stories tell us anything about Obama, it is that he is ignorant of history. He has spent a lot of time looking into his father's life, which is understandable, but he has not spent a lot of time looking into the past of the rest of his family, even though the history was right here under his nose.

    Jerlyn, this is a very well thought out piece. (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:41:27 PM EST
    I think you are correct, as I said above, and I think this kind of thing isn't wise.  Every politician does it a bit, and often gets caught, but it's not something you want to be caught doing often.  My grandfather was in WWII, arrived on U boat at Normandy, second day, was shot, went home, died 14 years later, and never once talked about that day.

    interesting way of looking at it, if nothing else (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ghost poet on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:45:14 PM EST
    I would assume the process of campaigning would tend to lead to a lot of discoveries about oneself and one's heritage.

    I don't know terribly much of my own being a second generation immigrant.

    I don't really support either candidate right now, sitting this out until we have a real nominee in case anyone finds my statements offensive.

    Perhaps, Jeralyn... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Pacific John on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:46:10 PM EST
    ... but the Auschwitz thing is particularly strange. There was a HUGE brouhaha in highly educated African American circles a few years ago when PBS aired a flawed documentary claiming that members of the Black Panthers Tank Co. freed prisoners at a particular extermination camp. It was a huge story, and a highly sensitive sore spot for African Americans who otherwise had every right to be proud of the extreme  heroics of the first black tankers.

    Since for "creative class" blacks, this Holocaust camp issue is so well known, I'm very surprised that Obama did not have his facts down cold.

    I'm stumped. Like I said in an earlier post, very good people lost their careers over the PBS gaffe, and I'm surprised that Obama would seemingly be so clueless about it.

    Jesse Jackson (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by SamJohnson on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:22:22 AM EST
    After Jesse Jackson's speech at the DNC, when my eyes welled up with tears, I learned everything I could about the role of both Blacks and Latinos in WWII. This is really not the type of thing I would ever expect Obama not to know about. It has to be true that filling in blanks or gaps in a suitable resume has involved either fictionalization or just plain fiction. I don't want to declare that Obama is a liar, but it seems like he's phoned in an awful lot in his life and especially during this campaign. There's a great Bowie song from Diamond Dogs called "Candidate". It's so relevant "I'll make you a deal, like any other candidate, we'll pretend we're walking home and your future's at stake. The set is amazing, it even smells like a street. There's a bar there at the end where I can meet you and your friend...Spreading rumors and lies and stories they made up. Some make you talk and some make you scream. Some make you wish that you'd never been seen, butvthere's a shop on the corner selling papier-mache...

    Slightly o/t (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by Pacific John on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:29:20 AM EST
    I recall that, and don't mind admitting that I cried like a baby during that speech.

    I'm perplexed that a poor white guy like me seems to know more about African American history than Harvard Law's Obama, who is the same age. I don't get it.


    this is his mothers (none / 0) (#18)
    by Stellaaa on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:48:48 PM EST
    side, they were white?

    I'd assume so (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Pacific John on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:57:39 PM EST
    but my point is that he seems to be impervious to African American history. No one, and I mean no one, who was familiar with the Liberators controversy would get this wrong, regardless of race. My point is that the controversy was very high profile many African Americans, most historians, and most people who are well-read about WWII history.

    But that's not his heritage (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by Cream City on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:24:38 AM EST
    so it doesn't surprise me -- his father came from Africa almost a century after the end of slavery, the defining heritage for most African Americans.

    He may know more about African history, say, or the other heritages on his father's side centuries ago.


    You are saying (5.00 / 4) (#109)
    by Pacific John on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:33:13 AM EST
    that Obama knows neither basic African American history, nor basic WWII history. I believe you. It makes me depressed, but I believe you.

    In his book Night, Elie Wiesel (none / 0) (#119)
    by MKS on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:40:00 AM EST
    describes being held in both Auschwitz and Buchenwald.  It wouldn't seem all that hard to mix the two up.  

    MKS, did Elie Wiesel mix them up? (none / 0) (#195)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:45:14 AM EST
    Of course not (none / 0) (#203)
    by MKS on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:59:10 AM EST
    But others who were not there, such as Obama, could easily confuse the two.  Both are infamous and synonymous with "concentration camp."

    I read Night awhile ago and am a WWII buff, but before this controversy, I wouldn't be able to tell you which camp was in Poland.

    And I had a cousin who was with an Armored Division that fought in the Battle of the Bulge and later liberated another satellite camp of Buchenwald.  I had found the After Action Reports of his Company online, read newspaper accounts of his Division liberating a concentration camp, and actually did enough research to find out that my cousin was entitled to a Bronze Star for his service--he didn't know that until a couple of years ago, and he finally got his Bronze Star....

    After all that, I still could not have told you which was the concentration camp in Poland. I had to specfically look it all up online again today to remember which camp it was.


    9/11: World Trade Center or Empire State Bldg? (5.00 / 3) (#216)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:31:48 AM EST
    Imagine this: at some point in the future a Presidential candidate says that on 9/11/01 terrorists hijacked commercial jet liners and crashed into the Empire State Building (rather than the World Trade Center). Would that be a problem?

    Furthermore, you don't need to know one concentration from another. You aren't trying to persuade a constituency of Jewish voters that you know their history and are qualified to be the President of all the people.


    I was also a WW2 buff... (5.00 / 1) (#219)
    by OrangeFur on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:40:10 AM EST
    ... and I guess because of that I knew that Poland had a very large prewar Jewish population (3 million or so), and thus the largest death camp was there.

    Wow, just thinking about it--what utter evil happened there.


    thank you Jerlyn (5.00 / 7) (#24)
    by hummingbirdv on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:53:23 PM EST
    for the fact checking and good references.  For me the upsetting thing is not that his staff provided the information but WHY they did so.

    OB could obviously care less about this "new" family history or he would have already known it.  His campaign is using it to FABRICATE a persona that is inauthentic for political gain.

    This is not "new" politics.  It is misleading and reprehensible politics.  And they got caught.

    They and He deserve whatever criticism they get.

    Mr. OB is a flim flam man.

    Or Brad Pitt (5.00 / 0) (#173)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:16:41 AM EST
    He's supposed to be related, too.

    When Obama signed (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by oculus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:58:20 PM EST
    the contract write his first book, the subject was going to be something other than the subject he wrote on.  The published book containns composite figures, per Obama and per people interviewed.  He has made a lot of money writing his memoirs.  What would be the point of changing now?

    Did anyone point this out? (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Grace on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:00:29 AM EST
    I found this thread on the History Channel where the military guys are dissecting Obama's family military history.  

    Charles W. Payne, born 1924, enlisted 10Nov42, Navy, 6293977 Registered, order #12019, Kansas City, Wyandotte Co., Board #4

    Here's the link:  History channel board

    Yep.  The uncle joined the NAVY!

    Not so fast (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:24:28 AM EST
    There's a Charlie Payne in the Army:

    Payne, Charlie L.   
    Inducted 1 February 1941, Army    39076059     Unregistered   
    Kansas City, Wyandotte Co. (Board # 3)

    That may be him rather than the Charles Payne on the History Channel board.


    10 months before Pearl Harbor? (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by Cream City on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:34:05 AM EST
    That still doesn't seem to fit part of Obama's "narrative."  But at least it puts Payne in the Army.

    Charlie vs. Charles (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:27:46 AM EST
    The only Charlie I found is in the Army. There's a page full of Charles Paynes. So maybe they got it right.

    The "About" Obama geneology page (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Grace on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:51:09 AM EST
    lists his uncle as "Charles W. Payne" born in 1924.  There is a Charles W. Payne, also Navy, enlisted in 1941.  

    However, I just asked my father (who also was in WWII) how old you had to be to join and he said 18.  I'm not sure what to think about this...  


    My dad tried to get in under age (none / 0) (#176)
    by nycstray on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:19:46 AM EST
    no go. I think he was younger than 17 though. Both of his brothers were serving and he wanted to follow (They were orphans and he was pretty self sufficient from what I understand) My dad always looked like a babe, so I can't imagine how he ever thought he could pull it off, lol!~  Scrawny tow-head teen that he was ;) I still have his Army jacket from when he did serve.

    Probably varied from recruiting office to (none / 0) (#198)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:48:19 AM EST
    recruiting office. I know my dad got in under 18. Northern Minnesota.

    That's true (none / 0) (#181)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:31:03 AM EST
    It was 18 years old, but my dad was also born in 1924 and he lied about his age to get into the Marines when the US entered into the war.

    I would want to verify (none / 0) (#137)
    by standingup on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:45:57 AM EST
    rather than accept this as accurate but About.com has an Ancestry of Barack Obama - Fourth Generation:

    14. Rolla Charles PAYNE was born 23 August 1892 in Olathe, Johnson County, Kansas and died in Kansas in October 1968.

    15. Leona MCCURRY was born about May 1897 in Kansas.

    Rolla Charles PAYNE and Leona MCCURRY married in Kansas about 1922 and had the following children:

          1. i. Madelyn PAYNE
          ii. Charles W. PAYNE born about 1924.
          iii. Arlene PAYNE born about 1926.

    Yeah, it's starting to look like the (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by Grace on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:56:53 AM EST
    History Channel guys picked out the right one.  

    Charles W. Payne, born 1924, registered in the Navy in 1942 (would have been 18).  

    Isn't his great uncle still alive?  


    Oh oh, both Charles W.'s (none / 0) (#164)
    by Cream City on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:08:06 AM EST
    at Jeralyn's link above were in the Navy.

    But then, online records can be inputted incorrectly -- whether by genealogists or by others doing military records for a state site (since Jeralyn's link is not an official armed forces site).

    This may take more vetting.  But my, there were a lot of Charlie Paynes in WWII.


    People can change (none / 0) (#185)
    by MKS on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:36:21 AM EST
    branches of the service....It does happen....

    and all were from KS at that kink (none / 0) (#214)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:30:44 AM EST
    so great-grandpa was Rolla Charles
    his daughtre was Madelne, married to Stanley A.
    gramps son and her brothr was Charles W or Charlie

    They are Obama's great grandfather, grandmother grandfather and great uncle.


    I found another (none / 0) (#221)
    by Grace on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:55:57 AM EST
    Charles W. Payne who enlisted in the Army in 1943 in Indiana (no residence state listed).  He was born in 1924.  

    There is only one problem.

    His race is listed as Negro.

    (Source:  NARA AAD archives

    There is also another Charles W. Payne who is white and enlisted in 1943 in West Virginia.  Was also born in West Virginia and had a grammar school education.  Does this one sound possible?

    There is one more:  Enlisted on 11/25/45 in North Carolina, born in Ohio.  (That one would have been to late too liberate anything.)


    Whaaa? No waterfront concentration (none / 0) (#68)
    by Cream City on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:16:11 AM EST
    camps, to my knowledge.  And the Republicans were on this so fast, catching Obama, that they ought to have had this.  It could just be a History Channel error.

    For that matter, that 'mother from Kansas' ... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:01:09 AM EST
    ... is more a matter of alliteration (Kenya, Kansas) than accuracy. Dunham was born in Kansas, but if she was "from" anywhere (other than California or Hawaii) it was Mercer Island, WA.

    This sort of sloppiness (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by Pacific John on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:09:40 AM EST
    does not make me happy. Anyone familiar with 2000 should expect that there is an op research group that likely fills a floor of an office building combing Obama's records for these cases of poetic license. I think my estimate that Obama would narrowly lose the electoral college was far too optimistic.

    That's been bothering me (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by nycstray on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:26:48 AM EST
    how they 'use' his mother's Kansas roots to give him credibility with the mid-west/working folks/who ever else they can pander to with it. At times it almost sounds like he did some actual living on the mainland as a child. As in Kansas, that is. And they started playing this up more later in the race. Really sits bad with me since he threw Grandma under the bus and never mentioned Grandpa much. Of course now Grandpa's family history is useful for the GE against McCain . . .

    Uh, wait, what is going on? (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by zyx on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:11:24 AM EST
    The guy has written TWO autobiographies already, and he still doesn't know his immediate family's history?  

    (Scratches head...)

    No one writes a book to tell a story (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by ChuckieTomato on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:16:10 AM EST
    He wants money, and recognition like every one else. Bios. are for the history channel and CSPAN

    Probably should have called them (5.00 / 3) (#147)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:52:27 AM EST
    memoirs instead, eh?

    Oh, wait, then Oprah would have to bring him back to her show and publicly humiliate him.


    Probably should have called them (none / 0) (#149)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:53:11 AM EST
    memoirs instead, eh?

    Oh, wait, then Oprah would have to bring him back to her show and publicly humiliate him.


    Fascinating theory, Jeralyn, but (5.00 / 4) (#59)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:13:13 AM EST
    if you're correct, there's more to it, which is that he for some reason hasn't taken getting the details right very seriously.  It shouldn't be that hard to memorize those few details, yet he's getting a bunch of them wrong.  Why?  If this was all stuff he didn't know about his family, you'd think he'd find it interesting enough to remember.

    The explanation that it's faulty family lore is really a lot simpler, and that argues for its greater likelihood, I think.  Enlisted the first day after PHarbor sounds more like family myth to me, for instance.  Why on earth would you say that if you'd heard about it for the first time fairly recently from campaign researchers who said it was six months afterwards?

    I find his psyche entirely impenetrable either way.

    Maybe his aides (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:16:31 AM EST
    asked his grandmother rather than looking it up and she imparted the family lore to them. It's her brother and husband.

    Either way, their verification skills could use some tooling.


    Did Obama ever teach Creative Writing? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Grace on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:15:46 AM EST
    Perhaps that is something else he could add to his resume...  

    But what about the stuff he DOES know? (5.00 / 4) (#72)
    by Exeter on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:18:11 AM EST
    And chooses to grossly exaggerate and in some cases just... mislead.

    Most people still believe that he was raised by a single mother, even though most of his childhood was spent in a two-parent home. And his mother didn't raise him at all from age 14-18

    He repeatedly intimates that he grew up in near-poverty, but it was just the opposite. His mother was a professor, his grandmother was Vice Presiden of Bank of Hawaii, his grandfather owned a large furniture store, and his step father was wealthy oil executive.

    Yes, his grandmother was named (5.00 / 5) (#99)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:29:25 AM EST
    VP of the bank in 1970, when he was 9. He returned from Indonesia to live with her when he was 10. So it's hard to see how he grew up poor.

    Actually, that really irks me. (5.00 / 3) (#104)
    by masslib on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:32:29 AM EST
    I think Axelrod is borrowing a bit from Deval Patrick's bio.  

    Perhaps (5.00 / 0) (#121)
    by LoisInCo on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:40:53 AM EST
    it will be discovered that they are related, therefore it wasn't borrowing.

    Let's hope (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by Valhalla on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:50:51 AM EST
    because Patrick's ratings arfe tanking in Massachusetts, maybe that will get borrowed as well.

    His mother's family (5.00 / 3) (#150)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:56:18 AM EST
    was never poor.

    Everyone struggled post-WWII, but they quickly rose to a level where they could live in one of the most affluent areas of Seattle by the time his mother was a young teen.


    VP v. EVP (none / 0) (#208)
    by MKS on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:16:33 AM EST
    Being "Vice President" of a bank is no big deal.  Every branch has at least one today.  They are middle managers.  An Executive Vice President would be much different.

    Obama's grandparents lived in a two bedroom apartment....


    you realize... (5.00 / 2) (#213)
    by dws3665 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:25:28 AM EST
    how desperate your comments are, right? Now a 2 bedroom-apartment living bank vice-president is supposed to be "poor."

    Look, this isn't about Obama being the devil and HRC being perfect.

    HRC isn't perfect. Far. From. It.

    HRC, however, has not portrayed herself as embodying a "new kind of politics," whatever that means. The whole point here is that Obama is a politician who creates his persona with an embellishment here and an exaggeration there. This isn't a sin, except that he's built this (undeserved) reputation as being "post" this kind of thing. He ain't. And his supporters have earned a (deserved) reputation for being preternaturally unwilling or unable to acknowledge it.

    And that's how the VP of a bank becomes poor.


    Obama didn't grow up (none / 0) (#215)
    by MKS on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:31:27 AM EST
    rich either.

    And some years were obviously better than others....



    thank you (5.00 / 0) (#218)
    by dws3665 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:33:23 AM EST
    for not responding to a single point in my post.



    her becoming one was historic (5.00 / 1) (#217)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:32:08 AM EST
    she and another woman were made the first two female VP's of the bank, moving up from the escrow dept.

    Wait a minute! (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:25:20 AM EST
    According to your post, he said back in April that his grandfather "heard the stories" of the concentration camps, but didn't mention the uncle/great-uncle he now says helped "liberate" Buchenwald?  Am I reading this right?  WTF?  Or did you leave something about from the April speech/comments?

    Now I'm really confused.

    two different people (5.00 / 3) (#120)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:40:23 AM EST
    I wrote this up earlier as well.

    In W. Va. a few weeks ago, he said his grandfather heard from his "fellow soldiers" about their having liberated two concentration camps -- Auschwitz and Treblinka. Not that the grandfather did the liberating or was there.

    Yesterday he said an uncle (now his great-uncle Charlie Payne) was one of the soldiers who liberated a satellite camp at Buchenwald.

    The Treblinka reference is curious as well because it was dismantled by 1944. It too was in Poland and Americans didn't have anything to do with its end -- it was the Germans and the Soviets.

    The Germans had ordered that Treblinka II be dismantled in the fall of 1943. From July 1942 through November 1943, the Germans killed between 870,000 and 925,000 Jews at the killing center. Treblinka I, the forced-labor camp, continued operations until late July 1944. While the killing center was in operation, some of the arriving Jews were selected and transferred to Treblinka I, while Jews too weak to work at Treblinka I were periodically sent to Treblinka II to be killed. During late July 1944, with Soviet troops moving into the area, the camp authorities and the Trawniki-trained guards shot the remaining Jewish prisoners, between 300 and 700, and hastily dismantled and evacuated the camp. Soviet troops overran the site of both labor camp and killing center during the last week of July 1944.

    So he really doesn't know his WWII history. His grandfather couldn't have heard about the demise of either Treblinka or Auschwitz from his "fellow soldiers."


    make that (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:43:34 AM EST
    Yesterday he said an uncle  was one of the soldiers who liberated Auschwitz and today changed that to his great-uncle Charlie Payne who liberated a satellite camp at Buchenwald.

    I realize they're two different (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:46:08 AM EST
    people, but I'm wondering how, if he had the story of his uncle/great-uncle having liberated Buchenwald in his memory, he wouldn't so much as mention it but talked instead about his grandfather having "heard about" such stories from other soldiers.  I don't get why he would make a point of the lesser story if he had a more direct story from his uncle/great-uncle.

    Do you see what I'm getting at?  It's like my saying my uncle knew a lot of people who fought in the Spanish Civil War and omitting the fact that my other uncle actually did fight in the Spanish Civil War. (um, which he did, I'm proud to say)


    I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#163)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:07:54 AM EST
    which is why I think someone other than his family told him these details, and not having heard them personally from his grandfather or uncle, he got mixed up. He may have been inaccurately remembering what his staffers told him rather than what his family told him. Just a theory, but to me, it fits.

    His great uncle (none / 0) (#170)
    by MKS on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:14:28 AM EST
    spent six months alone after coming back.  The issue he was speaking of was PTSD.....  Obama was close to his grandfather but perhaps not his great uncle.....

    Obama's family lore sounds quite consistent, no variations that have been noted, and sounds like family lore that is handed down to kids.


    With all the fictions in his (5.00 / 7) (#197)
    by Cream City on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:48:07 AM EST
    books and bio, all the contradictions already uncovered -- many of them linked here for months -- your statement is simply, well, let's say uninformed.

    Add to his misstatements about his own family history all his untruths about hardly knowing Rezko and Ayers, never hearing Wright say anything out of line for 20 years, etc., etc. -- I simply can't trust a thing that Obama says.  


    Politicians Build Narratives (5.00 / 6) (#113)
    by Edgar08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:33:36 AM EST
    Family history is something that is always embellished to build that narrative.

    None of this would have mattered if Obama Supporters themselves didn't do what they did with Tuzla.

    The biggest lesson an Obama supporter will need to learn, and will therefor never learn, is that they have themselves LEGITIMIZED the kinds of attacks that will be levelled on their candidate.

    If embellishing a personal story to create more drama is lying, then I fail to see how Obama isn't a liar.

    There's just no way around it.  

    I want to be clear... (5.00 / 2) (#118)
    by Alec82 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:39:26 AM EST

     "I was under sniper fire" is

     equivalent to:

     "My great uncle liberated a Jewish concentration camp."  

     Just to be clear...


    To be PERFECTLY clear (4.87 / 8) (#135)
    by Steve M on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:45:25 AM EST
    Edgar is 100% right.

    You may believe that Hillary's story was an intentional lie, while Obama's gaffe was a simple matter of misstating a name.  Maybe you're right.

    But not everyone will agree with you on that.  And once you get bogged down in arguing about this flub or that flub, you've already lost.  At best, all you can accomplish is to establish that there's a chance your candidate isn't a fundamentally dishonest person.

    Once you decide to take the low road and make a campaign about whether the other candidate exaggerated some random personal detail, there's no going back.  Live by the trivia, die by the trivia.


    Great... (none / 0) (#143)
    by Alec82 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:49:53 AM EST
    ...they're both politicians.  

     I consider the "fair tale" gate on par with what he said about his relatives.  Nonsensical.  

     I don't think they are equivalent, but that is just my opinion.


    The second, if false, is a far (none / 0) (#126)
    by MarkL on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:42:47 AM EST
    worse fabrication, obviously.

    Both statements (none / 0) (#127)
    by Edgar08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:43:25 AM EST
    Are lies.

    Or both statements are attempts to create narrative by weaving fiction into a story that might be less dramatic otherwise.


    so... (none / 0) (#129)
    by dws3665 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:43:58 AM EST
    your guy is as big a liar as Obama's supporters have claimed Hillary is.

    Tuzla vs. This (5.00 / 12) (#142)
    by Stellaaa on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:49:46 AM EST
    Hillary was in Bosnia.  Hillary was first lady.  Bosnia was in a civil war.  She had to wear a vest for safety.  The military guys told her all the concerns before landing.  They found a video, she was there.  

    Obama is trying to get credentials from an uncle.  How does that qualify him to be president?  Am I missing something here?  Obama is padding a weak resume.  Obama is trying to create a narrative that will hold him over in the General Election.  He does not need to be mutli culti anymore, He needs to connect with his "Murican" side.  Only problem is this is not how he got here.  He got here by rejecting the Murican side.  So, how is he gonna clean it up?  

    PS. (5.00 / 6) (#146)
    by Stellaaa on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:52:14 AM EST
    He should have waited to run for President after writing about his mother's side.  Now they have to patch it up on the run.  Go for it, if you think this is electability and qualifications.  Jeralyn is polite, I am not.  

    Right (5.00 / 3) (#167)
    by Evie on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:11:56 AM EST
    Hillary was padding something that was already on her resume. She actually went to a recent Bosnian war-zone to represent America.

    Obama is trying to pad his resume with the accomplishments of others. He may not have any war stories himself, but he KNOWS someone who LIBERATED AUSCHWITZ. Hmm, could Obama be testing narratives for the GE against the Vietnam POW?


    Great assessment (5.00 / 1) (#204)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:03:04 AM EST
    Hillary lies/embellishes events.

    Obama fabricates all the supporting characters who came together to make him who he is.

    It's as though he refuses to let anyone know enough about him to prevent him from using his creative license to make up whatever else he wants in the next book.


    If my responses (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by Edgar08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:00:42 AM EST
    To this comment were deemed Off Topic and therefore were deleted, then this comment I replied to should also be deleted for the exact same reason.

    I don't work at the speed of light (none / 0) (#165)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:09:16 AM EST
    I'm getting there. Yes, the off-topic sub-thread has been deleted.

    I cannot believe (5.00 / 4) (#159)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:02:47 AM EST
    people are criticizing this diary.  Can't they instead just stroll over to KOS or MSNBC so they can hear what they like?

    It violates the prime Obama directive (5.00 / 6) (#172)
    by dws3665 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:16:12 AM EST
    Thou shalt not suggest, in word, thought, or deed, the fallibility of the Precious.

    The secondary directive is that no insult is too low to be thrown at HRC.


    they came here from KOS (5.00 / 2) (#180)
    by ChuckieTomato on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:27:46 AM EST
    they have a convo. about it in the open thread now

    Ah. I checked the FP and diaries, but (5.00 / 0) (#182)
    by oculus on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:31:25 AM EST
    you are a much better detective than I am.

    Jeralyn's Talk Left has finally jumped the shark (none / 0) (#183)
    by ChuckieTomato on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:34:33 AM EST
    FP open thread kos here

    It was posted over there by ksh (none / 0) (#211)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:20:14 AM EST
    ksh commented further down the thread criticizing Jeralyn for the post.

    It didn't get many takers over there.


    honestly (5.00 / 2) (#162)
    by dws3665 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:07:35 AM EST
    I can't tell if this is parody (in which case it's a bit too obtuse) or serious (in which case I'm truly laughing).

    It's not misstatement, exaggeration, or deception. It's simply charming family archeology!

    For other related examples, I suggest Jayson Blair's charming investigative journalism, and Uri Geller's charming psychic powers!

    Maybe this (5.00 / 0) (#175)
    by LoisInCo on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:16:53 AM EST
    is a stretch. But maybe it's John Edwards influence. It was always his trademark "stories" that he would use to make connections to his audience. Now Obama is trying more of the same. The difference was of course Edwards used the same 5 people for months on end and  memorized them to a tee first. So now Obama is stuggling to inject personal touches and makes creative leaps. It would probably be effective if the media didn't hound every recordable second. But they do, so here we are. Maybe Obama should just tell us about the mills.

    Yeah, I think he spent too much time being (5.00 / 3) (#192)
    by nycstray on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:40:42 AM EST
    post-racial etc. All the other candidates had 'connect' stories and once the field whittled down to a couple, it became a gap that he needed to fill. That's when the "raised by a teen-aged single mom from Kansas" started kicking in more. And of course being raised by a typical white grandma. Now we are on to the GE and he needs more to counter McCain's narrative. It's 'funny' because his background is interesting, but it really seems that he was raised in an 'Academic lifestyle'. From his mom, to his schooling and beyond. He prob has many "typical" stories he could tell, but hasn't really brought them along with him and doesn't seem to have understood the value. I've seen a couple of cute pictures from his childhood, but you never get the feel of that childhood when he tells his story. The one of him on the beach with his grandpa, reminds me of my childhood on the beach with my dad.

    I have been thinking something along those (5.00 / 0) (#184)
    by bridget on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:35:12 AM EST
    lines as well, Jeralyn, esp. after I read his autobiographies include fiction as well.

    When telling audiences dramatic family stories that may not be part of one's own family history or just only part of it - that can get v. very tricky. Mistakes will be made.

    I was thinking of all the important family stories I heard since childhood from grandparents and parents, aunts, uncles etc. and I can't imagine making a mistake when talking about an imp. part of my family history after all the telling and retelling because everything has become part of my life.


    He lies all the way through his autobiography (5.00 / 4) (#187)
    by lorelynn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:37:37 AM EST
    and that was accepted. he creates composite characters and rearranges events. I think he's just used to making sh*t up and getting away with it.

    Look how casually he lied in the debate about his campaign co-chair not being a lobbyist - that was a pretty bold lie. Think about the sh*t he was slinging over why he opposed the caps on credit card interest. I have never, ever seen a Democratic candidate for the presidency tell that kind of bold faced lie in a national appearance. I mean, that wasn't even the conventional wisdom stuff (Hussein kicked the weapon inspectors out) that ticked me off so much with Kerry. And then take a look at Lorna Howard's video again - if that woman isn't lying, I'll donate a week's salary to Obama's campaign.

    Obama's Family Tree (5.00 / 6) (#189)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:39:18 AM EST
    may be a nice story, but to me, it's an attempt to divert attention away from his extended family of associates:  Wright, Rezko, Ayers...the whole lot.

    The narrative has to be put out there to show that he is more American than maybe his name, appearance or attitude might give off.  That's MY theory.

    If he's going to put his family out there, he shouldn't complain when his words are verified and he gets into a deluge of WORMs.

    Frankly, it would behoove him to talk about issues as opposed to his family.  A dead uncle that served doesn't tell the American people what the heck he is going to do about what is troubling our nation right now.


    Historical narrative (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by CSTAR on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:40:34 AM EST
    is constructed, artificially, to a large extent. At least the driving themes of the narrative are. The same is true of the narratives in family histories

    Obama's narrative is harder to pull out from the flux of facts of his origins and his life, partly because he is offspring of a whirlwind of lives. Obama's story is in many ways a very powerful one, and one shouldn't denigrate or belittle it.

    However, I think it is profoundly sad that Obama has been thrust into this created narrative by his handlers maybe, or by democrats looking desperately for a compelling leader or perhaps even by his own ambition.

    Obama would have been a more compelling leader if he had the circumstances to discover his story and construct his own narrative.  His candidacy, in my opinion, was far too premature.

    The only thing I know for ... (5.00 / 2) (#201)
    by Robot Porter on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:55:26 AM EST
    certain about Barack Obama is he desperately wants to be elected President.

    (Not sure he actually wants to BE President, or that he knows what kind of President he wants to be.)

    And he seems to believe that certain parts of his biography will prevent that from happening.  Because of this, as Jeralyn suggests, he's over-relied on his campaign's version of his biography.

    All politicians create attractive versions of their own biographies.  But few seem as adverse to the actual facts as Obama.

    averse (none / 0) (#220)
    by cymro on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:40:26 AM EST
    Was his speech scripted? (5.00 / 2) (#202)
    by themomcat on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:57:41 AM EST
    Obama usually has a teleprompter or a prepared speech in front of him. If he doesn't he stammers and um's, uh's every other word. This again goes to the lack of preparation and attention to details. Whether it is Obama doing the writing or a speech writer, it would behoove them to do some fact checking before the final draft. The last thing we need in the White House is another W, who can't even read a speech let alone write one and should never have been allowed do a press conference. Come to think of it, when was the last time Obama had a press conference?

    Obama is no eloquent speaker. (5.00 / 0) (#207)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:15:38 AM EST
    I think Axelrod engineered a big old reverse psychology gambit when he sold Obama as a gifted orator.

    When Obama is off-script he stammers, umms and awhs; forgets and mis-pronounces the names of places; he is confounded by his own family history and world history; he is ignorant of natural and man-made disasters on the home front; and he bungles statistics in every instance where he has ever cited statistics.

    Without a script, he doesn't speak with ease and authority because he has no confidence in what he is saying.

    Wait... (5.00 / 1) (#209)
    by OrangeFur on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:18:23 AM EST
    ... so this is the second time he screwed up about Auschwitz, or were his grandfather's fellow soldiers (who told him about being the first to enter Auschwitz) Russian?

    This is really weird. It sounds like he's just taken a statement that may have had some truth to it--his great-uncle was among the first to reach Buchenwald-- and started randomly spouting off variations of it.

    Great job Jeralyn (5.00 / 0) (#224)
    by ruffian on Wed May 28, 2008 at 08:41:16 AM EST
    Politics is all about the narrative. The press has made it so, and Axelrod understands it better than most. By PA Hillary had caught on too - hence the stories of her childhood summers in Scranton.  Who knew she had a Scranton connection before that?

    As Jeralyn said, the interesting thing about Obama is that he had to learn this part of the  narrative along with the rest of us.  Which tells me that the narrative doesn't say a thing about who he is as a person. It does not inform his world-view or politics.  If narrative was ever meaningful at all, it is not in his case.

    Obama's tall tales (5.00 / 1) (#225)
    by bobbski on Wed May 28, 2008 at 08:53:12 AM EST
    "He makes a lot of mistakes about his family history. It's like he's retelling stories he's heard from third parties, including campaign staff who looked the stuff up. Maybe, aside from his grandparents with whom he lived for several years, he didn't know their side of the family that well -- including the great uncle who was one of the first at Buchenwald. In other words, he's telling stories he's learned on the campaign trail rather than ones he grew up hearing."

    Or it could be he's just pandering...  and not very good at it.

    obama has had years/decades to find (5.00 / 1) (#226)
    by hellothere on Wed May 28, 2008 at 09:07:11 AM EST
    out about his family himself. he never did except when it was convenient. i note he chased after his absent father's history and sure stretched the truth in his books. so excuse me but there are no excuses that work for me. furthermore he knows that he is going to be getting in front of groups running for the most powerful job in the world and this is the best he can do. what excuse will he use when he is talking to iran or venezuela? staffers?

    Hah! (5.00 / 1) (#227)
    by Cal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 09:49:33 AM EST
    I think you've got it exactly right, Jeralyn.  Family History Obama 101 (as constructed by interns).  Pity, that.

    I actually find it sad (4.63 / 11) (#15)
    by Stellaaa on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:46:52 PM EST
    Cause maybe he is having this identity crisis out on this national platform and it's being orchestrated by a campaign machine.  

    I agree (5.00 / 0) (#55)
    by Nadai on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:10:32 AM EST
    It makes me wonder how he was raised - if his parents and grandparents didn't tell him any family stories when he was growing up, leaving him with the sense that he didn't have a place to belong.  It doesn't make me want to vote for him, but it does make me feel bad for him.

    I say something nice (none / 0) (#23)
    by Stellaaa on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:53:08 PM EST
    and flyhawks does not get it.  

    I don't care much (3.00 / 1) (#32)
    by flyerhawk on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:55:56 PM EST
    for the accusations of identity crises.  Not at all.

    So just read it and move on (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by diplomatic on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:57:28 PM EST
    No need to reinforce your "identity" here on this blog with your petty ratingds of a respected member such as Stella.

    LOL (2.00 / 1) (#50)
    by flyerhawk on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:03:48 AM EST
    Right.  I get low rated on a regular basis.  I have my own fan club that will low rate every comment I make simply because I am an Obama supporter.

    I don't low rate someone's comments simply because it anti-Obama.  If I did I would spend all my time low rating comments.  I low rate comments that I find lower the discourse.


    No offense taken (none / 0) (#54)
    by Stellaaa on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:10:32 AM EST
    I was just curious.  

    Fly, have you read Obama's books? (5.00 / 2) (#205)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:05:48 AM EST
    His books are are about his IDENTITY CRISIS/SEARCH FOR IDENTITY. So, if you don't 'buy it', take it up with Obama.

    he/she doesn't believe it; and (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:54:04 PM EST
    I'm pretty sceptical also.

    skeptical of? (none / 0) (#29)
    by Stellaaa on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:55:34 PM EST
    You saying something "nice" (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:58:59 PM EST
    on this particular subject.  

    You know me, (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Stellaaa on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:08:33 AM EST
    I attribute the evil to Axelrod, the Svengali and the "party elders".  I think Obama was not and is not ready for big leagues, but ego keeps him going.  My psychoanalysis.  He will have a shock if he gets elected the first day on the job.  

    It's really chic to be contrarian now (none / 0) (#41)
    by diplomatic on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:58:29 PM EST
    you squeeze a lemon, you get lemon juice (none / 0) (#33)
    by diplomatic on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:55:58 PM EST
    Tee Hee (2.14 / 7) (#132)
    by kaleidescope on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:45:00 AM EST
    The tone of this post reminds me of someone writing a very, very stern brief arguing that service of a summons should be quashed because the summons omitted the comma between the corporate defendant's name and the "inc."  Service of process requirements should be strictly construed and all that.

    I guess that's what you use when that's about all you got.

    I've been on the receiving end of briefs like that in my day, and I sort of wonder what that kind of writing does to an attorney's reputation in a court where that attorney has to practice on a day to day basis.

    Probably nothing, but when you read something like that you sort of hope it does.

    I don't do civil law (5.00 / 6) (#169)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:13:31 AM EST
    or write briefs on it, but I can tell you that in a criminal case, I use any argument I've got. Liberty is a commodity far more precious than money. Kind of like the Presidency of the United States is more important than just about everything else in politics.

    Honestly Jeralyn (1.80 / 5) (#84)
    by ksh on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:23:55 AM EST
    this is over the pale and very disappointing to read from you.  It's an opposition research position to take and not appropriate for democrats who will hopefully be supporting the democratic nominee.

    My grandmother escaped from Georgia as a relatively young woman when the Bolsheviks took it over.  There is much family lore about her adventures and how she met her husband.  Some things I heard from my mother, others from my grandmother.  Much of it I suspect is off in dates and details, mostly because they told me these stories 45 years after they happened.

    How do you imagine a staff member would come up with "your grandfather enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor?" It's easily an elaboration you hear from a relative or maybe his grandfather himself.

    I would expect this stuff from a right wing blog, not from what used to be one of the best blog on left legal issues on the web.

    This is very tame (5.00 / 6) (#93)
    by Edgar08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:26:20 AM EST
    Compared to most of the stuff I've read about Clinton on Obama blogs.

    I would have just said "Obama lied" but this isn't my blog.


    He's not the nominee yet (5.00 / 9) (#102)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:31:53 AM EST
    and until he is, I will advocate for my preferred candidate and point out inconsistencies. He says he's all about bringing new politics to Washington. This isn't it.

    "Over the pale?" (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by hitchhiker on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:32:40 AM EST

    Use the term correctly.  

    Catherine the Great created a 'Pale of Settlement' in Russia in 1791. This was a western border region of the country in which Jews were allowed to live. The motivation behind this was to restrict trade between Jews and native Russians. Some Jews were allowed to live, as a concession, beyond the pale.

    Over the pale doesn't even make sense.


    I don't get it (5.00 / 6) (#107)
    by Steve M on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:32:49 AM EST
    How is suggesting that maybe Obama wasn't all that close to his mother's side of the family a right-wing talking point?

    Obama has an interesting life story.  You might have heard him bring it up himself once or twice.  People like to talk about it.

    I'm really tired of the effort to denounce anyone who talks about Obama in any way that differs from the Official Campaign Biography.  There's no need to react to this diary as though it suggests Obama is a secret Muslim.


    So you copied the post and pasted it at dKOS (none / 0) (#212)
    by JavaCityPal on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:23:48 AM EST
    I can only imagine what you were trying to get going with that move.

    Wow (1.25 / 4) (#5)
    by flyerhawk on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:36:01 PM EST
    Just throw whatever you can against the wall, huh Jeralyn?

    You make a wild speculation and then accuse him of being disingenuous because he doesn't have great detail about stories from his childhood?

    How much do you know about your great-great-great-grandparents?

    If these were all just campaign researched stories why in the world would he be so inaccurate about them?  I'd imagine that he knows that these sorts of claims get checked out.  

    What seems far more likely is that he was told the stories when he was younger and doesn't remember them very well.

    Reminds me of the "Look for the union label" smears against Gore.

    Except that this is (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by standingup on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:44:56 PM EST
    somewhat of a pattern for Obama.  He had similar problems with accurate reflections of his childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.  



    It's so tiresome (5.00 / 11) (#31)
    by Steve M on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:55:51 PM EST
    how no one can even DISCUSS Obama, let alone criticize him, without this sort of knee-jerk "how dare you!" response from his supporters.

    This is a thoughtful post by Jeralyn.  Maybe it's right, maybe it's wrong.  Maybe Obama was close to his mother's side of the family, maybe he wasn't.  But how on earth is it a "smear"?

    Unlike the case of Gore, where the narrative was that he got details wrong because he was a flat-out liar, Jeralyn has constructed a plausible explanation for these repeated misstatements that rests on a perfectly reasonable theory about Obama's family history.  Agree or disagree, why can you not resist, for even a single post, the temptation to climb aboard the high horse of outrage?


    And who invented "Al Gore is a Liar"? (5.00 / 5) (#46)
    by andgarden on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:01:31 AM EST
    Prominent Obama supporter, Bill "A$$hole" Bradley.

    Hardly Steve (1.00 / 2) (#44)
    by flyerhawk on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:00:51 AM EST
    Nearly every diary here is critical of Obama in some way.  

    I criticize the diaries that I find have little or no merit.  I see no difference between this sort of speculation and the speculation about why Hillary "chose" to "mislead" people about her trips to Tuzla.


    you've become a chatterer (5.00 / 4) (#48)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:03:10 AM EST
    And you are now suspended for the night.

    Please (4.80 / 5) (#63)
    by Steve M on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:14:40 AM EST
    You don't see me going around arguing that anyone who doesn't buy Hillary's "it was late at night and I misspoke" claim is some kind of Hannity-like smear merchant who wants Democrats to lose.

    If Jeralyn had said that Obama got all these things wrong because he's a serial liar, that would be a smear.  Instead, she makes a thoughtful post suggesting nothing more offensive than that Obama might not have been all that close with his mother's side of the family, and you resort to the usual histrionics.  Like I said, it's a very tiresome act.


    It is odd that (5.00 / 6) (#38)
    by felizarte on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:57:28 PM EST
    in writing his autobiography, before he launched his candidacy, he showed not that much interest in knowing his mother's family a little better, despite his being raised mainly by his maternal grandmother.  In his youth, didn't he ever ask his grandmother about his roots?

    Dreams vs. realities (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Cream City on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:13:42 AM EST
    if his staff isn't going to do better research could be a nightmare for Dems.  

    And Obama admits creating fictional characters in his "autobiography" (if they're fictional, it's fiction:-).  Why?  I had to wonder about that, too -- were his grandparents so incommunicative about family history?  Could be, I guess.  Just not the sort of kin within my ken.  I rarely met mine, far away, yet still they sent us stories, told them on the phone, made sure they were handed down through my parents and others, etc.  Our "origin stories," as the Native Americans say, are crucial in defining us.  

    In my family, we were raised on stories going back centuries . . . and checking on those stories -- yes, they can be confused in communicating them -- by doing genealogical and other research is so easy these days.  I have found census documents online, corresponded with local historical societies across the country where my ancestors were to verify info, etc.


    Show us an example of you (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Edgar08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:11:55 AM EST
    Telling Obama supporters that the Bosnia story could have just been a mistake.

    Lots and lots (4.90 / 11) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:48:20 PM EST
    Here's a picture of my great grandfather who escaped from Russia -- the Black Sea area around Odessa. Family lore has it he was lobster fisherman who looked like the Czar and had to stand in for him during parades in case there was an assassination attempt so he would be killed instead of the Czar. He ran away to America. (I don't know if he had papers.)This was in the late 1800's. I used to sit on his lap when I was little. His whiskers scared me but I liked him. He died at age 102.

    I could go on and on about my grandparents on both sides, my many aunts, uncles and cousins. All things I heard growing up over and over. Are they true? Who knows? But my telling of them doesn't change depending on who I'm speaking to.


    Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Stellaaa on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:51:49 PM EST
    I see the cheekbones...great photo.  

    First of all (1.00 / 1) (#27)
    by flyerhawk on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:54:34 PM EST
    The Indiana ancestor was likely back in the mid to early 1800s, given they said great-great-great-grandparents.

    Second of all what exactly were your examples of Obama telling different versions of the stories to different people?

    You pointed out errors in details, fairly common with oral family history.  Seems to me that makes the stories more likely to have been heard from family members than staffers who would certainly have accurate information.


    Read the article (none / 0) (#47)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:02:11 AM EST
    They have a lot of descendants, i.e., relatives in the area to this day.

    Fly, you are way off base. (none / 0) (#206)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed May 28, 2008 at 02:08:47 AM EST
    See my comment to you: comment #205.

    It's getting harder to believe (1.00 / 2) (#2)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:29:46 PM EST
    that you will support Obama if he is the nominee.

    I hope it is still true.

    And in the interest of party unity, I wont bring up any European airport whoppers.

    Of course I will support Obama (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:38:29 PM EST
    if he's the nominee. He's way better than a Republican alternative. Like I said, it's an observation -- one that interests me because it shows he's not above playing politics. He does it just like all the other candidates.

    That's good to hear (2.13 / 8) (#9)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:40:53 PM EST
    but, with all due respect, the suggestion does have kind of a Hannity-esque quality to it.

    that's your imagination (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:51:19 PM EST
    Here's another family story: I wear my grandfather's cufflinks every election day. When I was little,   he taught me to play pinochle. During the games, he often told me never to vote for a Republican. I never have and undoubtedly never will.

    Fair enough (none / 0) (#36)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:56:23 PM EST
    and a great story.  Does your son have the cufflinks now?

    I voted for John Anderson in 1980, and have always regretted it.  Never again.


    I voted for Anderson, too (none / 0) (#65)
    by Nadai on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:15:32 AM EST
    What can I say?  I was young and stupid, it was my first time voting in a Presidential election, and I thought Jimmy Carter was a lousy President but I couldn't vote for a Republican.  If I had it to do over, I'd have held my nose and voted Dem.

    another Anderson story (none / 0) (#75)
    by dws3665 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:19:40 AM EST
    I was 15 at the time of Reagan-Carter-Anderson. My mom took me in the voting booth with her to help instill the whole "civic duty" message (it worked!).

    She was intending to vote for Anderson, but I basically begged her not to, asking her not to throw her vote away, Carter needed every vote, etc. She relented and voted for Carter.

    When Carter lost, she felt awful about not having voted her conscience, and I felt bad for talking her out of it.

    Interesting what different experiences people have and how we're shaped by them.


    Indeed... (none / 0) (#80)
    by Alec82 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:22:32 AM EST
    ...I was begging my parents to vote for Tsongas when I was a lee lad.

     Prescience, perhaps.    


    Heh. Anderson was my first political rally (none / 0) (#103)
    by nycstray on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:32:01 AM EST
    SF when I was in Art school. Festive times . . .

    1980 was my first Presidential Election too! (none / 0) (#174)
    by Jane in CA on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:16:51 AM EST
    I was thrilled -- I voted for Jerry Brown "Govenor Moonbeam," and when he lost the primary, I moved out of state and didn't bother to re-register for the GE.  

    I've only lived in CA and NY (none / 0) (#178)
    by nycstray on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:26:43 AM EST
    The states of interesting politics ;) Wasn't he hangin' with Linda around then?

    I was 3 months shy of 18 in 1980 (none / 0) (#193)
    by janarchy on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:42:34 AM EST
    so I couldn't vote although most of my new friends at college could. Anderson came to my school (Northwestern) and talked -- it was interesting since I'd never been to a political rally before (and being in the NY metro area, they never have them and they're never free -- always pisses me off that people in other states get to see candidates talk for nothing and we get asked to shill out $500 a person...but I digress)

    He was interesting but I had no idea why any of my friends were gaga over him OR Reagan. If I could have voted, I'd have voted for Carter just because I had a bad feeling about Reagan. I still regret not being able to vote -- even knowing Carter was not exactly what we needed at the time, he seemed a better choice than Anderson (what ever happened to HIM) or Ronnie.


    Not even close (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by diplomatic on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:54:47 PM EST
    I think you insult Jeralyn by even remotely comparing her work here to Hannity.

    I agree n/t (1.00 / 4) (#25)
    by kid oakland on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:53:48 PM EST
    rofl (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by dws3665 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:07:40 AM EST
    at least you have the experience in one-sided narratives of offer up an opinion.

    and who said irony was dead?


    You too (5.00 / 8) (#61)
    by Edgar08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:14:25 AM EST
    This is 10 orders of magnitude very tame compared to what one is likely to find highly recommended on your Obama blog.

    In my opinion, the less you talk, the better chance Obama has winning the General Election.


    Oh, please hear this! (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by hitchhiker on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:27:35 AM EST
    In my opinion, the less you talk, the better chance Obama has winning the General Election.

    I couldn't agree more heartily, and if he's the nominee I really want him to win.

    But his supporters are deeply annoying.  They hurt him every time they open their mouths.


    Unfortunately for Senator Clinton's supporters... (1.00 / 0) (#100)
    by Alec82 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:30:13 AM EST
    ...her opponents feel the same way every time she opens her mouth.

     They each present GE problems.


    Yes, I know (5.00 / 4) (#122)
    by hitchhiker on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:41:27 AM EST
    there are people who don't like Hillary Clinton.  Have you heard that Tucker Carlson has to cross his legs whenever she speaks?

    But I wasn't talking about whether or not the candidate is annoying . . . just the people who claim that all of us must only speak of him in glowing terms now that he's been duly anointed as the Savior of the Party and the Light of the Nations.

    Obama's fans often seem personally invested in his candidacy to a very unhealthy degree.  Any mild criticism of him is a vicious attack; anyone who doesn't see him as the hope of the world is a dopey hick who is probably a Republican at heart.

    Obama himself doesn't seem to think so, which is why I suggested that it would be smart for his supporters to calm themselves and try to keep from driving the rest of us nuts with their insistence on his perfection.


    Ugh, (none / 0) (#152)
    by Alec82 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:59:41 AM EST
    no I hadn't:

     "Have you heard that Tucker Carlson has to cross his legs whenever she speaks?"

     No, thank gods.  I really like Obama...but not as much as you suggest.  And yeah, I know, his supporters can be messianic.  I'm just not one of them.  Senator Clinton turns me off.  I'm the "anti-war" wing so it really doesn't matter.

     Like I said, I'll vote for any D.  Everyone else disgusts me.


    Jeralyn, I Am Disappointed...... (1.00 / 9) (#77)
    by HsLdyAngl on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:21:14 AM EST
    in this type of diary and its speculative theories.  I interpret this diary as a passive-aggressive tactic to foster doubt and uncertainty about Obama and his veracity in relating his family history to the American public.

    I don't think that bringing up the idea of "genuine" would be a wise choice, considering how "genuine" Hillary was in relating her own PERSONAL experience at Tuzla, for starters.

    "But...but...but..." (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by otherlisa on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:22:36 AM EST

    Are you saying (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by Edgar08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:23:21 AM EST
    You told folks it was wrong to attack Clinton on the Tuzla story?

    Can I see an example?


    My Point In Bringing Up Tuzla...... (1.00 / 3) (#123)
    by HsLdyAngl on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:42:20 AM EST
    was that Hillary was not "genuine" in describing that incident, not once, but FOUR TIMES in relating the story.  Jeralyn, wrote about Obama theoretically not being "genuine" when he speaks of his family history and I throw it back about Hillary not being "genuine" either, especially concerning a personal experience.

    The pot calling the kettle black works both ways.


    Why not just stop the back and forth (none / 0) (#140)
    by Edgar08 on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:46:45 AM EST
    At the source?

    no one has even brought that up (5.00 / 0) (#85)
    by ChuckieTomato on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:23:56 AM EST
    except you

    Jeralyn? Really? Ugh... (1.00 / 2) (#156)
    by Addison on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:01:04 AM EST
    ...and, goodbye yellow brick review hidden comments link.

    I don't use the "hide comment" feature (none / 0) (#166)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:10:37 AM EST
    I just delete.

    Yes... (none / 0) (#168)
    by Addison on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:12:56 AM EST
    ...but sometimes when I'm on a TL roll I get an added "hidden comments" feature added regardless. It never has anything in it, but it's there anyway, once I get enough 5's.

    that's a site bug (none / 0) (#171)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:15:06 AM EST
    that's my fault since I'm not following all the Scoop functions. Technical...and for another day.

    I was wondering about the hidden comments (none / 0) (#194)
    by bridget on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:44:17 AM EST
    as well.
    I am still a newbie (in a few days I will be here 30 days ;-) but I was able to see hidden comments early on even though I had no or maybe v. few 5s.

    Those were older hidden comments. Then they disappeared for good. V. mysterious lol.


    He clearly panders... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Alec82 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:56:10 PM EST
    ...and his family history stories make me wince.  Thought not as much as Camp Clinton's stories, admittedly.  

     Jeralyn, I think the observation/crticism angle is correct.  It is both.  This "gaffe" story reminds me of the "fair tale" comment's racial aspect.  Nonsense.  

     Ultimately, to me, his comments are understandable as absurd family lore.  We all endure it, but he exploits it.  I think he is doing so to assure "mainstream america" that he is one of them, but that is just my take.  At the same time, it is clear (to me) that the media is overreacting.  

     Whatever.  I support the D in the next election. To me, that is all that matters.


    Jeralyn, this rocks! (none / 0) (#70)
    by Oje on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:16:57 AM EST
    Couple these observations with the Obama's histrionics over and eventual rejection of Jeremiah Wright - a campaign designed for the personality has been expunged and replaced by a personality designed for the campaign. Can't wait to see how this works as a system of governance!

    Oh, wait, I was watching a movie on TCM...

    Makes more sense the other way (none / 0) (#134)
    by Ginny in CO on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:45:21 AM EST
    If the campaign staff dug up stuff, he probably wouldn't make the mistakes. Family history stories often 'drift' over the years depending on how often they are told. They are rarely written so the individual has to rely on their own memory. My family often plays a 'how do you remember...' game. It's pretty interesting how much difference there can be.

    Which ties into the unreliability of eyewitness accounts, - notoriously different. When the event is filmed, the errors and omissions can be spotted, but I don't know that there were ever any reasons identified for them. Probably has a lot to do with the mental filters we all have for sensory input. It adjusts the attention to things that you ususally pay attention to, have just learned or had come to your attention.

    The mind, especially under stress, will make word selection changes based on closely associated words or concepts. Buchenwald and Auschwitz are both German camps.  When he meant to say he had been to 47 states, the part of his brain that stores the concept 'number of states'  put in 50 and the script put in the 7.  

    The one that always cracked us up as kids was when Mom couldn't think which one of us she wanted to call so we heard  MARTHA ! CHRIS!  GINNY!  CHICA!  The last being the barking dog....

    Ia "disengenuous" the (none / 0) (#200)
    by oculus on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:53:14 AM EST
    proper description?  Or is this witnesses who all see the same event reporting different accounts?  Who knows?

    Be careful Jeralyn (none / 0) (#223)
    by RandyRP on Wed May 28, 2008 at 03:07:17 AM EST
    You posted

    "So he really doesn't know his WWII history. His grandfather couldn't have heard about the demise of either Treblinka or Auschwitz from his "fellow soldiers."

    Please learn some hisotry your before you make such rash comments. Because you only demostrate your own ingnorance. Which in this case is imense.
    Read about Ellie Wiesel for example, he along with 75,000 others were force marched from Auschwitz to Buchenwald and other concentration camps in January 1945. So stories of the horrors of Auschwitz and Treblinka were not unknow to the soldiers that liberated camps like Buchenwald.

    Yes it is true the Soviets "liberated" Auschwitz.
    So no western GI had direct experience, but given the fact that nearly 1/10 prisoners that were liberated, had been in Auschwitz, it would not be unreasonable for a GI to have heard about it.


    And the point is ... (none / 0) (#228)
    by sfbayani on Wed May 28, 2008 at 10:35:48 AM EST

    C'mon ... that Billary tells no lies about their own histories.

    Yikes! (none / 0) (#229)
    by lentinel on Wed May 28, 2008 at 10:39:33 AM EST
    This is not very reassuring about a presidential candidate.
    His staff gives him info about his own family, and he runs with it without even verifying it?

    What do we have to look forward to when one of his "staff" (God help us) gives him "intel" about about an allegedly belligerent adversary about to make a move? Will he be as sloppy and then try to cover it up à la Bush?

    The more I hear about and from Obama, the more I hope that he will not be the nominee of the democratic party.

    She misspeaks (none / 0) (#231)
    by jondee on Wed May 28, 2008 at 11:32:45 AM EST
    Obama confabulates and outright lies. So there.

    Meanwhile, the war criminals are going over their 100k a night speaker circuit intinerary that starts in a few months. Good for them, I can just hear some of you saying -- afterall, it eventually trickles down on all us and helps the economy; and, if not, we can all just take some more Ambien and tune into the new reality show.

    I posted this and apologize Jeralyn (none / 0) (#232)
    by RandyRP on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:23:01 PM EST
    "Please learn some hisotry your before you make such rash comments. Because you only demostrate your own ingnorance. Which in this case is imense."

    I should not have attacked you personally. I was wrong and am sorry.

    I posted this and apologize Jeralyn (none / 0) (#233)
    by RandyRP on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:25:59 PM EST
    "Please learn some hisotry your before you make such rash comments. Because you only demostrate your own ingnorance. Which in this case is imense."

    I should not have attacked you personally. I was wrong and am sorry.

    Why (none / 0) (#235)
    by carrienae on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:45:43 PM EST
    is this moron getting away from all of his moronic mistakes??? I thought we are done with Bush Jr. Aaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama (none / 0) (#237)
    by Kewalo on Wed May 28, 2008 at 07:28:06 PM EST
    The RW is now linking to you...good work.