Obama Born In Kenya? Rumor Resurfaces Via Brietbart.Com, Quickly Denied By Miriam Goderich
By Joseph Orovic | May 18, 2012 7:06 AM EST
Was President Barack Obama born in Kenya? Conservative Web site breitbart.com is trying to revive the story, after it found a promotional booklet produced by a literary agency in 1991 that describes Obama as "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." But a former employee for the agency chalked up the Kenya reference to nothing more than a mistake.
The profile was in a promotional booklet for Acton & Dystel designed to raise Obama's profile, along with 89 other writers, within the publishing industry. He had just recently graduated from Harvard and was working on his first book, "Journeys in Black and White."
"Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii," the brief biography reads. "The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago's South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, 'Journeys in Black and White.'"
Obama later scrapped the planned book for "Dreams of My Father."
His birthplace has been something of a sticking point since he received the Democratic nod for the presidency in 2008. Since then, a group of latent nonbelievers, termed "Birthers," have doubted the president's citizenship and challenged his assertion that he was born in Hawaii.
Brietbart.com takes pains to distance the "Birther" crowd from the views of its founder Andrew Brietbart, with the site claiming the now-deceased conservative firebrand was "never a 'Birther.'"
The booklet places Obama alongside other notable names represented by the now-defunct agency, including House Speaker Tip O'Neill, Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, quarterback Joe Montana and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Obama had initially released a "Certification of Live Birth," a brief document that usually denotes a person's location of birth. However, the shorter form contains typed out information and post-dates the original certificates, leading many to suspect it was a forgery.
The document was not enough for some, such as Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a steadfast Obama opponent who asserted the long form certificate could be a forgery.
"I'm speaking to the vast majority of people," Obama said during a press conference at the time of his long form certificate's release. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness."
Acton & Dystel has disbanded in the time since, but an assistant for the agency at the time named Miriam Goderich reached out to politicalwire.com to debunk the birther brouhaha as a mistake.
"This was nothing more than a fact-checking error by me -- an agency assistant at the time," she said. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more."
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