Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama's then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."Here is the image:
The booklet, which was distributed to "business colleagues" in the publishing industry, includes a brief biography of Obama among the biographies of eighty-nine other authors represented by Acton & Dystel.
What does this tell us? A few things:
- It would be inadvisable to rely on the fact-checking department at Acton & Dystel.
- One would assume that Obama didn't write his own bio for this booklet, but that he would approve it before publication. If he did, he was either (a) sloppy or (b) willing to market himself in ways that are at variance with the truth. I also wouldn't rule out (c) both.
Some say he has taken some literary license in the telling of his story. Dan Armstrong, who worked with Mr. Obama at Business International Corporation in New York in 1984 and has deconstructed Mr. Obama’s account of the job on his blog, analyzethis.net, wrote: “All of Barack’s embellishment serves a larger narrative purpose: to retell the story of the Christ’s temptation. The young, idealistic, would-be community organizer gets a nice suit, joins a consulting house, starts hanging out with investment bankers, and barely escapes moving into the big mansion with the white folks.”
In an interview, Mr. Armstrong added: “There may be some truth to that. But in order to make it a good story, it required a bit of exaggeration.”
Mr. Armstrong’s description of the firm, and those of other co-workers, differs at least in emphasis from Mr. Obama’s. It was a small newsletter-publishing and research firm, with about 250 employees worldwide, that helped companies with foreign operations (they could be called multinationals) understand overseas markets, they said. Far from a bastion of corporate conformity, they said, it was informal and staffed by young people making modest wages. Employees called it “high school with ashtrays.”
I've long believed that what made Obama successful in his 2008 campaign is that he was willing to be whatever you wanted him to be. That's hardly an unusual quality in a politician. Still, it's things like this that make you wonder, even 3+ years into his administration, who Barack Obama really is.
I'd also recommend you take a look at the blog post that Armstrong wrote that is referenced in the New York Times article.