Did President Obama Lie About Being Born in Kenya?

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A year after he put "birther" rumors to rest by releasing his birth certificate, President Obama's background is back in the news again ... with a twist.

An old bio of Obama from his former literary agent says he was born in Kenya, renewing debate over the authenticity of his own account(s) of his past.

You could essentially call this "reverse birtherism."

In 2011, Obama proved he was born in the U.S., but did he lie in the past about being Kenyan-born to craft a more exotic, interesting-sounding background?

Obama Born in Kenya?

According to a booklet produced by Acton & Dystel, to showcase its roster of writers, Obama was "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."

Obama's former literary agency says they merely misidentified his birthplace as Kenya while trying to promote the then-Harvard Law grad in 1991.

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

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

"There was never any information given to us by Obama suggesting he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii ... [it was] a simple mistake and nothing more."

Breitbart.com, the site founded by the late Andrew Breitbart, broke this story as part of "The Vetting," its ongoing series about Obama's past.

Breitbart died in March, shockingly at age 43, but beforehand, he set out to do what he felt mainstream media would not during the 2008 election.

Essentially, that being to ask tough questions about Obama's background, rather than accepting the Presidential candidate's two memoirs as gospel.

Breitbart.com published a lengthy disclaimer with the brochure and this story, saying it does not believe Obama was actually born outside of the U.S.:

"Andrew Breitbart was never a 'Birther,' and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of 'Birtherism,'" the site clarified.

"In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. Yet Andrew also believed that the complicit mainstream media had refused to examine President Obama's ideological past, or the carefully crafted persona he and his advisers had constructed for him."

"It is for that reason that we launched The Vetting, an ongoing series in which we explore the ideological background of President Obama (and other candidates) - not to re-litigate 2008, but because ideas and actions have consequences."

"It is also in that spirit that we discovered, and now present, the booklet described below - one that includes a marketing pitch for a forthcoming book by a then-young, otherwise unknown former president of the Harvard Law Review."

"It is evidence - not of the President's foreign origin, but that Barack Obama's public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times."

Barack Obama at the Podium

While this publication will no doubt fuel "birthers" who refuse to believe Obama was born in the U.S., but the point is actually entirely separate.

Is it really possible that the full bio below would never have been proofread by Obama in the 16 years it was used (it was corrected in 2007)?

Make of it what you want, but if that's an error, as the publisher claims, it's a pretty bad one, and raises some rather legitimate questions.

We cannot know whether the publisher and/or Obama himself were aware of the error, but the idea that one or both allowed the "mistake" to slide to make his biography more compelling is not entirely far-fetched.

The broader questions:

  • Has Obama's biography, which also included a "composite" of past girlfriends (one of which was Genevieve Cook) shifted to meet his needs over time?
  • If so, what are the implications of that on his ability to be President? Does it make him different from any other politician? Does that matter?

Here's Obama's full bio from the 1991 brochure:

Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.

The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation.

He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago's South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

NOTE: This report is NOT connected to the new book about Obama, called The Amateur by Ed Klein. A story about Obama's near-divorce, excerpted from that new and unauthorized biography, surfaced late last week.


yes ..


The book itself says he was born in Hawaii. Somebody else wrote that advertising booklet, somebody who hadn't READ the book they were advertising.


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f-it just kill all of the obama family an let god deside if hes a sand nigger loven nig. im shere he will be going to hell for it....or just give him to the ku klux klan an we wont menchen this happen?


Come on you dummies dont really still believe that BS Kenya conspiracy theory do you?


I have one question and it is important to me and the people. Why do you lie to people and cover the truth about the real you. MR. President its not right to lie to people and it is against the law to lie about your birth certificate. I also know that the goverment coveres the truth about you and the things you do. I am the person that wants the truth and vote for the good goverment.
Please reply with the truth and not the lie.


Oh, Izzy. Before you think I hit my head and lost my marbles, google and find video of Obama around July 13 saying his birthday was next week. He and Michelle celebrated the actual date in July before about 2006.


Answer to Izzy's question. The travel was possible because Obama was born in mid-July, not August 4. Ann Dunham then traveled to Hawai'i later. Her parents posted the birth announcements (using THEIR address). No, they never dreamed this would be needed to qualify their grandbaby to be president. But Ann and her parents knew it was necessary to qualify for other benefits.


This is funny. Obama didn't lie. He just happens to be the only person in the history of the world to be born in two places at the same time (thousands of miles apart).
Here's another funny part: this author who is so OBVIOUSLY supportive of Obama, his lie, and the cover-up says in the 4th sentence that "In 2011, Obama proved he was born in the U.S."
He did no such thing! I know sixth-graders (no exaggeration) that can prove the document was a forgery.
But . . . all that aside, shouldn't Obama have "proved" his U.S. birth in . . . wait for it . . . 2008?!?


SIr President Obama .Where your was born not importance with us but need tell the true you don 't need to hide and lies the same like that .We have happy if the true why you need lies and not respect with people they trussing you and voted for you .SO poor and hurt ,now you teaching for young kids how they ""LIES " after the future they will be PRESIDENT USA .I know you really scared now you can't sleep at well .You Lies and make Law brokend .Remember you and your Wife now both Lawyer and make system in America so poor . Hope you knew and need says Sorry us .

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Barack Obama Biography

Barack and Michelle Obama
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. He became a Democratic U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2004, and has... More »
Honolulu, Hawaii
Full Name
Barack Hussein Obama II

Barack Obama Quotes

I do think in Washington, it's a little bit like American Idol. But everybody is Simon Cowell.

Barack Obama

I think I'm a pretty cool dad.

Barack Obama