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.


The birthers again? Oh shit! Congress better get to work on posthumously impeaching Andrew Jackson and Chester A. Arthur. But what I really want to see is Mitt Romneys birth certificate! Because I am quite sure he was born in Mars to a three headed goddess named Anunak. Oh & fun fact - Romneys dad was Mexican born. Which is just fine with me. America is the land of immigrants after all!!!




What I can't get past is this is Harvard law, not some no name university. Also 16 years is a long period of time not to correct the error.


ABC the birth certificate released was a fraud for the reasons I've mentioned plus a host more. For the love that is holy look at it yourself. It's so easy for those who do not understand technology to levy accusations of stupidity at those of us who do and look into these things. Use your brain and critical faculties and look at the damn thing yourself. I did when they released it directly off the white houses website. Who am I? Just some 30 something tech geek who has been using computers since kindergarten. I understand photo editing in good detail as well and it only takes common sense to understand why and how it's a forgery. I don't care about politics or the two party system and definitely don't care about race. However what I do know is that the electronic image the whitehouse released and purported to be Obama's birth certificate was a forgery and a terribly made one at that.


Proven by who Nancy??? Based on what? Why is it that you're breaking this news and not a news agency? Your comment is nonsense and takes away any credibility you may have re your other comments, imo.


It has been proven that Obama's birth certificate and social security number are forged and fraudulent and that he is truly a danger to America with his socialist agenda. Let's be sure to vote him out in November so that our country can begin to heal and our economy will improve immediately. Too many rules and regulations on companies and 5 trillion dollars more of spending in 3 years. We will end up worse than Greece if we don't do something soon.


Oh and @Julie, you can not "backtrace" IP addresses as easy as you say. You need knowledge to get a bouncing or scrambling address. When I get to work I'll have yours. I'm gone for now. Puta por favor!


Wow.....someone posted as me. Julie? Nothing surprises me anymore. Too many guns? And.......
I will stand by Romney. Yes he loves gays. I will promise everyone no taxes, but the individual STATES will determine how to do that. 20 states say sorry no way. So my promise is just BS.
@Chilidog........regardless of where the president was born, why would you want this man to stay in the whitehouse? He has destroyed us in the almost 4 years he's held the coveted position. He publicly spoke out for the poor infant Trayvon that his theoretical son would be him. He allowed the Black Panthers to put a bounty on Zimmerman's head! This is the man you want representing the USA. He's making a mockery of our country!


@ Yasdril - Seriously??? you are going to pretend that for 16 years Obama lket his literary agent pass him off as Kenyan and it was all a 'mistake'? No - he was intending to write a book about the struggles of color in America and being 'Hawaiian born' doesn't help sell that book. Being 'Kenyan born' DOES help sell it so Obama was proudly pimping a Kenyan birth because it suited his needs. What is the TRUTH about Obama? I don't think we know. His life story is a lie. His 'autobiographies' are fictitious. Who is the REAL Obama? Did he buy up somebody else's life story and try to pass them off as his own like J Peterman?


Hilarious. The Hollywood Gossip attempting to play at politics. Were there no Kardashian stories today? I cannot believe some of the comments on this site. Some people will put their poison pens to anything but, more frightening than that, they will believe anything that causes harm or unrest. What's not to say the author of the piece fabricated Obama's birth place (or simply assumed it was Kenya)? Obama had to clear up a huge amount of debris left by the last president and his team. Do you really believe that it was going to happen overnight ... dream on. It will take many years to clean that kind of mess up. Let him get on with his job.

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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