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.


With wars taking place in Afghanistan and Iraq and the unwillingness to secure our own borders it's not surprising how someone like this could slip in the Backdoor. A country Desperatly needing an Economic boost or even a Evangelistic movement speech with emphasis on CHANGE. Follow me the man says .... I will lead the way. Me? I read about this happening once before. It was Germany- the 1930's. The Truth will come out. If he is not who he says he is - if he was born in another land- this will be the biggest Counterfeit in American History.


Who really knows where this man who calls himself Obama really came from? Until he is honest with the American People who can seriously believe what he says. I DON'T!


If it is found out that this President in fact is Kenya born, then his Presidential pension should be taken away and he should face charges for defrauding the Govt. You know full well Obama knows exactly where he was born, so no mercy for the radical ideologue!


WOW - Great article Free Britney! I was expecting to read another 'nothing to see here - free pass issued' liberal media puff piece. Instead, I am pleasantly surprised by a an unbiased article that asks the proper questions. What has happened to our 'watchdog media'? This is why Americans are turning to sources like Breitbart. There are few news sources willing to stand up against the liberal propaganda machine and we are turning to them en masse.


Obama is such a liar, who knows what to believe. One story is that he claimed, to be born in Kenya, to get finacial assistance, for Occidental college. So, he played the system, and ripped off the U.S.A., back then, and he's still ripping the taxpayers off, today. ONE TERM ONLY, for this phony.


For a president to keep his transcripts from Harvard sealed is enough suspension in itself. Whites are who voted him into office to begin so any accusation of Racism to get him out is null and void. The thought of people voting for him because he is black cannot be over looked. It is not a question of Race or raising Taxes. It comes down to the fact that a large percent of people in this Country have absolutly no faith in this Administration. A Huge percent of people will not support this man. All as a result - with his arrogance and he has proven that he is incapable of connecting with this society as a whole. The only thing Obama has proven is that a Black President can be just as sorry as any white president before him. Romney 2012


Tabitha, where are Romney's personal records. I want to know how much money he has made and how much he has paid in taxes.


Retroactive, read Wong KimArk they address Elk and how that situation was different based on the wording of the 14th amendment. President Obama is not an "indian not taxed." FAIL.


ms. billie, you are wrong and extremely gullible to believe that nonsense.


bull eater, no Minor does not set precedence. Minor differed the issue of chidden born to non-citizen parents. Can't you read? It says so right there in the opinion. WKA sets the precedence for that situation and WKA is quite explicit. Birther lawyers Leo and the Mario tried to make those arguments and they were laughed out of court. Sorry, but you lose.

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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