I met the young Barack Obama while visiting Caroline Boss, my Marxist socialist girlfriend, at her parent’s home in northern California over Christmas break in 1980. Over the course of that day, I came to understand the full extent of young Obama’s ideological extremism and acquired lasting memories which have been reported in at least five books including Paul Kengor’s newly released The Communist – Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. I am writing this article, in part, because I’m surprised that David Maraniss’s new book Barack Obama: The Story failed to include my account of young Obama’s ideological extremism.
I met Boss in the spring of 1979 and maintained a romance with her up until her graduation from Occidental College in 1981. She had befriended Obama in early 1980 and knew him well because they shared two classes. She introduced Obama to me with the assistance of his sophomore year roommate at Occidental College, Hasan Chandoo. According to Maraniss, Boss impacted Obama’s life so much that she is one of three people (including First Lady Michelle Obama) who became part of the composite character “Regina” in Dreams from My Father. Regina, Maraniss tell us, was the name of Boss’s working-class grandmother.
As evidence of my relationship with Boss, I have a number of her old cards and letters tucked away along with the photo above of us together in 1981 taken in the front yard of my parents’ house in Newhall, CA.
As Kengor reports, I confronted young Obama’s naïve faith in an inevitable communist revolution during a heated debate at Boss’s home in Portola Valley, CA. While Maraniss’s new book supports my account by verifying that young Obama was in the San Francisco area during Christmas break 1980, Maraniss distorts the specifics of this time in young Obama’s life both — I imagine — to protect Obama and potentially to discredit me.