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What If Ayers’ ‘Joke’ About Writing Dreams Is On the Press?

The case is still open on Ayers and Dreams From My Father. Any responsible news organization should press on.

by
Thomas Lipscomb

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October 19, 2009 - 12:47 am
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Given all the blogosphere speculation about Bill Ayers ghostwriting for Obama, one major development at the end of September threatened to break the story wide open. Veteran journalist and bestselling author of 33 books Christopher Andersen has just published a fascinating new book: Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage. It is largely a sympathetic look at the dynamics within America’s first family.

But sorting through the more than 200 interviews Andersen says it took to create this book, he came to a startling conclusion: After Obama had to give up on a $150,000 Simon & Schuster contract because he couldn’t complete the manuscript, his sources were telling him Obama finally had to bring in a ghostwriter to put together his highly praised Dreams From My Father for Times Books. He had a million pieces of tape, pictures, memos, notes, and no manuscript.

And he was running out of time to deliver the book.

Nothing wrong so far. Few politicians can string a paragraph together without a ghostwriter.

Unfortunately for Obama, he was caught at a July 10, 2008, meeting in Fairfax, Virginia proudly saying the following:

I’ve written two books. I actually wrote them myself.

Also unfortunately for Obama, Andersen’s sources — all of whom were sympathetic and appear to be at least neighbors to Obama — came to other conclusions. Andersen wrote:

These oral histories, along with a partial manuscript and a truckload of notes, were given to Ayers. “Everyone knew they were friends and that they worked on various projects together,” another Hyde Park neighbor pointed out. “It was no secret. Why would it be? People liked them both.” In the end, Ayers’ contribution to Barack’s Dreams From My Father would be significant — so much so that the book’s language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers’ own writing. Even the caveat at the beginning of Dreams, in which Barack points out that he uses invented dialogue, embellished facts, composite characters, inaccurate chronology, and pseudonyms to create an “approximation” of reality, resembles Ayers’ defense of the inaccuracies in his memoir Fugitive Days. In the foreword to his book, Ayers states that the book is merely a collection of his personal memories and “impressions.” … Thanks to help from the veteran writer Ayers, Barack would be able to submit a manuscript to his editors at Times Books.

On Sean Hannity’s show, Andersen explained why:

During that campaign I think he was doing some backpedaling, I’ll be honest. And I think that Michelle probably recommended that he not emphasize their relationship with Ayers.

Andersen is a celebrity journalist who has worked at Time and People. He knows what kind of lawsuits are occasioned by careless reporting and so far, after many years, he has never had a source or one of his notoriously touchy celebrity subjects complain about the accuracy of his reporting. And the last thing Andersen wanted was to follow this line of questioning as one can see watching him slide out of it on the Hannity clip.

Repeatedly grilled on numerous occasions about how close he was with the notorious 1960s Weatherman radical Bill Ayers, Obama stated Ayers was just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” and “not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis.”

During the 2008 presidential campaign, The Washington Post “Fact Checker” backed up that Obama statement in attacking a McCain campaign ad that claimed Obama lied about his relationship with Ayers. The Post’s Pinocchio Test concluded: “The McCain campaign is distorting the Obama-Ayers relationship, and exaggerating their closeness. There is no evidence that Obama has “lied” about his dealings with Ayers.” McCain was so cowed by the award of “two Pinocchios” that he wouldn’t let his ticketmate Sarah Palin raise the issue again.

Thanks to Christopher Andersen’s hard work there is now credible sourced evidence that Obama did lie about his dealing with Ayers. And thanks to the literary sleuthing of Jack Cashill, whom Andersen credits for finding the textual comparisons between Obama’s Dreams and Ayers’ writing, there is an abundance of internal evidence.

Cashill has published a number of articles like “Who Wrote Dreams From My Father and Why It Matters” using classic literary forensic techniques, many of the articles were published in the center right e-magazine American Thinker.

Cashill has written for Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, and holds a Ph.D. in American Studies. He has also produced documentaries for PBS and other stations, one of which won an Emmy. But once he began to dig into stories that examined the similarities between Obama’s Dreams and the writing of Bill Ayers, he found himself restricted to blogs like World Net Daily.

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