Obama had not as yet written anything. But he had taped interviews with family members. Andersen writes: “These oral histories, along with a partial manuscript and a truckload of notes, were given to Ayers.” Look over those words. A man Obama said before the campaign — after conservative pundits continually raised the issue that he was friends with an “unrepentent terrorist” — that he knew only in passing as someone in the neighborhood. He was simply an acquaintance — not someone he had any real friendship or relationship with. Yet Obama evidently gave Ayers his notes, tapes, and the small amount that he had already written.
On the latter point, Andersen also writes, quoting a Hyde Park neighbor of Obama: “Everyone knew they were friends and that they worked on various projects together. It was no secret. Why would it be? People liked them both.” Why should it be secret? We know the answer to that. Obama was denying this relationship, as well as suggesting it was not true they worked on projects together. Everything that was ferreted out at the time that proved this was hardly likely was simply ignored by the MSM.
Finally, Christopher Andersen concludes: “In the end, Ayers’s 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’s own writing.”
Let me make the point as sharply as possible. A book about the relationship of the first couple, their history together, and their road to the presidency makes the point in passing that is precisely the same as that made by Jack Cashill. Most reviewers, and readers, will probably read this in passing and go on. As far as I know, no reviewers to date seemed to have noticed this. All they seem to have noticed is the one quote from Michelle Obama to her husband when he was considering whether to put Hillary Clinton on the ticket: “Do you really want Bill and Hillary just down the hall from you in the White House?” And since the reviews of the book have not been particularly good, it might disappear from the public’s notice fairly soon.
Now Andersen gives no sources or names; the Obamas did not cooperate with him. Skeptics will argue that we have no way of knowing whether his claims can be verified, and we have no way of knowing the veracity of those he interviewed. Who, for example, was the Hyde Park neighbor he spoke with? Some might even argue that he reached his conclusion after reading Cashill’s original blog, without citing it. Andersen faces the same credibility problem Bob Woodward faces, since he is often charged with making outrageous charges in some of his books without offering any proof that conversations he could not have been privy to took place. But Woodward’s use of such a technique never has hurt his reputation. After all, he is Bob Woodward. Reviewers of Andersen’s book have had no compunction in labeling much of what he writes as pure “gossip.”
In the meantime, Cashill promises us more is coming. I, for one, look forward to reading what he comes up with.