Ben Smith, in his article at Buzzfeed this week, noted that David Maraniss, in his new biography, Barack Obama: The Story, finally confirmed that Obama was incorrect when he wrote in Dreams from My Father that his father left his mother, rather than the other way around. Smith mentions that unnamed “conservative bloggers” had been on this story, but failed to credit Breitbart blogger Michael Patrick Leahy for breaking the story on August 25, 2008.
It’s in that context that Maraniss corrects a central element of Obama’s own biography, debunking a story that Obama’s mother may well have invented: That she and her son were abandoned in Hawaii in 1963.
“It was his mother who left Hawaii first, a year earlier than his father,” Maraniss writes, confirming a story that had first surfaced in the conservative blogosphere. He suggests that “spousal abuse” prompted her flight back to Seattle.
On August 25, 2008, Leahy published an online essay, titled “The Myth of Barack Obama’s Early Life. ” This was a chapter excerpted from the first edition of his September 2008 self-published book, What Does Barack Obama Believe?
In it, Leahy showed the evidence that Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, left his father, Barack Obama, Sr., when he was less than a year old. Obama’s oft-told tale that his father left his mother when he was two years old was simply not true.
The entire essay can be read here, or downloaded here.
The highlights, as Leahy reported them on August 25, 2008:
Beginning with the publication of his memoir, Dreams from My Father, in 1995, Barack Obama has promoted a myth of his early life, one that is familiar to every American who pays attention to the political process. His African father, Barack Obama Senior, abandoned his white American mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1963 when he was two years old, leaving them in Hawaii while he went off to study for a Phd. in Economics at Harvard. Barack Obama Senior was the recipient of a scholarship that offered enough money to support him, but not his young wife and son. His life story, on which he has so famously expounded, is one of a young man trying to make sense of that abandonment.
The evidence suggests a different and far more complex truth, one that as the writer of his own life story, Barack Obama had a duty to explore more fully. While we can't fault Barack Obama for believing the fictional account his mother told him about his father's role in his early life, we can fault him for failing to undertake even the most rudimentary investigation of the truth behind this fictional account as an adult, and subsequently perpetuating that fiction publicly for over thirteen years.
This willing acceptance of a created fictional account of his parents' relationship demonstrates a pattern of behavior that continues to this day. It is echoed in the way he has ignored American History and created his own fictional "nightmare vision" of America, av ision which he wants us to believe that only he has the power to correct…
The facts suggest that Barack Obama Senior did not abandon Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Junior in 1963 when Barack Obama Junior was two years old, leaving them in Honolulu while he went to Harvard. Instead, they suggest that Stanley Ann Dunham left Barack Obama Senior in March 1962, taking seven month old Barack Obama Junior with her. She left Barack Obama Senior in Honolulu and moved into her own apartment in Seattle,Washington. Here's what the evidence suggests:
1. Barack Obama Senior and Stanley Ann Dunham lived together under the same roof as man and wife, for not more than a six month period, beginning September1961 and ending February 1962.
During some portion of this six month period, Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Junior were in Seattle, Washington while Barack Obama Senior was in Honolulu, Hawaii.
2. Stanley Ann Dunham left Barack Obama Senior, in March, 1962, taking seven month old Barack Obama Junior with her.
She moved from Honolulu, where BarackObama Senior continued his studies at the University of Hawaii, to Seattle, Washingtonwhere she enrolled as a full time student at the University of Washington and lived with herson Barack Junior in student housing at the Laurelhurst dormitory, and later in her ownapartment, on Capitol Hill. (6)
3. Stanley Ann Dunham returned to Hawaii from Seattle, Washington some timebetween September, 1962 and January, 1964, only after Barack Obama Senior left Honolulu for Harvard...
Barack Obama Senior did not abandon Stanley Ann Dunham. Demonstrating her independence and personal strength of character, she left him, and for good reason. Barack Obama chose the wrong parent on whom to focus his memoirs.
He should have written about his mother. Perhaps if he had taken the time to explore the facts of the myth she created about his father, a myth most certainly created to protect him from the awful truth of his father's character, he might have done just that.
Subsequently, as Leahy reported in the second edition of his book (published November 1, 2008) we learned that Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, probably left his father, Barack Obama, Sr. for good in September, 1961, when she moved from Honolulu, Hawaii to Seattle Washington.
Conservative author Jack Cashill, writing at World Net Daily, has given Leahy proper attribution for breaking the story:
Conservative writer Michael Patrick Leahy had broken the Seattle story as early as 2008 in his book, “What Does Barack Believe.” It was accepted knowledge in the conservative blogosphere by 2009.
Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media, the facts eventually find their way into the public arena. Let’s hope other important stories about the presidential candidates don’t take another four years to be reported.