Matt Lewis

Mirages from my president

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor

A new “Vanity Fair” story highlights an inconsistency in Barack Obama’s backstory. In “Dreams From My Father,” Obama describes a fight with his white New York girlfriend, after which she asks him why “black people were so angry all the time?”

But it turns out, the event did not happen — at least, not with the person he said it happened with. What is more, this isn’t the first time such a discrepancy in the memoir has emerged.

As the Chicago Tribune reported in 2007, in his memoir, Obama noted that a Life magazine article and “the two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin” inspired his “racial awakening” at age nine. But as the Trib noted, “[T]he Life article and the photographs don’t exist, say the magazine’s own historians.”

In a follow-up to the story, Politico noted,

When asked about the discrepancy, Obama said in a recent interview, ‘It might have been an Ebony or it might have been … who knows what it was?’ (At the request of the Tribune, archivists at Ebony searched their catalogue (sic) of past articles, none of which matched what Obama recalled.)”