Most of the Truth About Obama's Business International 'Embellishments' Was Out There -- In 2005

On Thursday, at the Washington Examiner, Byron York concentrated on Obama's clear antipathy towards business as described in David Maraniss's recent book about President Obama (Barack Obama: The Story) relating to Dear Leader's brief stint at a company called Business International.

Though that's obviously a critical point to make during the 2012 campaign, a more foundational one is that this mindset, as well as most of Obama's stream of "embellishments" (most people would call them "lies") about his time at BI, were known or knowable well before the Illinois senator decided to run for president in early 2007 -- even the one that has the folks at Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com all atwitter, namely that Obama didn't, as he claimed, have a secretary.


As I noted in September 2008 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog; HT to Sweetness & Light), "Denko" at the Analyze This blog, who asserts that he worked at BI when Obama was there and claimed that "I’m a fan of Barack Obama," wrote that what Obama did at BI "bears only a loose resemblance to what he wrote in his book."

The post by "Denko," whom Sweetness & Light identified as Dan Armstrong, is dated July 9, 2005. I don't recall anyone in the establishment press questioning this aspect of Obama's past, which is of course consistent with perhaps the most comprehensive and deliberate non-vetting of a major party presidential candidate in American history.

Here's the comparison of Obama's book-based descriptions of his work and time at BI to "Denko's" remembrances I worked up in 2008 (bolds and italicized comments have been added in this post):

(Per Obama)

Eventually a consulting house to multinational corporations agreed to hire me as a research assistant.

(Per Analyze This)

First, it wasn’t a consulting house; it was a small company that published newsletters on international business. Like most newsletter publishers, it was a bit of a sweatshop. I’m sure we all wished that we were high-priced consultants to multinational corporations.

(Per Obama)

As far as I could tell I was the only black man in the company, a source of shame for me but a source of considerable pride for the company’s secretarial pool.

(Per Analyze This)

It’s also not true that Barack was the only black man in the company. He was the only black professional man. (2012 comment: Given the job description, "professional man" also might be seen as a stretch -- Ed.) Fred was an African-American who worked in the mailroom with his son. My boss and I used to join them on Friday afternoons to drink beer behind the stacks of office supplies. That’s not the kind of thing that Barack would do. Like I said, he was somewhat aloof.

(Per Obama)

The company promoted me to the position of financial writer. I had my own office, my own secretary; money in the bank. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors .....

(Per Analyze This)

If Barack was promoted, his new job responsibilities were more of the same - rewriting other people’s copy. As far as I know, he always had a small office, and the idea that he had a secretary is laughable. Only the company president had a secretary. Barack never left the office, never wore a tie, and had neither reason nor opportunity to interview Japanese financiers or German bond traders. (2012 comment: Daily informal or casual dress in the mid-1980s was often if not usually a sign that the person involved was not in a position considered "professional.")

The last excerpted paragraph from Armstrong's post I used in 2008 which I originally did not include, because I believe that he has since revised the post now reads (bold is mine):

Barack was not promoted. Instead, he did the same thing that I did in my first job out of college: Volunteered for more interesting work (writing articles) than the work he was hired to do (copyediting a reference service). As far as I know, he always had a small office, and the only secretary in the company worked for Norman, the president. Barack never left the office, never wore a tie, and had neither reason nor opportunity to interview Japanese financiers or German bond traders.

A commenter at Armstrong's post who claims to have also worked at BI says that Obama "interviewing someone for an article, and it may have been a German banker." That hardly fills in all the holes.

If discovered by a subsequent employer, this kind of documented embellishment (i.e., serial fibbing) would ordinarily lead to the subject employee's termination. Instead, the narrative, as well as the rest of his fabrications, got Barack Obama elected President.

Is this a great country or what? (/dripping sarcasm)

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.