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Sex, lies and creatively edited interviews with Sarah Obama

This headline from Salon.com really struck me and I had to share it with you. It’s another insightful look by Salon into the conspiracy theory aspects of Barack Obama’s story.

For some reason, the transcripts of the interview that have been posted on various right-wing Web sites all seem to cut off right after Sarah Obama says she was there when “he” was born. So does this YouTube video with the audio of the interview. But as The Economist points out, McRae also released the full audio, in which the key parts of the conversation can be heard. Here’s part of it. (The other person speaking is translator Vitalis Akech Ogombe.)

MCRAE: When I come in December. I would like to come by the place, the hospital, where he was born. Could you tell me where he was born? Was he born in Mombasa?

OGOMBE: No, Obama was not born in Mombasa. He was born in America.

MCRAE: Whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.

OGOMBE: No, he was born in America, not in Mombasa.

MCRAE: Do you know where he was born? I thought he was born in Kenya. I was going to go by and see where he was born.

OGOMBE: Hawaii. Hawaii. Sir, she says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father was also learning, there. The state of Hawaii.

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4 Responses to Sex, lies and creatively edited interviews with Sarah Obama

  1. avatar
    Greg D. February 7, 2009 at 12:56 am #

    In my transcription I posted on lulu.com I have at the last line of the excerpt above: “where his father was also marrying”, not “learning”. I recall playing that part of the recording over and over to tell whetherOgombewas saying “marrying” or “learning”, and I ended up about95% positiveit was “marrying”–but I admit it iscan beheard either wayand I could be wrong. A more important point (not covered in the Salon article above) is thatin one or twoplaces in the recording a woman’s voice is heard saying plainly in English that Barack Jr. was born “in Hawaii”. In my transcript Iidentified this woman’s voice as notSarah Obama. But Dr. Conspiracywho hears the same tape has saidit is Sarah Obama.It actually would make excellent sense that the voice be Sarah Obama since it is Sarah Obama answering frequently otherwise. But againstthis woman’s voicebeing Sarah Obama to me was (a)it is inEnglish (does Sarah Obama speak English?), and (b) it seemed to mehigher-pitched in tone than Sarah Obama’s deeper voice at other places in the recording.But is it Sarah Obama after all and I got that wrong? In any case, whether or not it was Sarah Obama or a younger woman (or a higher-toned-voice male) speaking on behalf of Sarah Obama, the fullrecordingclearly shows all the Kenyan Obamas, Sarah Obama included, understoodBarack Jr. to have been born in Hawaii–and the Kenya birth theory of Barack Obama Jr.is an otherwise-hilarious misunderstanding of this tape on the part of McRae, Berg et al.
    Incidentally Dr. Conspiracy, this website is an absolute gem of resources on this issue, and I sincerely hope it remains accessible on the internet(I know of nothing like it as comprehensive or soundly-researched).
    Greg Doudna

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 7, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    Thanks Greg. I was not careful in my wording. I didn’t mean to say that Sarah Obama herself said in English that Obama was born in Hawaii, but that she and the family and the translator were trying to get that point across. I’ve reworded it to be clearer.

    One point had troubled me and that was if Sarah Obama were not present when Barack Obama Jr. was born, how exactly could she say with authority where he WAS born. (I guess I had some silly notion in my head that the back country of Africa was total detached from the rest of the world.) The answer to that is that her son wrote the family a letter with the birth announcement, which I talk about here in my new article Sarah Obama Learns of Her Grandchild. It closes the circle rather nicely.

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 7, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    Greg, you commented “sincerely hope [this site] remains accessible on the internet”. While I may not actively maintain it forever, there’s no reason for it to “go away” any time soon. Given the work that you do, you have a better perspective on the persistence of information than most of us.

    I got a copy of A. P. Hinman’s 1844 book about Chester A. Arthur through interlibrary loan. I was able to see what he wrote over 150 years later. While the book was starting to deteriorate, it was accessible. Obama Conspiracy Theories, on the other hand, is content in a database, interpreted by some software, turned into HTML and presented across the the Internet. The amount of technology between the word I wrote and the word you see is staggering. It only remains so long as I pay for web hosting, and renew the obamaconspiracy.org domain. Hinman’s book remains long after he himself is long departed. I can’t say that about this web site.

  4. avatar
    Expelliarmus February 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    I agree with others who have noted that your site seems to be the most comprehensive response to the various fantasies proposed by the birthers.

    However, I’d note that in terms of long-term records, the documentary record is rather complete on the circumstances of Obama’s Hawaii birth, since Obama himself wrote a book on the subject. (The printed-on-paper sort of book, with a few zillion copies in print and presumably among the holdings of every public library inn the land.)

    Given that the birthers lack any evidence whatsoever to support their claims — their whole premise is that they argue from inferences to be drawn from lack of evidence. (“We don’t have a sample of Obama’s DNA to prove he’s human , so that means he must be an alien from the planet Naboo”) So these rumors are far more ephemeral than your blog — over time they will exist only in the records of a bunch of court filings that were uniformly dismissed by the courts.

    But down the line, you might consider writing a book yourself on the topic, using the material you’ve compiled here. It certainly would be of interest to historians down the line.