Update II: It was then-Sen. John Kennedy that arranged a grant for a scholarship program to bring Kenyan students to America. The rest remains under question.
Update: Video of Obama's Selma Speech
When Mitt Romney stated that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr., there was wall to wall media coverage reporting how he had to start backpeddaling. Even after witnesses came forward claiming they had seen his father march with him, the media story of Mitt fabricating the story still persists.
Will Obama get the same media treatment with his lies? Don’t hold your breath. In a speech to a Selma, Alabama crowd meant to pump up his civil-rights movement authenticity and his Kennedy Camelot image, Barack Obama claimed that the Kennedy administration paid for his Kenyan father to travel to America on a student scholarship and therefore was responsible for his “very existence”. However, the first march on Selma took place on March 7, 1965. Obama would have been about three and half years old at that time. For some reason the media never did the math on this.
Addressing civil rights activists in Selma, Ala., a year ago, Sen. Barack Obama traced his “very existence” to the generosity of the Kennedy family, which he said paid for his Kenyan father to travel to America on a student scholarship and thus meet his Kansan mother.
The Camelot connection has become part of the mythology surrounding Obama’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. After Caroline Kennedy endorsed his candidacy in January, Newsweek commentator Jonathan Alter reported that she had been struck by the extraordinary way in which “history replays itself” and by how “two generations of two families — separated by distance, culture and wealth — can intersect in strange and wonderful ways.”
It is a touching story — but the key details are either untrue or grossly oversimplified.
Contrary to Obama’s claims in speeches in January at American University and in Selma last year, the Kennedy family did not provide the funding for a September 1959 airlift of 81 Kenyan students to the United States that included Obama’s father. According to historical records and interviews with participants, the Kennedys were first approached for support for the program nearly a year later, in July 1960. The family responded with a $100,000 donation, most of which went to pay for a second airlift in September 1960.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton acknowledged yesterday that the senator from Illinois had erred in crediting the Kennedy family with a role in his father’s arrival in the United States. He said the Kennedy involvement in the Kenya student program apparently “started 48 years ago, not 49 years ago as Obama has mistakenly suggested in the past.”
Obama’s Selma speech offers a very confused chronology of both the Kenya student program and the civil rights movement. Relating the story of how his parents met, Obama said: “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Junior was born. So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama.”
After bloggers pointed out that the Selma bridge protest occurred four years after Obama’s birth, a spokesman explained that the senator was referring to the civil rights movement in general, rather than any one event.
Will we see similar blanket, wall to wall coverage of Obama’s latest faux pax, one of many he’s been caught in on the campaign trail? I won’t hold my breath. Mitt Romney didn’t enjoy the “messiah-like” status that the media bestowed long ago on Barack Obama.
Around these parts we call these kinds of mistakes - “lies”.
I hate to break it to Obama, but this kind of crap is not “a new kind of politics.”