More Obama Resume Inflation: His Days at Business International

Sweetness & Light (S&L) has the goods (HT Michelle Malkin) on yet another instance of resume enhancement in a Barack Obama book.

It is also yet another example of something an inquisitive media has failed to discover in the 21 months since an Obama presidential run became likely.

It's too bad. It's clear, from an underlying 2005 post at Analyze This, and other information S&L gathered, that had anyone in the media undertaken an effort to speak to Obama's co-workers at Business International, the firm where he worked after earning his bachelor's degree from Columbia, they would have found that the reality of that job differed sharply from how Obama described it in his best-selling Dreams from My Father.

Here are just three of many examples from S&L, comparing how Obama characterized his job and the reality described at Analyze This:

(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. 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.

Another commenter at the Analyze This post corroborated the post's content. A "bill millar," who in part wrote (bold is mine):

Funny thing… A journalism/political science major… Writing about finance… Pretending in his book to be an expert on interest rate swaps.

I remember trying to explain the nuance of these instruments to him in the cramped three Wang terminal space we called the bull pen. In contrast to his his liberal arts background, I had a degree in finance and Wall Street experience, so I knew what I was talking about.

But rather than learn from a City College kid, the Ivy Leaguer just sort of rolled his eyes. Condescendingly. I’ll never forget it. God forbid he leave the impression that a mere editor like myself knew more about something than did Barack.

He was like that…

But know what? I can forgive him for being immature–which is probably all that was at the time. Don’t we all believe we know everything at just around that age?

That said…he was a lot older when he wrote his book. Mature enough by this time to realize that his account of his time at Business International could be described as embellishment…

Apparently not; or, he didn't care, as long as it would help him get to where he wanted to go. Also, go figure: The Analyze This author nonetheless describes himself as an Obama fan.

Speaking of embellishment: When is Oprah Winfrey, who famously dressed down James Frey in early 2006 for the fabrications in his book, "A Million Little Pieces," going to go after Barack Obama for:

  • Omitting, and thus not dealing with, the sordid elements of his father's life?
  • Creating composite characters instead of describing real people -- in an autobiography?
  • And now, inflating the importance of his first job out of college to the point where co-workers don't even recognize it?

As to traditional media outlets, Tom Maguire at Just One Minute, writing on another matter (Obama, Bill Ayers, and the Annenberg Challenge) has a good prediction as to when they'll get around to questioning the accuracy of Obama's books: "after they resolve open issues about Ms. Palin's 4-H dues from 1971."

Cross-posted at

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