Barack Hussein Obama II introduced himself to the American public as the son of a single “white mother” from Kansas and a black “immigrant” from Africa. During the 2008 campaign, and since, Obama has presented himself as someone who grew up without privileges–a man whose mother sometimes had to rely on food stamps to get by.
“Barack Obama would be the first president in U.S. history to have grown up in a family that used food stamps,” says Joel Berg. … executive director of New York Coalition Against Hunger… Obama grew up in poverty and I believe he can combat poverty,” Joel says.
Obama claims that his “middle-class” grandparents had to raise him from age 10, so that he could get the benefits America had to offer, which weren’t available in Indonesia, where his mother and younger sister lived.
All of these themes (aka, exaggerations if not outright fabrications) resonated with his base, especially with African-Americans, who disproportionately are born to single mothers, who often must avail themselves of food stamps and other safety net programs to get by, and who far too often find themselves reared by grandmothers.
From the beginning of his political career, and before, as a community organizer, half-black, half-white Obama tried hard to make himself appear to be just another guy from the “Hood”. More than anything, he aspired to be viewed as an “authentic” black man, even though his black father had nothing in common with blacks in America.
Obama’s ancestors weren’t slaves; it’s more likely that his African ancestors took part in capturing and selling fellow blacks to slavers in Africa. Some of his mother’s ancestors (if indeed she was his mother) were, in fact, slave owners.
One of the biggest scams Obama ran on We the People, since he burst upon the political scene, was pretending to be a role model for lower class children, black, brown, white, or any other color, who might say,
if Obama can pull himself up from his bootstraps to become president, then so can we.
Recently, in an interview with Neal Boortz, presidential candidate (and real rocket scientist, as well as accomplished CEO) Herman Cain pointed out that, unlike himself, Obama has
never been a part of the black experience in America. I can talk about that. I can talk about what it really meant to be po’ before I was poor. He can’t. So what I’m saying is I can talk about every issue two levels deep without a teleprompter …
So Cain knows all about Obama’s background, even if too many in America don’t. Cain repeated his line about being po’ in last night’s debate. What’s interesting is that instead of refuting Cain’s claim (because they can’t), some Obama supporters resort to attacking the interviewer and inventing what sounds like a big tent theory of authentic blackness.
Let’s examine Obama’s economic background: His grandmother was a bank vice president, as of 1970. Quite an achievement for a woman in those times. Probably a relatively high-paying position, vice president of a bank. She also attended the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Washington, although it’s said she didn’t finish her degree. Even so, it was not the norm for poor women in 1940 to attend college.
Obama’s grandfather Stanley Armour Dunham also attended the University of California, Berkeley. He may not have finished a degree and may have gone on the GI Bill, but that’s still two grandparents who attended college. Something out of the reach of most “poor folks” in the 1940s.
Obama grew up in Honolulu, not a cheap city in which to live. His first listed address, 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, is in one of the wealthiest areas of Hawaii. That home was a nearly 2000 sq. ft. single family residence, with 5 bedrooms and 2 baths, a little over 10 years old at the time. Looks nice. Rather! The median rent in 2008 in Makiki was $1079 per month. Nice neighborhood. Hardly a ghetto. Although there are pockets of poverty, Obama did not live in those areas.
The Punahou Circle apartment building on Beretania, where Obama lived during high school, is a high rise built in 1965, so also relatively new when Obama’s family moved in. They lived on the 10th floor of a 10-story building. A penthouse unit? There reportedly were only two bedrooms; it’s said they leased the condo. Although the building is listed as 10 stories, it looks more like 12:
Nice view, I’ll bet! Before Obama’s grandparents and mother moved to Hawaii, his mother attended high school in a well-to-do suburb of Seattle–Mercer Island, circa 1960.
From all reports, there was no question that his mother would attend college; the only question was where. College was something that remained unavailable for most lower middle class women in the early 1960s. Obama’s mother attended both the University of Hawaii and the University of Washington. Although state universities, tuition at either would likely be out of the reach of any “poor” woman who had to rely upon food stamps to support a now-fatherless child.
Obama’s mother, within weeks of giving birth in Hawaii (allegedly in August 1961) returned to the mainland, to Seattle, to visit friends. No doubt, in those days, air travel was something else ordinarily beyond the reach of single mothers on food stamps. Where did the money come from for “Ann” to fly to Seattle, baby Barack in tow, only three weeks after giving birth? That autumn, Obama’s mother attended the University of Washington and lived in an apartment on Capitol Hill, after moving out of student housing (according to some reports). How did she pay the rent? She was a struggling single mother, attending college, who had to pay for child care, one assumes. Taxpayer-funded child care wasn’t the norm in the early 1960s. Where did the money come from to pay that babysitter, Mary Toutonghi?
After Obama’s mother remarried, this time to Indonesian student Lolo Soetoro, the family lived at 3326 Oahu in Honolulu. That home was built in 1955, so again, it was less than a decade old. It featured 4 bedrooms and nearly 2000 sq. ft. The home is now assessed at over $867 thousand. Nice.
Let’s talk about Lolo Soetoro, Obama’s stepfather: Soetoro was reportedly a colonel in the Indonesian military, although that position may have come later, after he, Ann, and Barry went to live in Indonesia. When Lolo requested to remain in the USA, in the mid-sixties, he claimed to be a “civilian employee” of the Indonesian military. His request stated that land his family owned had been confiscated in a “communistic” political upheaval. Perhaps his actions on behalf of Indonesia caused his family to recover that land, but landowners in that Third World country were likely of the very upper class.
Lolo’s work may have also improved his position within the government. He was also a manager at Pertamina oil company, and the Soetoro family (Lolo, Ann, Barry, Lia, perhaps later Maya) lived in “the biggest” and “best home among other homes,” according to Barry’s Indonesian school friends. Their home, when Maya was born,was recently on the market: It had 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a 1-car garage, and room for 5 cars on the carport. The lot was 348 square meters, and the home was 180 square meters. Not bad for a third-world country, where it probably remains a luxury to have a car, much less a garage to house it. The mango tree is notable as it’s reported that Barry fell out of a mango tree as a child. Click here for a video tour of the home.
When Obama lived with his mother and Lolo Soetoro in Indonesia, the family was hardly poor. Obama had a nanny, reportedly a cross-dressing man. According to Obama’s adopted sister and companion, Lia, Barry was picked up and taken to school every day in a chauffeur-driven limousine. The family had servants.
Barry’s school friends commented enviously upon his fine clothing and shoes, especially compared to the other children. Barry had, or so it seemed, plenty of spending money with which to buy street foods (cakes, for example) which he distributed to his poorer friends, like a wealthy benefactor. Obama at first attended a private Catholic school. Later, he attended a brand new public school, which was attended by many children of the elite in Jakarta.
Lolo Soetoro’s family was well-connected and wealthy, especially compared to most of their compatriots. Barry, while in Indonesia, enjoyed benefits from the wealthy connections of his adoptive father Lolo Soetoro, whose family lived in a large, gated compound, far from the madding crowd. The estate had roses, and cherry and guava trees. A lovely garden. Sonny Trisulo, Maya’s cousin on her father’s side, referred to Barry as his “childhood friend” but also as his “cousin”. Barry referred to Soetoro’s mother as “grandmother”, so close were they.
Above is a photo of Obama with his step-grandmother, Lolo’s mother, at the family villa, all looking quite prosperous. Obama’s half-sister Maya at times lived with Lolo’s parents, while Ann was doing her work, which was either anthropology or international banking (ironic, when you think about it: Both his mother and grandmother were into banking, but Obama campaigns against the “evil” big banks!)
When Obama’s mother’s relationship with his stepfather fell apart, he was sent back to Hawaii to live with his bank-vice-president grandmother. So well off were they that even adopted sister Lia went along on the three-month trip. They traveled a lot:
They traveled on vacations as a family as well. Several times they went to the summit [of Mount Merapi] Yogyakarta, Bali, to the Land of Toraja (Sulawesi South), and the Bogor Botanical Gardens. They loved to travel.
Nobody knows, by the way, what passport Obama used for his extensive international travels throughout his childhood and well into adulthood.
The Soetoros did not divorce until 1980, when Obama was at Occidental in CA. According to the divorce records, his mother was residing
with youngest child [Maya] in 4-bedroom house provided by mother’s employer (USAID); household includes 2 full-time live-in domestics.
After “Barry” returned to Hawaii, Maya and their mother spent summers and winters in Hawaii with him. There was an awful lot of long-distance, international travel going on. Where’d this poor family get that kind of money?
Obama speaks of trips to Japan and Australia, as well as to the US mainland. When Obama arrived in Honolulu to live with his grandparents, he was promptly enrolled in, and accepted by, the elite Punahou school.Very nice!
He remained at that school until he graduated from high school. The tuition at Punahou was then and remains far beyond the means of most lower class, and even middle class, “folks”. Obama’s particular friend from Occidental, Chandoo Hasan, knew what a feather in the cap it was to be a graduate of that EXCLUSIVE prep school. Half-sister Maya also attended Punahou. Did she “earn” scholarships, too? That’s the story, anyway.
Since Barry hides his school records, nobody knows the truth; but one can speculate there’s a reason why he hides his academic records. He’s no genius. If he got scholarships, they likely were for “foreign” students or came via family/friend connections.
Let’s not forget Obama’s father’s family in Kenya. His father held a high-paying job in the Kenyan government. BHO Sr. was friends with Tom Mboya and other higher ups in the Kenyan government. He had several wealthy American benefactresses who funded his trips to and education in the USA (Helen Roberts, Jane Kiano, Elizabeth Mooney Kirk [three different sources] and the African American Students Foundation).
When Barack Obama Senior returned to Kenya, he and his second American wife, Ruth Beatrice Baker Obama (Ndesandjo), lived in an exclusive part of Nairobi, in a pricey house that Obama himself visited while he was in Kenya. Their wealth allowed their children to attend expensive and exclusive international schools in Kenya and later in the USA.
After her divorce from BHO Sr., Ruth’s lifestyle remained status quo when she remarried, this time to a record and broadcasting executive. She herself is said to be from a prominent and well-off New England family.
Obama’s international family includes a branch in the United Kingdom–half-sister Auma and her mother Kezia, whom he also visited in London. One might assume that Ruth, the only real “mummy” that Auma and her brother Malik had, according to BHO Sr. biographer Sally Jacobs, bankrolled Auma’s education (and Malik’s), with help from her second husband. But again, where did Barry, child of the middle class, get the money for so much international travel?
How could Obama, that son of a “single mother”, afford to travel to Kenya and the UK multiple times, before he hit the jackpot with his books? He, his sister, and his mother were regular “jet setters“.
After Punahou, Obama attended Occidental college in California. Occidental was not a cheap school, especially when one lived on campus, as Obama did. If his family were so very poor, isn’t it more likely that he would have attended the University of Hawaii, following in his parents’ footsteps, while continuing to live with his grandmother? Where did the money come from to pay for his education at Occidental? Why did he hang out with so many very wealthy students?
Obama took a 3-week trip to Pakistan after two years at Occidental. Where’d the money come from for what must have been a very expensive flight? Where did he get the money for housing and food while in Pakistan (and India)?
Obama, in fact, traveled all over Asia with his mother, according to news reports. On what passport, nobody knows. Or, if they do, they’re not telling.
From Occidental, Obama transferred to Columbia University. Another high-priced, elite school. As a transfer student, according to reports, Obama could not live on campus, but had to find an apartment in New York City. Such apartments, even if small, are known to be expensive in New York City. Where did Obama get the money to pay tuition and rent for that apartment?
In 1983, jobless, he traveled to Kenya to visit his father’s grave. This was allegedly after he graduated from Columbia University; he would have been 22 years old. His visit lasted several months, it’s said. Obama went to Kenya yet again in 1991, with his then-girlfriend Michelle Robinson.
During the 2008 campaign, Michelle infamously missed few chances to remind voters that she and Barack struggled to pay back college loans. If true that they were buried in college debt, where’d they get the money to travel to Africa?
Obama and Michelle also spent months in Bali, where he was trying to write his book. That would be the book some say was ghost-written or at least heavily edited, embellished, and finished by unrepentant domestic terrorist cum professor and friend of the Obamas–Bill Ayers. Since the book had not yet been published, the millions Obama made from its sale could not have funded his and Michelle’s months-long stay in luxurious, exotic, tropical Bali. Where’d the money come from, when both of the Obamas complained during the 2008 campaign that they, like so many others, were struggling to pay off college loans? He got an advance on the book, so perhaps they used that money for a vacation in paradise, instead of paying off those loans. (Or writing the book!)
From Columbia, Obama went on to Harvard Law School. Although a mediocre student while at Occidental, he somehow got accepted at Columbia and Harvard. How did that work, unless his family had loads of money to buy his way in, or important connections that helped him to get in?
In sum, Obama is not a child of the lower class or even the middle class. He has always been a child of privilege. When he pretended otherwise to fool American blacks into believing that he was one of them, he was dissembling, at best.
The lamestream media love to point out the wealth of Republican politicians, like Mitt Romney and the Bushes. Yet how often do they point out the wealth of Democrats like John Kerry, Mark Warner, Jay Rockefeller, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Claire McCaskill, or Barack Hussein Obama II?
Herman Cain was right: Obama does NOT know what it’s like to be po’, except as an outsider, looking in.
Update 11/06/11: Jack Cashill at WND has disclosed that Obama traveled to the south of France while in college. Apparently, this trip (and perhaps others) were paid for by the Ford Foundation, as documented in
a letter purportedly written in May 1981 to Dunham’s employers at the Ford Foundation: “I would like to use my educational travel for dependent children to have my son, Barry, come out to visit us.”
How wonderful for Ann’s dependent children that her employer paid for their “educational travel,” although in this case, it sounded more like a social visit–to visit his family.
Update 04/21/12: This article from a Hawaiian newspaper might explain why Punahou Circle is said to have 10 floors, but looks like it has 12. Barry lived on the 10th floor, but their apartment had two stories. How nice for them. This story tells us that Barry’s home in Indonesia also had two stories:
Obama lived in Jakarta, precisely on Jalan Haji Ramli number 16 Central, Menteng In. Obama lived with his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, in a two-story building. The house has a living room, family room, two labor rooms, two bedrooms, three rooms for gardeners, chauffeurs, and maids, and one room upstairs is used as a warehouse.
h/t Leza, who kindly provided the translation from the original Indonesian, in August of 2010.
Update 04/24/12: Currently, Obama is campaigning against his likely opponent in the 2012 election: Mitt Romney. While doing so, his new meme is to claim that he wasn’t “born with a silver spoon” in his mouth (the unspoken implication being that Romney was). This article from CNS reminds us of this fact:
Barack Obama inherited $480,908 worth of Bank of Hawaii stock from his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who was a vice president of the bank.
The average American would likely consider a family that owns nearly half a million dollars worth of stock to be “of means.” One might also assume that this wasn’t the sum total of his grandmother’s wealth, because surely sister Maya was left a similar inheritance. Currently, the Obamas are millionaires.
Update 07/06/12: David Maraniss reveals in his book, Barack Obama: The Story, that the infant Obama never lived at the home on Kalanianaole, although his mother apparently did. The Dunhams allegedly lived with the family of Stanley Armour’s employer, with the two families sharing the living space.
Update 07/30/12: A woman who was a close personal friend of Stanley Ann Dunham in the years before she died, who worked with her and knew her intimately, stated without equivocation:
After her divorce she married Lolo Soetoro, who was a royal from Central Java. They had a daughter, Maya. Barack and Maya were raised in a traditional royal environment in Jog-jakarta.
Got that? Lolo was a ROYAL from CENTRAL JAVA, and he raised his children ROYALLY.
Update: 09/04/2012: Last night at the Democrat convention, Michelle Obama said [emphasis added]:
Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions …
This post does not concern Michelle Obama; I leave it to others to research her middle class background. What I do know is that her father had a stable government job, was a Democrat Party official, and they lived in a two-story home in Chicago. Michelle went to good schools all her life. When she and Obama married, they’d recently returned from a trip to Kenya. They put almost $110,000 down on their first condo, which cost about $277,000 in 1993, so they were far from “struggling” newlyweds. She drove a Mercedes Benz.
For her to say that Barack Obama’s family “didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions” is an outright lie. Of course, “much” is a relative term. Compared to what they enjoy now, perhaps she believed they were “struggling.”
The facts in this post, which are documented, cannot be wiped away. It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media will hold her feet to the fire and call her out, as they did Paul Ryan, for what they claimed were falsehoods in his speech.
Update: 07/04/2016: A UK news outlet reported that Michelle Obama’s engagement “sparkler,” described as a “modest” diamond ring, was worth £7500 ($9971) in 1991, but is currently worth £20,000 ($26,590)! How could these two, who claim to have struggled to pay college loans after marrying, afford to have nearly $10 grand tied up in a diamond ring? The “struggling” newlyweds, remember, also took a trip to Africa, put a down payment of $110,000 on their new condo, and Michelle drove a Mercedes. Where did Obama get the money for her ring, if they were so poor?