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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Tue. 01/13/09 06:55:53 PM

A Glimpse Behind the Curtain

James Taranto notes some discrepancies, today, in two accounts of how Obama's Philadelphia Speech on Race and the Race, Mar. 18, 2008, came to be written.

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Rewriting the History of Rewriting

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Obama aide David Axelrod gave a speech yesterday in which he recounted how Obama came to deliver his much-hyped but now largely forgotten speech on race:

"He said, 'I want to give a speech about race. I want to do it by Monday or Tuesday. I'm going to write it,'" Axelrod said. Axelrod told Obama his schedule would make that difficult. But Obama put his kids to bed and started writing, from about 10 p.m. to about 3 a.m.
They flew the next morning to Philadelphia where he would give the speech.
Obama started writing again in his hotel room.
"Having nothing to contribute, I went to sleep," Axelrod said. About 2 a.m. Axelrod awoke to read a copy of the speech on his Blackberry.
"I read this beautiful, moving speech and I messaged him back and said, 'This is why you should be president,'" Axelrod said.

As we noted last month, however, the Washington Post has quoted another Obama aide, chief speechwriter-designate Jon Favreau as taking most of the credit for writing the speech:

One Saturday night in March, Obama called Favreau and said he wanted to immediately deliver a speech about race. He dictated his unscripted thoughts to Favreau over the phone for 30 minutes — "It would have been a great speech right then," Favreau said — and then asked him to clean it up and write a draft. Favreau put it together, and Obama spent two nights retooling before delivering the address in Philadelphia the following Tuesday.
"So," Obama told Favreau afterward. "I think that worked."

It's possible that Obama misled Axelrod, or that Favreau is taking credit he doesn't deserve (although the latter would seem a foolish move if he wants to keep his job). The conflicting stories, though, can only serve to fuel right-wing conspiracy theories about Obama's "real" ghostwriter.

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So, let's get this straight. Yesterday, Obama's campaign manager claimed that Obama wrote the Philadelphia speech himself over the course of a couple of all-nighters. (All the while campaigning, too, mind you.) Last month, though, one of Obama's speechwriters said that he had done the writing, with direction from, and editing by, Obama.

Whom, Faithful Reader, do you think is lying through his teeth?

The Liar Through His Teeth also claimed, yesterday, that the Speech About Which He Lies Through His Teeth evidenced that Obama deserved to be president. Nevermind that the most quoted line in the speech — "I can no more disown him [Rev. Jeremiah Wright] than I can disown the black community" — had long ago been shown to be sheer puffery, for not long afterwards Obama did indeed (as the saying goes) throw Wright under the bus.

Next week, people like them are going to be in charge of the federal government. God help us all.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 01/13/09 06:55:53 PM
Categorized as Political.


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