Accuracy in Media

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(Transcription by J. C. Hendershot)


Interview with Jack Cashill by Roger Aronoff

The “Take AIM” show on BlogTalkRadio, March 10, 2011.

ARONOFF: Our guest today is Jack Cashill, author of the book Deconstructing Obama: The Life, Loves, and Letters of America’s First Postmodern President.  The book reveals the possible link between Bill Ayers and the authorship of President Obama’s memoir Dreams From My Father.  Jack, welcome to Take AIM!

JACK CASHILL: Hey, Roger, thanks for having me!  You’re right—you’re a great organization.  You were doing what you’re doing before anyone else was doing it!

ARONOFF: Well, thank you!  Jack Cashill is an independent writer and producer who has written for Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, American Thinker, and, regularly, for World Net Daily.  His previous works include Popes and Bankers: A Cultural History of Credit and Debt from Aristotle to AIG, Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture, and Ron Brown’s Body: How One Man’s Death Saved the Clinton Presidency and Hillary’s Future, among many others.  You can learn about them all on Mr. Cashill’s website, which is  Jack has produced at least a dozen documentaries for regional PBS and national cable channels, including the Emmy Award-winning The Royal Years, and has produced an audiobook, Understanding America: The Great Speeches, Sermons, Documents, and Narratives of the American Experience.  In addition, he hosted daily talk radio shows for five years.  He has a Ph.D. from Purdue University in American Studies, has taught media and literature at Purdue and at Kansas City area universities, and served as a Fulbright Professor in France.  Quite a bio, Jack!  Tell us a little more about you.  How did you become a writer and producer?

CASHILL: That’s a good question.  Actually, it speaks to the subject of my book, Deconstructing Obama—which also, by the way, Roger, has its own website,  I was an English major in college—I went to graduate school at Purdue and got my Ph.D. in American Studies.  Once I left there, I said to myself, “Now what do I do?”  The field that lay most open for me—I didn’t want to teach—was public service, and I didn’t want to do that, so I decided to write my way out of it by building up a resume.  One thing led to another, that led to my twin careers in advertising and in publishing, as I’m executive editor of a regional business magazine.  When the Internet opened up the world in about 1998—a little earlier, maybe—I realized I could change my job definition and change my direction, and that I had as much informational access at my fingertips as The New York Times newsroom did.  And, unlike The New York Times newsroom, I had no one sitting over my shoulder, telling me what I couldn’t write, or how to skew the writing.  I’ve written eight books in the last ten years, and that would have been unimaginable without the Internet as a tool.  With the Internet, using it well—and you know this—a guy like me, sitting out in Kansas City, can do stuff that The New York Times can’t do.  And I’ve done it.  Especially this latest book, you know.

ARONOFF: Tell us about your political journey.  How did you become—would you call yourself a conservative?

CASHILL: Yes, I would.  I think that’s fair.  I don’t shy from that at all.  I grew up in Newark, New Jersey, when the city was falling apart in the ’60s, and that had a lot to do with the way I saw the world because my neighborhood collapsed around me—fully.

ARONOFF: And your father was a policeman, right?

CASHILL: My father was a policeman—exactly right.  He died when I was fifteen.  I had a widowed mother and a bunch of siblings.  We saw, up close, the effects of welfare culture on urban America, when the crime rate tripled and quadrupled.  We saw, also, that the media were giving us, as our role model, Archie Bunker, and that they were blaming us for the dysfunction around us—the people who were struggling to survive in this environment!  It was then that I knew what I was not.  I knew that I was not on that side of the media barricades.  I knew I was not on that side of the liberal-radical barricades.  It took me a while.  What helped a lot, too, was moving out to Kansas City after graduate school.  Here, you’re dealing with real people, in the real world.  I mean, all of my friends have guns!  The question isn’t “Do you have a gun?”—the question is “What kind of gun do you have?”  Everyone hunts, and they’re close to nature.  You don’t say “Do you go to church?”—you say “What church do you go to?”  It’s a different way of life, a different way of looking at the world.  I evolved, I would say, from more of a strictly libertarian—a kind of early 20s thing—to a more, I would say, comprehensive conservative philosophy, politically.

ARONOFF: Just as an aside, I was born in Kansas City, Missouri myself.  Didn’t live there very long, just until I was four, but, still, I’m from the “Show Me State” originally.

CASHILL: There you go! There’s something to be said about “Show Me”-ism.

ARONOFF: Right.  Absolutely.  I’ve tried to abide by that.  Before we get into this new book, I want to talk about a couple of other things. Your work is so vast, there’s so many things we could focus on, but one that you and I have in common is TWA 800.  We’re coming up on the fifteenth anniversary—


ARONOFF: —of that famous plane that took off from Kennedy Airport, headed to Paris, and blew up off the coast of New York.  We both produced documentaries on the subject.  We both worked closely with Jim Sanders, who is a former cop himself, who got involved in investigating that and worked closely with AIM.  You took up with him as well—


ARONOFF: You even wrote a book with him about it.


ARONOFF: I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, but I often get asked what I believe, in the end, after having looked at it, talked to so many eyewitnesses, gone through the evidence, and all that.  I want to ask you: What do you believe, today, happened to TWA 800?  Without the full detail—in other words, terrorist missile, naval exercise gone wrong, what?

CASHILL: Roger, here’s what you and I, and everyone who’s looked into this independently, will agree on: Missiles were fired that night, and those missiles were responsible for the destruction of that airplane.  When I wrote the book with Sanders, I insisted on leaving the ending open, because I can’t say with 100% authority what, exactly, happened.  I wish I could.  But I had an interesting conversation a couple of months ago.  I was talking to a political candidate here in Kansas City who is a former naval fighter pilot himself.  Curiously, he was shot down in 1996, that same year, in a naval exercise with the Japanese—he was the last American to be shot down by the Japs.  He made it on To Tell the Truth.  An hour into our conversation—I’d just met him for the first time—I asked him, “Okay, what happened to TWA Flight 800?”  He said, “You mean the plane that was shot down off the coast of Long Island in 1996?”  I said, “Yeah, that one.”  He goes, “I can get you the serial number of the missile that took them out.”  And I said, “If you could do that, you’d go a long way towards solving this problem for me.”


CASHILL: When he was recovering—he was shot down in May of that year—his best friend was a Navy Black Ops guy who was totally involved in this case.  My friend said, “I will relay your request to my friend.  I can’t guarantee that he’ll get back to you, but he’ll have the request and he will know how to contact you.”  So I said, “So what you’re telling me, then, is that we shot it down.”  He goes, “Annnnh . . .”  He hesitated, and I said, “Okay, let me rephrase that: What you’re telling me is that we—or one of our allies—shot it down.”  He goes, “Now we’re talking.”


CASHILL: That is about as close as I can get to being—I’d like your opinion on this, Roger, because we haven’t talked about this.  Everyone who’s looked at this has a slightly different interpretation of what, exactly, happened, or who fired the missiles—really, that’s the only question: Who fired the missiles?


CASHILL: Not that they—right.

ARONOFF: You know, I basically come away, and my general answer is that I’m sure it was missiles, but still, to this day, I’ve gone back and forth between the two.  Look: The behavior of the Navy that night was so odd and suspicious after it happened—


ARONOFF: —yet the question everyone has is, “You mean there’s not one person who knew about it who has come forth to talk about it?”  That’s a tough one to explain.  And then, as far as the terrorists, they say, “Well, wouldn’t someone have taken credit for it?”  In fact, someone did take credit for it.


ARONOFF: If you saw ABC the following morning, they read from the telegram that was sent to the London office of the Beirut paper that talked about an event that would be happening before dawn—


ARONOFF: Look: Jim [Sanders], through Liz [Jim’s wife], came up with the PETN and the RDX that was found in the wreckage—


ARONOFF: There’s so much that makes it so obvious.  And then that completely ridiculous CIA animation that was created—


ARONOFF: Everything smacked of a cover-up.  Look: It was heading into a Presidential election, so they wanted to bury it, push the story back—

CASHILL: That’s right, and it was going to—and they buried it.  It’s curious, Roger—now, I agree with you, I don’t rule out a terrorist angle, either, and in fact I wouldn’t rule out some combination of terrorism and Navy misfire, because this was not a routine naval exercise that was going on off the coast of Long Island.  There was a comparable one going on in the Persian Gulf, as well.  This was two days before the start of the Atlanta Olympics, they were probably on the highest state of alert since the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Curiously, Roger, just yesterday I spoke at a luncheon meeting of retired and current FBI agents.  I was there to talk about Deconstructing Obama, but when I started, I said, “I got questions for you guys.”

“Tell me about TWA Flight 800!”  What was interesting was how skeptical some of them were at first, when I raised the possibility that this was a cover-up.  They said, “Oh, the FBI would never do that!”  “No two or three FBI agents would ever collaborate in this!”  I said, “Only one or two had to know.”  On the FBI end, we know Kallstrom knew—but not that many others had to know.  We also know that Kallstrom’s behavior changed radically five weeks after the start of the investigation, when he was talking bomb, mostly, but they couldn’t disguise the fact that a plane was covered with PETN and RDX, as you said, and that there were 270 eyewitnesses to a missile strike, not just of the 750 who gave 302s out.


CASHILL: And after a while, I had them nodding.  “You’ve got a point there,” you know?  It was an interesting session.  Here’s one thing I told them that they all agreed on, that bothered them, and that most people don’t know about—and it bothered them because a lot of the older guys, who had started under J. Edgar Hoover and would never have yielded to the pressure the way Louis Freeh did at the time—was it Freeh who was in, I guess, right, it was Louis Freeh—and that is that the woman running this investigation was none other than that Mistress of Disaster, Jamie Gorelick.  She was the Deputy Attorney General.  Here’s what we know: In May of 1997, several months after this was, essentially, put to bed, she was handed the single most plum job in Washington, and that was Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae.  She made, in the next six years, $25.1 million.  $4.2 million a year.  She had no experience in either finance or mortgages, and then, in 2004, she was pulled off that gig and was one of the five Democrats assigned to the 9/11 Commission.


CASHILL: I’m convinced that she was assigned to keep Flight 800 off the table.  I’m also convinced that Sandy Berger went into those Archives to scrub Flight 800 from the record—because he was risking his reputation and his freedom to do that, and it had to have been something very, very significant for that to happen.

ARONOFF: Right.  I think the other thing that they talk about was that Berger was involved with the missed opportunities of Clinton to take out bin Laden, perhaps—

CASHILL: Right.  There’s a lot to cover!

ARONOFF: Right!  Right!  [Laughs.]

CASHILL: What interests me was, I talked to “Buzz” Patterson, who carried the nuclear football for Clinton during that period.  He was in the White House that night, July 17th, 1996.  He told me that the Clintons were up in the family quarters, everyone else was down in the Situation Room.  I said, “Who was with Clinton in the family quarters?”  He could only come up with one name: Sandy Berger.  Sandy Berger was the Deputy National Security Advisor.  The National Security Advisor was excluded from that meeting—that was Tony Lake—because he wasn’t a political person, just like Janet Reno wasn’t a political person, but—


CASHILL: —Jamie Gorelick was.

ARONOFF: Let’s move on.  We’ve got so much more to talk about.  I know we could go on, there’s a lot about that.  But a couple of quick ones.  Mohammed Ali.  You did a book on him.  Why a book on him?  What is your favorite story or insight about Ali which most people may not be aware of?

CASHILL: Here’s the thing: What I wrote about, really, was how the media wholly misrepresented the ten ugliest years of Muhammad Ali’s life, and those were the years of his championship, from, essentially, ’64 to ’75—the years he was in thrall of the Nation of Islam, and where everything he did was wrong and evil and was celebrated by America’s media because he was a champion of the New Left.  His opposition to Vietnam—he didn’t even know where Vietnam was!  Here’s the thing: He’s actually a good character who had a bad period, and we celebrate his bad period.  Here’s what the media has tried to bury: The thing that embarrasses the Left the most about Muhammad Ali is where he showed up in August of 1984.  They don’t want to know this.  [Laughs.]  This is the fact that kills them.  He showed up at the Republican National Convention as a supporter of Ronald Reagan.  And this was the good Mohammed Ali, coming back to his senses after ten years of his mental imprisonment at the hands of the Nation of Islam.

ARONOFF: What were his comments at the time?

CASHILL: Oh, he loved Reagan.  He thought he was great.  They had a lot of shared values.  By this time, Ali had abandoned the Nation of Islam for a more benign kind of patriotic Islam.  What we celebrate are the years he was cheating and abusing his wives, the years he was utterly humiliating Joe Frazier, the years he was just—he regrets those years.  But we still have to celebrate those years, you know?

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.  Did he cooperate with you on the book?

CASHILL: Excuse me?  No—

ARONOFF: Did he cooperate with you—

CASHILL: Joe Frazier did, though!


CASHILL: It’s a very Joe Frazier-friendly book, I will tell you that!  By this time, when I wrote it, Ali was not in a position to cooperate or not cooperate, really.


CASHILL: And the fact of the matter is, he’s functionally illiterate.  He can barely read, beyond headlines.  He didn’t even read the “autobiography” he allegedly wrote.

ARONOFF: One more thing before we get into the current book.  This is related, and that is another book you wrote called Hoodwinked.


ARONOFF: So you’ve studied the subject of journalistic con jobs.  Give us—leading into our discussion of the Obama book—an illustrative example from Hoodwinked.

CASHILL: Right.  I would say that what I discovered in Hoodwinked is that if an intellectual or an author creates a book or some sort of study, and it serves the agenda of the Left, they will protect him, even ones who are accused of fraud.  I would say the one fraud—and I covered about twenty frauds from people of all different races, creeds, and colors—that is pretty indicative of what Obama can expect is what happened to Alex Haley, the author of Roots.  Two years after Roots came out in 1976, Haley was called into court by a white author, a novelist named Harold Courlander, who claimed that Haley had simply plagiarized page after page after page of a novel, and then turned it into a Pulitzer Prize-winning work of nonfiction!  Halfway through the trial, the judge turned to Alex Haley, on the stand, and said, “If you persist in this, I’m going to have to charge you with perjury.”  It was so transparent, what Haley had done.  It was the equivalent of, today, a $2 million judgment against Haley.  The story—totally buried.  Then, in 1993, The Village Voice, of all people, a Left-wing publication, came out with a comprehensive look at the Roots fraud.  What they found out was that not only did he plagiarize huge portions of it, but that he fabricated his story.  There was no Kunta Kinte.  There was no family coming over from Africa, no griot in Mali or wherever this was.  The guy who did it invested just an enormous amount of time and energy—I wouldn’t have known about this, except that I was in Europe when the story broke.  It was a huge story in Europe.  I came back to the United States, I said, “Boy, what about this Roots fraud?”  And everyone said, “What Roots fraud?”

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.

CASHILL: The guy, who’s a total Left-winger—I’ve gotten to know him pretty well, he helped me with Hoodwinked—said, “I couldn’t believe what happened to me.  I had a black co-author.  They killed us.  The book deal was taken away from us, we could get no time, no publicity anywhere”—and they’re both Left-wingers.  Because of the myth that Alex Haley created—which, by the way, is both anti-American and anti-Christian, if you read Roots you’ll see that, because they make this fictional Kunta Kinte a Muslim so he can not only make snarky remarks about America, but he can make them about Christianity, too—they buried him, and they killed the story.  It never escaped.  So, basically, if you commit a fraud, and you’re a Left-winger, and it serves a useful purpose, it doesn’t even slow your career down sometimes.  It’s sad to see, but it’s still happening—I document half a dozen different frauds, and even surrounding frauds, in Deconstructing Obama, where people get away with, like Doris Kearns Goodwin, that famed historian.


CASHILL: Big fan of Obama, Obama’s a big fan of hers.  She blatantly plagiarized huge portions of her book.  She got her wrist slapped—I mean, it cost her, probably, several hundred thousand dollars to get out of it—but she’s still on TV like nothing happened to her!

ARONOFF: Right.  It was written about at the time—we certainly did—


ARONOFF: —but like you say, they just forgive her and overlook it—


ARONOFF: —and don’t seem to care, because of her politics.  It’s incredible.

CASHILL: That’s right.  She goes on TV, bashes Bush a little bit, and she’s back on TV again!


CASHILL: I mention that, too, in the case of—and this I didn’t know until I started researching the book—Obama’s two primary mentors at Harvard, Laurence Tribe, the leading liberal jurist in the country, and Charles Ogletree, the leading black liberal jurist in the country.  Both, in the same year—2004—got smacked with plagiarism cases they were totally guilty of.  Who buried it but Larry Summers, then the President of Harvard—and also Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury, and I believe he’s involved with Obama’s Cabinet—and Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court Justice.  They conspired to bury these two cases.

ARONOFF: Incredible.

CASHILL: If students had done what Tribe and Ogletree had done, they would never have been let back into Harvard!  They plagiarized their books from other books, and they got away with it.  I can imagine Obama calling them when he was stuck on Dreams From My Father, in the mid 1990s, and saying, “What am I going to do?”  They’d say, “Oh, get someone else to write it—we do that all the time!” Because they do!

ARONOFF: That’s a good lead-in to Deconstructing Obama, your new book, subtitled The Life, Loves, and Letters of America’s First Postmodern President.  You’ve written some articles about it before this came out—


ARONOFF: Let’s talk about the main thesis.  I mean, you’re sort of going through this process of figuring out if Obama wrote his book, Dreams From My Father, and if he didn’t, who did.  So how did you first come to suspect that Obama did not write it?  What was the primary—?

CASHILL: Roger, I totally stumbled across this story.  In July of 2008, about four months before the election, a friend of mine sent me a list of excerpts from Dreams From My Father, Obama’s acclaimed 1995 autobiography.  She said, “Are these as radical as they sound?”  I found myself stuck in an airport with nothing to read, so I bought the book.  I took a highlighter, I found the passages, and I E-mailed her back and said, “Hate to disappoint you, but all these excerpts were taken out of context.  The book isn’t radical at all, really.  It’s pretty calculated.  But there’s another problem.”  She said, “What’s that?”  I said, “It is much too well written.”  You know, the best passages in this book are lyrical, beautiful.  Time Magazine calls it the “best-written memoir ever by an American political figure.”  So when I went online, I said, “Someone else must have known that—I wonder who’s Obama’s ghostwriter?”  I had seen other stuff he’d written before this—it was all junky.  I’d seen the stuff he’d written afterwards—it’s all junky.  I’d seen him in interviews, and he’s not particularly eloquent at all when he’s off the teleprompter.  The language skills that were obvious in Dreams From My Father simply weren’t obvious anywhere else in Obama’s life—just the opposite!  I’d seen enough of his writing to see what his literary DNA is, and he’s like a “C” writer in a freshman comp class.  It’s like you’re a double bogey golfer, and all of a sudden you show up in your neighborhood wearing a green jacket, and you tell people you won it at the Masters.  Your golfing buddies are going to be suspicious—especially if you go back to double bogey golfing after the Masters is over!

ARONOFF: Inherently there’s nothing wrong with having a ghostwriter.  So what’s the problem here?

CASHILL: There’s two major, major problems.  So I casually googled—and this was what I discovered, as soon as I started doing it—“ghostwriter obama.”  I just wanted to find out who his ghostwriter was.   Usually they have an acknowledgment in the book.


CASHILL: Just like John McCain—he was running at the same time—who had a book out called Faith of my Fathers, and it says, on the cover, “With Mark Salter.”

ARONOFF: Exactly.

CASHILL: It’s written in McCain’s voice, it tells McCain’s story—clearly Salter was the one who put the words on the page, but he didn’t try to make it sound like Mark Salter writing, he tried to make it sound like John McCain because it’s McCain’s story.  McCain probably dictated it, and Salter cleaned it up and wrote it.  In Obama’s case, when I went to google “ghostwriter obama,” all I got was this: “Unlike John McCain, Barack Obama does not need a ghostwriter.  Barack Obama is a literary genius.  He’s the smartest man ever to run for President.  He’s the smartest this.  He’s a genius this.  He’s a brilliant that.”  And then there’s a Youtube—I found a Youtube clip from that same July, and there’s Barack Obama speaking to a convention of school teachers in Virginia, on the campaign trail.  He says to them, “I wrote two books!”  They all applaud.  “Then he says, “Actually, I wrote them myself.”  Now they applaud and they laugh.  They get it, you see.  Republicans are too stupid to write their own books, but Obama’s a genius.  They had anointed him a genius on the basis of this one book.  I realized right away, Roger, that this was a myth I challenged at my own peril.  Then it got stickier about six weeks later.  I’d googled around, looking for word parallels and stuff, but I wasn’t having any success.  I thought he’d found some Left-wing poet some place—because it’s a very poetical, lyrical book—to put the book together for him.  So I dropped it.  I wasn’t making any progress, I wasn’t going to get any place with this.  Then, in early September, 2008, on another track altogether—I was just doing a little research to see if Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist, and Barack Obama had met before Chicago, because they were both in New York at the same time in the early ’80s, at Columbia—I ordered a copy of Fugitive Days, started reading it, and I was about a third of the way through when I had my first Eureka! moment, although it was kind of a stupid Eureka! moment.  I said, “My gosh!  These styles are very, very close!  They’re both in Chicago!  They’re both radicals!  They must have hired the same ghostwriter!

ARONOFF: [Laughs.]

CASHILL: That’s what I thought—it’s a natural thought.  But then, as I read through the rest of Fugitive Days, I saw that every sentence was tight.  In Dreams From My Father, the “good” voice comes and goes—the book’s sometimes tedious and overlong, with stuff that shouldn’t be there.  Then I started looking up Ayers’s resume, and of course he’s a writer and editor, a very skilled writer and editor.  I found that Rashid Khalidi—you probably know that guy—

ARONOFF: Yeah.  Sure.

CASHILL: —the PLO honcho, who also lived in Hyde Park at that time, a friend of Obama, a friend of Bill Ayers, in his book, Resurrecting Empire, in the “Acknowledgments” section, he starts off with a sentence: “First and foremost, I want to thank Bill Ayers, without whom this book wouldn’t be possible.”  That was Bill Ayers’s role in the community.  You know how you have the neighborhood electrician?

ARONOFF: Right . . .

CASHILL: Ayers was the neighborhood editor.

ARONOFF: Okay.  [Chuckles.]

CASHILL: On October 9th, I think, I did an article for the American Thinker—I write usually for World Net Daily, but World Net Daily’s a news-oriented thing, you get about 1,000 words, I needed a lot of words to make my case, and the American Thinker let me have 3,700 words—and that caught Rush Limbaugh’s attention.  He started talking about it on the air.  So on October 9th, four weeks before the election, I’d unearthed, stumbled upon—and by this time I was 95% sure I was correct, now I’m 100% sure, by the way, but back then I was at least 95%—the October Surprise.  Because if I’m right, not only is Obama not a genius, but he’s a liar of some consequence.  He disowned Ayers—he barely knew this guy, “a guy in the neighborhood”—and not only that, but he had allowed this guy, a self-proclaimed Communist, to crawl around inside of his head for a mind meld of some proportion that we did not want to happen in our White House—because, even now, Ayers has extortionate power over Barack Obama.  All he has to do is go public on this, and the whole thing falls apart.  Obama would not be renominated if Ayers came out, publicly, today, and said, “You know, Cashill’s right: I did the book, blah, blah, blah.”  In 2008—

ARONOFF: I’m not so sure of that . . .

CASHILL: Well, maybe not today.  In 2008, David Remnick—this big Obama honcho and chief biographer—says, it would have been the end of the candidacy, if this were true, or believed to be true by enough people.  And when Limbaugh came out with it, I thought—and you know, I hate to say this, it’s a parallel that’s undeserved—“Okay!  Someone take this burden off my shoulders!”

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.

CASHILL: “Help me!”

ARONOFF: There’s a lot of things in the book where you point to evidence to support this thesis.  One is that they both list, among their literary influences, five people who are the same.


ARONOFF: Interestingly, one of them, Frantz Fanon—I guess is how you pronounce it—

CASHILL: Right.  Frantz Fanon.  They misspell his name the same way.

ARONOFF: They misspell it the same way—yeah.

CASHILL: And when they talk about Sharpeville in South Africa, they both misspell that the same way.  And then some of the things that catch people’s eyes—this is something you have to read about.  To make the literary case, I needed a book, I needed a lot of words—and then I tell it—as you’ve seen, Roger—like a Hardy Boys adventure story: What happens when some guy out in the middle of Kansas—Missouri, actually—gets hold of an idea that could change the election, a game changer—and then what happens?  I cite the song, the Randy Travis song which I always liked—“Is it still over?  Are we still through?  If my phone still ain’t ringin’, I assume it still ain’t you.”

ARONOFF: [Laughs.]

CASHILL: Well, after Limbaugh went out with it, I said, “Now it’s going to happen!  Now the media are going to have to pay some attention to this—our media, you know, the respectable conservative media, the National Reviews and the Weekly Standards!  They’re going to have to pay attention to this!”  But they didn’t—not one of them.

ARONOFF: No, that—

CASHILL: I didn’t get one phone call.

ARONOFF: No, that’s pretty remarkable.  A couple of other things that you go into in the book.  You talk about how the media would go to great lengths to ignore things that happened before our eyes.


ARONOFF: Tell us about Percy Sutton and Dr. Khalid al Mansour.

CASHILL: Right, now that’s what got me into the Ayers thing.  I was trying to track down whether Percy Sutton, Khalid al Mansour, Al-Waleed bin Talal, Bill Ayers, and Edward Said—there was a little cabal in New York—might have included Obama.  I think it was March, in 2008, Percy Sutton, a revered black political figure out of New York, former Manhattan borough president, is on a local New York show.  He’s talking, and the guy just throws him a question—“What do you think about Barack Obama?”  This wasn’t the subject of their conversation.  Sutton just says, “Oh, I’ve known of Barack Obama for a long time because, back some years ago when he wanted to go to Harvard—”

ARONOFF: Twenty years ago, yeah.

CASHILL: Yeah.  “They knew that I had some influence there, and they asked me if I would write a letter.”  And, Sutton said, “I was happy to do that.”  He said, “The person asking me was a man named Khalid al-Mansour—” that’s the way Percy Sutton talks—“and he was an advisor to one of the richest men in the world.  That richest man was Al-Waleed bin Talal.  This is a little disconcerting, as you know, Roger, because he owns seven percent of NewsCorp, which is—


CASHILL: —the parent corporation for Fox News.  So I wrote him a letter, and then I started investigating Khalid al-Mansour.  I wanted to see if he’d had a connection to Ayers.  But when you’re watching this in the campaign, and you’re onto this story, you’re saying, “Why isn’t anyone in the major media asking how it is that this radical anti-Semite, Khalid al Mansour, was pushing Obama into Harvard twenty years before the election?”  Isn’t this worth investigating, this connection?  No it wasn’t—it was worth burying.  I have a chapter in the book called “Burying Percy.”  So the only way they could get out of this was to make the case that Sutton, who was then 87 years old, was senile.  They just made this up—they were willing to do that—and the Obama camp denied ever having anything to do with Sutton or Mansour.  Mansour waffled on this because he didn’t want to insult Sutton, and different people were getting to him.  Some kind of family spokesman came out and said, “Yeah, Percy Sutton’s lost his marbles, he’s just making this stuff up.”  Then the Sutton family comes out and says, “We don’t even know this spokesman for our family who’s telling us that our father is crazy, because he’s not.”  And when you watch the interview, you can see that he’s entirely sane.  He’s very measured in his response.  He didn’t make this stuff out of nothing.  Someone got to him twenty years ago and he just, you know, just sent the nice letter along.  But they just buried that whole story, and when I saw that—I mean, you know this, and you and Accuracy Media have been confronting this for years, how they bury stories that they simply don’t want to share with the rest of the world.

ARONOFF: Right.  So let’s go back to that period in 1988 when al Mansour was asking Sutton to write a letter to get Obama into Harvard.


ARONOFF: What, led up to that?  I mean, what did they see in Obama? Who saw what in him?  Were there long-range plans being made at that time?  What do you conclude at this point?

CASHILL: You know, when I come away at the end of the game, the temptation is to look for the puppeteer—I wrote an article at the time, in fact, called “The Mansourian Candidate,” based on Khalid al-Mansour—

ARONOFF: [Chuckles.]

CASHILL: –but at the end of the day—and I’ve looked at Obama’s life very carefully—I think what’s underestimated about Obama—and it tempers his radicalism—is his ambition.  He is ambitious.  He uses people.  He’s used them all his life.  I think he was using al-Mansour, rather than the other way around.  I think he was using Bill Ayers.  I mean, Bill Ayers was trying to use him too, but the calculation that went into Dreams From My Father in 1995 wasn’t to elect the President of the United States, it was to elect the Mayor of Chicago.  As Mayor, Obama could do Ayers a world of good, because Ayers was a power broker in Chicago, a big educational honcho.  The same year the book came out, ’95, Ayers had appointed Obama Chairman of the $150 million slush fund called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.  He launched his campaign that year, with a fundraiser from Ayers’s house.  Yeah, Obama was Ayers’s protégé.  Ayers is seventeen years older, much smarter, much shrewder, but Obama is ambitious—and he used Ayers just like he used al-Mansour, just like he used Percy Sutton, just like he used everyone else who would come down the pike in the years to come, just like he used Jeremiah Wright. He didn’t have a “Come to Jesus” moment, he had a “Come to the Political Senses” moment when he joined Jeremiah Wright’s church—totally calculated.  He used Michelle—Michelle Obama!  He needed a black wife.  He knew he needed a black wife to make him an African-American.  Not only did he need an African-American wife, he needed a dark African-American wife.  Everything in his life is calculated.  The guy is steely and ambitious—and do not underestimate that ambition.


CASHILL: People who have are now under the proverbial bus.

ARONOFF: Well, Jeremiah Wright, for instance—would you look back at that now and say that was a miscalculation to be there?

CASHILL: No.  If you’re just running for Mayor of Chicago, it’s a perfect calculation, all right?


CASHILL: But if you’re running for President of the United States—miscalculation.


CASHILL: If the Hillary Clinton camp had gotten hold of those tapes before the Iowa primary, Obama would not have been elected President.  He wouldn’t have won that primary, that caucus—but they came out too late.  By the time those tapes came out, the deal was sealed.  The momentum was too solid, and he wrote—not “wrote,” he actually “delivered,” since he didn’t write it—that Philadelphia speech.


CASHILL: You know—“I can no more disown Jeremiah Wright than I can disown the African-American community.”  Well, a month later he totally disowned Jeremiah Wright.

ARONOFF: Right!  [Laughs.]

So I guess he’s disowning the African-American community too, you know, when it suits his purposes.

ARONOFF: And, his grandmother, he threw her—


ARONOFF: —under the bus at the same time—

CASHILL: Under the bus.  Ayers went under the bus, you know.


CASHILL: At first the, the acts that Ayers committed in the Sixties—although they were all in the Seventies, actually—were “detestable.”  By the time the campaign was over, they were “despicable.”  So he kept on upping the ante on how bad Bill Ayers was.  And Ayers is sitting there in Chicago—what do you think he’s thinking?  What do you think Jeremiah Wright’s thinking?  They got to be—

ARONOFF: You write in the book about one of the moments where this kind of came to a head during the campaign.  That was during the ABC debate—


ARONOFF: —when George Stephanopoulos asked a question.  Tell us about that moment, Obama’s reaction, and then what—


ARONOFF: —what was heaped upon Stephanopoulos.

CASHILL: It’s a disgraceful moment in the history of journalism, not on Stephanopoulos’s part—actually, he was the only good player in it.  He asked a legitimate question in the debate, in the primary debate.  It’s in April of 2008.  He asked Obama, “What do you say to those Republicans, to the American people who think that your association with Bill Ayers—” and he describes Ayers—“will cause you not to be elected in November?”  And then Obama answers with that famous line, “Bill Ayers is just some guy in the neighborhood.”  That’s a paraphrase, but is pretty close to it.  He kinds of skates away from it.  Then he scolds Stephanopoulos for daring to ask this question about a man who committed “detestable acts in the ’60s when I was only eight years old.”  In fact, the Weather Underground didn’t form until the Seventies.  All of his bombings were done in the Seventies.  By the time Bill Ayers surfaced from the underground, Obama was registered to vote.  I mean, it wasn’t like he was like eight years old.  So that is a lie—a lie, lie, lie, lie!  What’s interesting about what happened next—we didn’t know about JournoList at the time, but it was in effect—was that was these Left-leaning correspondents and pundits in Washington and New York collaborated on how to respond.  The next day, immediately after the debate, they savaged not Obama for waffling and lying, but Stephanopoulos for daring to ask that question.  To a person, every media outlet that commented on that debate from the center-Left—from the center to the Left—scolded Stephanopoulos for asking such tired tripe about some washed up old radical, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  And they scolded him also about bringing up Jeremiah Wright.  The coordinated media campaign to elect Barack Obama and to preserve and sustain his candidacy—I’ll tell you when I saw it most, Roger.  It was in September 2009, when Christopher Andersen comes out with the book Barack and Michelle: Portrait of An American Marriage.  Christopher Andersen is a celebrity biographer of impeccable establishment credentials.  This is his fourteenth book.  He’s a serious pro.  He doesn’t make mistakes—or certainly not consequential ones.  So the book comes out.  USA Today calls it “a loving portrait of the Obama marriage.”  USA Today is one of among about 80 reviews that I was able to run down, and of the 80 reviews, not one of them mentioned the single most newsworthy item in Andersen’s book, namely—and Andersen stumbled upon this story himself through sources in Hyde Park—that a hopelessly blocked Obama, deeply in debt, under the gun for a second blown contract, and with Michelle on his butt, turns to friend and neighbor Bill Ayers, delivers a trunk-load of notes, unfinished manuscript and audio tapes, and says, “Help!”  There it is.  Six pages on this story, and of those 80 mainstream publications that reviewed the book—which means they had to really read it, not like TV guys—not a single one of them mentions the Ayers story.  That’s when I knew that the wall of disinformation we face is almost impenetrable. You’d think that one of them, just—


CASHILL: —accidentally would name it, would talk about this, you know?  It didn’t happen.

ARONOFF: It’s just astonishing.  Can you stay a few extra minutes with me?

CASHILL: Yeah, sure can.

ARONOFF: Okay, because one of the things I wondered about that—when the Obama people came back and, to a little further explain how he knew Ayers, they made this comment about how their kids were in school together?

CASHILL: Were in school together.  [Laughs.]

ARONOFF: Then how many years apart were their kids?

CASHILL: There’s unintended humor here.  This is David Axelrod.  He’s very close to the camp—he’s the campaign’s main strategist.  It’s not like he was just some clown who didn’t know better.  When Politico comes to him—and Politico’s a very influential inside-the-Beltway publication, allegedly centrist, but not, it obviously skews Left—and asked him about whether they knew each other, Axelrod said, “Yeah, their kids went to school together.  That was their only contact.”  Now, Ben Smith, who’s writing about this for Politico, later, under pressure from his readers, adds what he calls an “update.”  It should have been labeled “Humiliated Correction.”

ARONOFF: [Laughs]

CASHILL: Because when Obama’s oldest daughter starts kindergarten, Bill Ayers’s youngest child is 23 years old.

ARONOFF: [Laughs.]

CASHILL: So, I don’t know what kind of school they went to, but it’s not the kind of school—if they knew each other, I’d be very suspicious of that relationship!

ARONOFF: At least K through 12, huh, to cover that—


ARONOFF: At least K-12—

CASHILL: Oh, right.

ARONOFF: —to cover that—

CASHILL: And they get away with it!

ARONOFF: [Laughs.]

CASHILL: And there’s no scolding of David Axelrod!  There’s no—they just bury this stuff!

ARONOFF: I have to ask you, since you’ve looked into his life so thoroughly, and there’s so many questions—you know we have eleven state legislatures debating whether to require a birth certificate—and I know you say that you believe Obama was born in the U.S.  But the question is—and you point out that probably what happened when he joined forces with Axelrod in 2004 is that Axelrod looked through his records and said, “I think we need to keep all this stuff buried—”


ARONOFF: —and we’re talking transcripts, medical records, divorce records of his parents—

CASHILL: Everything!

ARONOFF: Passport records—


ARONOFF: —and the question is, why?  Everyone says—even Chris Matthews said this recently!—“Release the birth certificate!”  I mean, everyone knows this certification of live birth isn’t the real birth certificate.  What do you think is there?  Why won’t they release the birth certificate?

CASHILL: I had avoided the whole “Birther” issue—

ARONOFF: Right . . .

CASHILL: —until I stumbled upon the poem “Pop,” which was my introduction.  Then I realized—

ARONOFF: On what?

CASHILL: There’s a poem that Obama wrote—

ARONOFF: Oh, “Pop”—right!

CASHILL: —“Pop,” which was published under his name at Occidental.  He didn’t write it—he started his literary career falsely.  I get in there, and I see all the reviewers—New Yorker, The New York Times—all loving the poem.  They say, “This is a loving evocation of his relationship with his grandfather”—Stanley Dunham, his mother’s father.  The first question I ask myself is, “He called his grandfather ‘Gramps’—why is he calling this poem ‘Pop’?”  It’s a picture of a drunken exchange between the boy, Obama, and an older man.  And then, when you get into it, there’s a point in the poem where the older fellow stands up and recites a poem he wrote before his mother died—that’s what the poem says.  Well, Stanley Dunham’s mother died when he was eight years old, and he wasn’t a poet in the first place.  It wouldn’t have taken a researcher—you’re writing a review of this for The New York Times, why not spend five minutes on Wikipedia and rule out Stanley Dunham, because it’s not him?  It’s clearly about Frank Marshall Davis.  When I realized that, then I realized that it was by Frank Marshall Davis—and the people in the center-Left of this country have never heard of Frank Marshall Davis, they don’t know who he is.  You and I know who he is.


CASHILL: He’s a poet, he’s a pornographer, he was Obama’s mentor in Hawaii, and he was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA.

ARONOFF: Let me jump in here, real quick.  Cliff Kincaid gets a mention in your book because Cliff has done yeoman’s work on that—


ARONOFF: —FOIA’d the FBI files on that.

CASHILL: That’s right.  I cite Cliff in the book because he was the one who got those FBI files.  In Deconstructing Obama, in the second half of the book, I put the research together—the first half is my own research—and try to answer the second half of the question I pose at the beginning of the book: Did Obama write his own books, and is the story they tell true?  The answer to both questions is the same: No.  Once I realized that the media were so dense—purposely dense—that they refused to acknowledge who the subject of the poem “Pop” was, then I realized that maybe the whole birth story is false.  The poem is called “Pop”—there are implications of paternity in the word “pop,” right?  It’s not soda pop he’s talking about—he’s talking about this man as father!  That’s when I got into the question of what I call the “paternity sweepstakes.”  What we know, Roger—what you and I know, what Cliff knows, and what most people who follow your work know—is that the story that Obama told at both conventions, that he told in Dreams From My Father, about this happy little family, this improbable romance, this great love, this vision for America that they’re living together until Obama was two, and then under duress Obama, Senior had to leave for Harvard—it’s totally false.  There is no little family.  There is no improbable romance.  We have no record of a marriage, even.  No one even ever saw them together—Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, that is, and Barack Obama, Senior.  We know, too, that she spent the first year of Obama’s life in the state of Washington while Barack, Senior was back in Hawaii.  We know that when she returned to Hawaii, Obama, Senior had already left for Harvard.  The family never lived together.  I have read four biographies of Obama.  All of them had them living together happily in Hawaii for the first couple of years.  If they can’t get that much right—if the major media can’t get that much right, why should we believe them on anything about Obama’s first two years?  We know more about George Washington’s first two years than we know about Barack Obama’s.

ARONOFF: [Chuckles.]

CASHILL: Hell, you can’t play in the Little League without showing a birth certificate, but he gets to become President without one?  If he were born on Mars—if we learned that he was born on another planet like Krypton, I wouldn’t be surprised!  There’s something wrong with that story.  They’re hiding it.  I’m not sure what it is.  It could be the date of his birth or the place of his birth.  It could even be the name of his father.  Or it could be something as simple as the race on his birth certificate—he might have been listed as “white,” which would have been an embarrassment.

ARONOFF: All right.  Tell us about media coverage.  I know the mainstream media, the liberal media, of course, is going to shun this or use ad hominem attacks.  They’ll never go in and try to address your issues one by one and refute them, so they just call you names and all that.


ARONOFF: What about the conservative media?  How has that been toward you?

CASHILL: Roger, you know a lot about the conservative media.  Bless their hearts, they do some good work.  I subscribe to a lot of these publications.  But on this subject—or TWA Flight 800, another subject—they drop the ball.  You’re closer to them than I am.  Maybe you have a better insight than I do.  I think it’s just that they’re so anxious about being respectable, and being thought respectable, and being taken seriously by people who hate them anyhow, that they shy away from any subjects that are controversial or that are “hateful,” or whatever words they want to imply.  We saw this last week with George Will.  This is a classic case.  Steve Malzberg of WOR in New York asks Michael Huckabee a legitimate question—“Why shouldn’t we be asking these questions?  What do we know about this guy?  Where’s he from?  Where’d he go to school?”  Just some basic questions.  George Will rushes into the breach and tries to plug the hole in the dam that that information might be flowing through.  He says, “Here’s how Huckabee should have answered: ‘That’s enough paranoia.  It’s all paranoia.’”  No, it’s a legitimate question.  It’s not paranoia.  This is the guy who’s the head of state.  We should know where he was born.  I think that would be a good question.  You know, when I was doing my research, Roger, I’d have been happy to find his SAT scores, let alone his birth certificate.

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.

CASHILL: But Jimmy Hoffa’s body will be unearthed before his SAT scores are.  Iran doesn’t guard its nuclear secrets as tightly as he guards his birth certificate.  What’s this all about?  What kind of crazy thing is this?  Why do we even have to ask?  Why didn’t the media ask these questions two, three years ago when they could have—and should have?  Why didn’t our media—the conservative media—raise these questions?

ARONOFF: All right, just a couple more—

CASHILL: Worse, why did they turn their back on the private investigators who are doing the work they should be doing?

ARONOFF: His second book, The Audacity of Hope—what’s your—


ARONOFF: —theory on that one?

CASHILL: Well it’s a lesser book.  Everyone knows that.  It was written under duress.  In 2004,  when he gave the keynote speech at the Convention and was elected to the U.S. Senate, his stock went up immediately.  He sold a couple million copies of Dreams From My Father, promptly fired his agent, who had stuck with him for ten years, and hired a by-the-hours attorney which even his liberal publisher called ruthless.  There’s a ruthless quality about the guy, by the way.  Keep that in mind.  And then he had to write The Audacity of Hope.  Now, it’s sort of a memoir, kind of a policy brief that came out about two years later.  David Remnick, the New Yorker editor, Pulitzer Prize winner, and a chief Obama biographer, tells us that, yeah, he wrote a chapter a weekend because he fell behind.  The chapters are 50 pages long.  Obama can’t write.  This book is an entirely different style than Dreams From My Father.  It’s clearly written by a different author.  It’s well researched and well written, it’s just that Obama had probably very little to do with the writing of it.  We found 38 excerpts from stump speeches that are repeated word for word in Audacity of Hope.  In other words, whoever was writing his speeches wrote this book.  The chief suspect—I would say the only real good suspect—is Jon Favreau, his young speechwriter, who has written most of his famous speeches, starting back to 2004.

ARONOFF: Okay, so—

CASHILL: The trick is that he would have done it on a Senate payroll, which was illegal.

ARONOFF: We’re heading into a new election season and, as I mentioned, these eleven state legislatures are looking into, or, basically, passing laws, or working on laws, to say that if you want to be on the ballot again, you need to produce that long form birth certificate.  Do you see this breaking open at any point?  How do you see this next election season unfolding in that context?

CASHILL: If they go ahead and do that, and if several states are, especially battleground states, I could see him writing off a state or two, if he didn’t think he could win them.  Then something’s going to happen.  Then we’re going to see one of two things: We’re going to see either a forged birth certificate, or we’re going to see a birth certificate with some revealing data.  It may be that he was born in Washington state, and may be that he was born six months earlier than he was born, meaning that Barack Obama, Senior is not his father.  It may be any combination of things—but I’d love to see that showdown.  People think this is a trap, he’s just trying to make Birthers look stupid.  Even if he produces a totally legitimate birth certificate with the information on it, as promised, I think that we have a right to say, “Why did you drag the nation through this for four years if you could have done this four years ago?  Why’d you do that?”  There’s no good answer for that.  No good answer.

ARONOFF:  All right, Jack, why don’t you give us any final thoughts, and where people can find your work and your book.

CASHILL: Sure.  The book is called Deconstructing Obama.  You can order it anywhere or buy it anywhere you buy books.  To learn more about the book, go to my website, the website, and to learn more about me, go to  And at you can buy any of my other books, if you like, or you could backtrack articles and stuff.  By the way, it got a great, great, great review from Herb Meyer, a former Reagan CIA guy, in The American Thinker.  My mother couldn’t have written a better review than that one.  So onwards and upwards.  I need everyone’s help to get the story out because I’m getting blocked on both sides, both by the mainstream media, which I expect, and the conservative media, which I’ve come to expect, but it’s still very disappointing.

ARONOFF: Our guest has been Jack Cashill, and both the sites that he writes on, I’d recommend: WorldNetDaily and American Thinker. You have a fascinating little chapter, or a few pages, about Thomas Lifson—


ARONOFF: —in American Thinker.  People should really read both those websites.  This book is very thought provoking, anger-creating, whatever.  I recommend people take a look, decide for yourself.  Jack, I want to thank you so much for spending this time with us on Take AIM.  This will be posted as a transcript and a podcast on our website soon.  Good luck with the book.

CASHILL: Hey, Roger, thanks for all your help.  Just one thing about the book that I think you know and that I’ve seen in all the reviews—all the reviews I get are “Page-turner, page-turner, page-turner!”  I wrote it like a Hardy Boys adventure mystery.  It’s a fun book, too. It’s not one of those grind-it-through kind of books, so I hope you can all go out and support the cause!

ARONOFF: And we’ll be back next week with another episode of Take AIM.  Thank you so much.

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