Will Book on Obama's Mom Shape Birther Debate?

Jack Cashill
In 2008, Janny Scott a reporter for the New York Times, took leave to write what would become A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, a book to be released on May 3.

In the April 20 Times, Scott has a lengthy article largely excerpted from her book.  If, however, after two years and two hundred interviews, she has information that could put the birther controversy to bed, she has chosen not to share it, at least not yet.

In the article, Scott's discussion of the relationship between Barack Obama Sr. and Obama's mom, Stanley Ann Dunham, is brief and a little bit tantalizing.

Scott contends that Dunham met Obama in the fall of 1960.  She promptly became pregnant, "dropped out of school, married him and gave birth shortly before their union ended."  Much hinges on the word "shortly" here.  In the official Obama nativity story, told and retold many times, Obama is two years-old when his father leaves the family.  "Shortly" sounds shorter than two years, much shorter.

As to where baby Obama is born, that Scott does not reveal.  Curiously, however, she tells the reader that Obama's half-sister Maya Kassandra Soetoro was born "at Saint Carolus Hospital, a Catholic hospital thought by Westerners at that time to be the best in Jakarta." 

Although the Times has pretended there is no controversy about Obama's birthplace, Scott cannot be unaware of it.  Whether she is being coy here or simply oblivious, time will soon enough tell, but probably not "the" Times.
In 2008, Janny Scott a reporter for the New York Times, took leave to write what would become A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, a book to be released on May 3.

In the April 20 Times, Scott has a lengthy article largely excerpted from her book.  If, however, after two years and two hundred interviews, she has information that could put the birther controversy to bed, she has chosen not to share it, at least not yet.

In the article, Scott's discussion of the relationship between Barack Obama Sr. and Obama's mom, Stanley Ann Dunham, is brief and a little bit tantalizing.

Scott contends that Dunham met Obama in the fall of 1960.  She promptly became pregnant, "dropped out of school, married him and gave birth shortly before their union ended."  Much hinges on the word "shortly" here.  In the official Obama nativity story, told and retold many times, Obama is two years-old when his father leaves the family.  "Shortly" sounds shorter than two years, much shorter.

As to where baby Obama is born, that Scott does not reveal.  Curiously, however, she tells the reader that Obama's half-sister Maya Kassandra Soetoro was born "at Saint Carolus Hospital, a Catholic hospital thought by Westerners at that time to be the best in Jakarta." 

Although the Times has pretended there is no controversy about Obama's birthplace, Scott cannot be unaware of it.  Whether she is being coy here or simply oblivious, time will soon enough tell, but probably not "the" Times.