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Obama Biographer: Manuscript Co-Written in Law School Could Have Hurt WH Quest

Image: Obama Biographer: Manuscript Co-Written in Law School Could Have Hurt WH Quest
Former President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 05 Apr 2017 10:11 PM

A book manuscript former President Barack Obama co-authored while in law school in the early 1990s gives "significant insight into Barack's thinking" about race and might have derailed his presidential bid, according to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of an extensive new biography due out next week.

"Barack and his closest friend in the early 1990s, when they were in law school, wrote several hundred pages of a proposed book manuscript that was never published," historian David Garrow, 63, told "The Jamie Weinstein Show" podcast.

"Particularly, the 140 pages or so of that manuscript that are about race give significant insight into Barack's thinking, when he was leaving law school, about to enter into public life in Illinois."

When asked whether anything in those pages could have harmed Obama's candidacy in 2008, Garrow said possibly.

"Had some Republican opposition researcher come up with" the manuscript, "there are multiple things that could have been used to 'Guinier' him," he said.

He was referring to how controversial comments made in law review articles were used by Republicans to defeat President Bill Clinton's nomination of Lani Guinier for assistant attorney general for civil rights in 1993.

Garrow's new biography, "Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama," is due out Sunday.

He was interviewed for the podcast Sunday. The Daily Beast published a report on the interview Wednesday.

"There are other examples," Garrow continued. "I think even back in 2008, 2009, from the very get-go, I was surprised at people's willingness to assume that Barack's memoir, 'Dreams From My Father,' was without question historically reliable.

"I thought from the beginning that that was probably too charitable a presumption," he said, indicating his book — 1,472 pages — will challenge many claims made in Obama's 1995 memoir.

He said he has met several times with the former president over the nine years spent working on the book, primarily in off-the-record conversations.

Obama "very strongly" disagrees with some of the claims he makes in the book, Garrow said.

"What I would fairly say, and we see this again very much in the present day, is that when one becomes president of the United States, it's not uncommon for that person to think that their memory, their version of events, inescapably trumps all other people's versions."

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A book manuscript former President Barack Obama co-authored while in law school gives "significant insight into Barack's thinking" about race and might have derailed his presidential bid, according to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of an extensive new biography due out next week.
manuscript, law, school, book
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2017-11-05
Wednesday, 05 Apr 2017 10:11 PM
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