What else has he lied about??? hmmmm – Phoebe
Obama: ‘New York girlfriend’ was composite
By DYLAN BYERS| 5/2/12 12:08 PM EDT
One of the more mysterious characters from President Obama’s 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father is the so-called ‘New York girlfriend.’ Obama never referred to her by name, or even by psuedonym, but he describes her appearance, her voice, and her mannerisms in specific detail.
But Obama has now told biographer David Maraniss that the ‘New York girlfriend’ was actually a composite character, based off of multiple girlfriends he had both in New York City and in Chicago.
“During an interview in the Oval Office, Obama acknowledged that, while Genevieve was his New York girlfriend, the description in his memoir was a “compression” of girlfriends, including one who followed Genevieve [Cook] when he lived in Chicago,” Maraniss writes in his new biography, an excerpt of which was published online today by Vanity Fair.
Though Dreams From My Father is an autobiography, and hence non-fiction, Obama makes no mention of this “compression,” nor is their any note by the publisher, Broadway Books. In fact, Obama only acknowledged the “compression” after Maraniss learned that Cook had no recollection of some of the events at which Obama said she was present.
“In Dreams from My Father, Obama chose to emphasize a racial chasm that unavoidably separated him from the woman he described as his New York girlfriend,” Maraniss writes, before offering a passage from the book in which they go to see a play by a black playwright. He continues:
None of this happened with Genevieve. She remembered going to the theater only once with Barack, and it was not to see a work by a black playwright. When asked about this decades later, during a White House interview, Obama acknowledged that the scene did not happen with Genevieve. “It is an incident that happened,” he said. But not with her. He would not be more specific, but the likelihood is that it happened later, when he lived in Chicago. “That was not her,” he said. “That was an example of compression I was very sensitive in my book not to write about my girlfriends, partly out of respect for them. So that was a consideration. I thought that [the anecdote involving the reaction of a white girlfriend to the angry black play] was a useful theme to make about sort of the interactions that I had in the relationships with white girlfriends. And so, that occupies, what, two paragraphs in the book? My attitude was it would be dishonest for me not to touch on that at all … so that was an example of sort of editorially how do I figure that out?”
Broadway Books, a division of Random House’s Crown Publishing Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: In the reissue of “Dreams from My Father,” Obama writes in the introduction that “some of the characters that appear are composites of people I’ve known.”