Several years ago veteran writer Jack Cashill began developing a hypothesis that Bill Ayers was the secret writer behind Barack Obama's memoir Dreams From My Father. I've interviewed Jack a number of times over the years and found his research on the subject to be thorough and compelling.
He has a new book, Deconstructing Obama, that explores this thesis and some closely related ideas.
Ayers has been asked about this in the past and has claimed credit for the book, though he does it in a mocking way that gives him wiggle room on his intent. Is he just joking...or telling the truth in a joking manner?
His latest comments came just a few days ago during a talk at Montclair State University:
Cashill writes in American Thinker:
Unprompted, Ayers also noted that while Dreams deserves its praise, Obama's second opus, Audacity of Hope, is "more of a political hack book."Not surprisingly, Ayers retreated into irony as he ended the session. "Yeah, yeah," he said after confirming again that he wrote Dreams, "And if you help me prove it, I'll split the royalties with you. Thank you very much."
With his final comment, the Ayers-friendly audience laughed in relief. The media will laugh nervously upon seeing the video as well. The White House will not.
This was not the first time Ayers made such a claim. Backyard Conservative reported October 4, 2009, after meeting Ayers at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.:
Then, unprompted he said--I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said--Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He's about my height, short. He went on to say--and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again--I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said--I wrote it. I said--why would I believe you, you're a liar.
He had no answer to that. Just looked at me. Then he turned and walked off, and said again his bit about my proving it and splitting the proceeds.
Critics of Cashill's theory try to discredit the debate by simply saying that Ayers is ridiculing right-wing speculators. They rarely debate any of the points that Cashill or others have made.
Cashill's theory took on new life with the publication of "mainstream" profile of the Obama's marriage:
Christopher Anderson, in his 2009 book "Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage," reported that a desperate Obama in the mid-1990s, facing a second canceled book contract, sought the help of Ayers.
"In the end, Ayers contribution to Barack's "Dreams from My Father" would be significant," Anderson wrote on page 165 of "Barack and Michelle," "so much so that the book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers' own writings."
Anderson credited Ayers with providing the assistance Obama needed to complete his unfinished autobiography.
"Thanks to help from the veteran writer Ayers, Barack Obama would be able to submit a manuscript to his editors at Times Brooks," Anderson continued on page 166. "With some minor cuts and polishing, the book would be on track for publication in the early summer of 1995."
Anderson likely did not realize that he'd wandered into a literary hornet's nest until this interview with Sean Hannity (relevant portion begins around 2:15):
A few weeks ago I interviewed Jack Cashill while I was filling in on the Quinn & Rose "War Room" program on WPGB-FM in Pittsburgh. (Side note -- Rose Tennent and I will be among the speakers...along with Dick Armey and Mary Katherine Ham...at the Restoring America Rally in Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening March 29th.) In this segment we discuss what impact Jack's hypothesis might have had in the last election. Listen for Cashill to quote Obama biographer David Remnick: