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Why Was Obama's Audio Book Version of 'Dreams From My Father' Purged of All References to Communist Mentor?


"Every reference to 'Frank' everywhere in the book, from every section—and there are many of them—are gone."

You might recall TheBlaze's series of reports on Dr. Paul Kengor's powerful book, "The Communist," which offered a detailed account of the Communist Party ties of President Obama's longtime mentor, Frank Marshall Davis. "Frank," as he is referred to in Obama's memoir "Dreams From My Father," is mentioned multiple times in the print edition of the president's book, however, Kengor now reveals that all references to "Frank" were purged from the volume's abridged audio version.

It's an observation that was first broached, albeit very briefly, by Jack Cashill in a July article. And since then, the scrubbing has gone unnoticed. Until now.

"Frank" -- whose influence Kengor asserts was key to the fledgling politician and that the eccentric activist appears in "each mile-marker" of Obama's path from Hawaii to the halls of Washington, D.C. -- is mentioned no less than 22 times by name in "Dreams From My Father" and is referenced via pronouns numerous other times throughout the book.

But while listening to the audio version recently, Kengor noticed "Frank" had disappeared. He re-listened to the entire audio book on Tuesday afternoon and compared it to the unabridged memoir.

"Every reference to 'Frank' everywhere in the book, from every section—and there are many of them—are gone," Kengor told TheBlaze in an email.

The omissions are important because a review of the Random House website reveals that all audio versions of "Dreams," along with Obama's subsequent book, "The Audacity of Hope," are only available in the abridged format.

While the Obama campaign could certainly argue that during the editing process many excerpts, not just the ones referencing Frank, were eliminated from the audio version for brevity, some might find it odd that such an important figure in the president's life would have been relegated to the cutting room floor.

It is also important to note that the audio version of "Dreams" was released in 2005, shortly after Obama's now-infamous 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention -- a speech which made it fairly clear that the aspiring politician would indeed rise to prominence on the national stage one day. Back in 1994, when the original text version of "Dreams" was released, Obama was a relative "nobody," hence his memoir, complete with references to a seemingly obscure character named "Frank" would hardly have been on the public's radar.

Given that the president himself narrated the audio version of "Dreams," approved the final edits and even won a Grammy award for his efforts leaves little room for doubt that Obama is aware, if not directly responsible, for the omissions. In turn, the fact that the audio book appears to have been sanitized of the myriad references to Obama's controversial mentor strikes Kengor as being in no way coincidental.

"It’s amazing to read along the text as you listen to the audio, and see and hear everything word for word, paragraph after paragraph, line after line, page after page, and then suddenly—wham, boom!—it skips a paragraph or line or page that just happened to mention “Frank” in the original," Kengor added. It’s almost creepy, chilling to see."

To refresh, Kengor's book posits that Frank Marshall Davis served as a young Barack Obama's most influential role model throughout the 1970s. Davis, an actual card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA, was unabashed in his political leanings, writing and eventually editing key Communist newspapers across various U.S. cities, particularly in Honolulu and Chicago (sound familiar).

In an op-ed to be published on TheBlaze, Kengor writes:

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could see Davis as a mentor. And yet, in the autumn of 1970, Davis was introduced to Obama by Obama’s grandfather, who was seeking a role model/father figure to mentor his grandson. Davis and Obama would meet throughout the 1970s, right up until Obama left Hawaii for Occidental College in 1979. In fact, in Dreams from My Father, Obama notes the parting advice he got from Davis before leaving for Occidental; it was a classic Davis diatribe trashing “the American way.”

Kengor posits that the audio version of "Dreams" was scrubbed in an effort to distance the president even further from the controversial Davis.

"As noted on the back cover, the audio version was personally 'approved' by Obama himself," Kengor wrote in his exclusive forthcoming op-ed for TheBlaze.

"The audio version is abridged, but the abridgment somehow excludes every single mention of 'Frank' that appeared throughout all parts of the original print edition. That’s right, all of them; they’re all gone. The old communist is purged, blacklisted."

To illustrate the type of effort that was clearly involved in the editing process, Kengor mapped out one difference in content between the original 1995 text version of the book and the 2005 audio version:

            Original text version (1995): “It was the same dilemma that old Frank had posed to me the year I left Hawaii.”

            Audio version (2005): “It was the same dilemma posed to me the year I left Hawaii.”

"This is blatant, flagrant—clearly a concealment," Kengor concludes. "And it’s in Obama’s voice. There’s no question that Obama knew of this. No question."

TheBlaze's Jonathon M. Seidl contributed to this report.

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