"An Improbable Love"
- Maraniss has various governmental records of the marriage, and even a new third party confirmation that "Stanley had a baby" as a doctor at the hospital laughed a few days later at lunch. But he points out repeatedly that almost nobody can remember ever seeing the couple together, before or after marriage. The main witness to seeing them together in the book is Obama Sr.'s college friend Neil Abercrombie, the current Democratic governor of Hawaii, whom Maraniss doesn't appear to trust.
Maraniss can find zero evidence that the couple ever lived together. He says that Stanley Ann was in Seattle to attend the U. of Washington within a month of the August 1961 birth, without her mother but with the baby, which I'd heard before but still sounds screwy to me. We have long had a witness, a lady who took care of Barack Jr. in Seattle during the Spring 1962 semester, and we've had Stanley Ann's grades from Fall 1961, so I guess it fits.
This raises obvious questions about Obama's career-launching 2004 convention keynote address that starts out talking about his parents' "improbable love."
In general, most of Maraniss's new revelations of sizable falsehoods in Obama's works can't really be blamed on Obama, since they stem from before he can remember. He writes, for example, that his parents were together for two years, but you can't really blame him for getting wrong facts from his infancy. He comes from a long line of people who like a good story and don't mind spin. You'll notice that Obama often puts a little skeptical spin of his own on stories passed down to him: everybody listening to that speech took "improbable love" to mean that, awwwwwww, it's just amazing that two people from the opposite ends of the earth fell so deeply in love with each other and tried to make a life together. But, Obama is also not ruling out that what he was told was a crock: Hey, I told you all it was "improbable," didn't I? Likewise, in Dreams he says he was assured that his parents were married in February 1961, but that he's never had the heart to look into it.
In general, Obama does not like to tell baldfaced lies, especially when some lawyerly language would accomplish the task almost as well.