Cashill has led the charge, even writing a book, on the notion that Bill Ayers wrote Obama's biography and is otherwise a lot more intertwined in his life than anyone will admit. One aspect is the composite white girlfriend in "Dreams" bearing a lot of resemblance to Ayers' true love Diana Oughton. This article by Maraniss was clearly designed to push back on every one of his charges, just in time for the election.
The comments are funny- "guess they'll have to move this one into the fiction section". Yeah, that's how it reads to me as well--simply too convenient. But in doing so it attempts to answer several questions:
1) can Obama write? Well, he writes all the time according to the piece, which even features some of his love letters. It appears just as flowery as Dreams. Cashill may be wrong about Obama's writing skills, but that doesn't mean Ayers didn't want a piece of writing the book and pushing along a political natural.
2) Where are Obama's girlfriends? There they are, compressed, in New York. One comes and goes, the other stays a bit. Her name is Genevieve Cook. Another is in Chicago and there were 'hook ups, but none of those were described.
3) What about the GF's parent's home that was described almost exactly the way Ayers described Diana Oughton's parent's home in Illinois? It's right there in New York state just north of the city. Just another coincidence, Jack!
4) How did Obama get into community organizing in Chicago? By simply answering a classified ad. No references, no connections. Just a resume.
Maraniss goes over major girlfriend Genevieve's diary of the rise and fall of their relationship, noting the final entry, "hard to say, as obviously I was not the person that brought infatuation. (That lithe, bubbly, strong black lady is waiting somewhere!)". How utterly conveniently prescient--she foresaw Michelle. Wow.
Many will notice that while Genevieve was attending Bank Street College in New York for her Masters (only a few football fields down the street from Columbia where Obama was attending) so was Bill Ayers. Mariness is certainly aware of that but talking about the washed-up terrorist is like touching a third rail for many lefty writers, so he didn't go there, not even to mock.
Anyhow, we await the Cashill response.
While we're waiting here's a picture of what could be the Jessup home in Norfolk, CT, presumably described by Obama in the book:
...described, or at least mentioned by Genevieve to Maraniss. The estate has a lake surrounded by woods and is palatial. Since Obama didn't mention anything about the library being outside or detached it could have well been inside the home. The book says the lake is 'round', so for comparison here's a picture of the lake near Oughton's home in Illinois:
Technically, neither is 'round' and one is more of a lake, the other a pond. However, the Oughton pond has more rounded edges. However, it's a stretch to say it's 'surrounded by woods'. Then again according to the excerpt Obama didn't say the lake/pond was necessarily surrounded by woods, he said "we" were. In other words, it could have been a reference to being in a wooded area. While it's possible the Oughton estate had more trees in the 80s this fits more with Norfolk.
Obama describes the lake as being "filled with small gold leaves that collected along the shore". Take a look at the trees and lake size in the top shot and ask yourself which body of water stands a better chance of being 'filled' with leaves. There are a lot of trees around the Jessup lake but it's more likely for a small pond to be filled with leaves than a lake. Then again, one could say Obama didn't mean 'filled' literally--maybe he was compressing the leaves.
Inconclusive, but leaning towards the story being real. Since there are pictures of Obama with Genevieve it would appear the only way the girlfriend is fabricated is if they weren't actually lovers but only friends and Genevieve stepped in to rescue her old pal with a convenient cover story. But how bizarrely coincidental for her to have a convenient mansion with a lake to reference for yahoo internet bloggers.
Daily Mail has located Alex McNear, part of the duo of compressed girlfriends written about in Dreams and uncovered by Maraniss. Apparently they had an email exchange:
In her first comments since the story broke, Miss McNear told MailOnline: 'I am not giving any interviews. 'I did that one interview with David Maraniss for reasons I won't go into. 'I have nothing more to say about the whole subject'.The bold was mine because I found that comment interesting. It could mean a variety of things, but the bottom line is that Maraniss somehow got this very shy woman to talk. Wonder what it was? Was it to push back on the Cashill meme?
Meanwhile the Mail talks about how McNear ended up meeting her future first husband, a boxer named Bozic:
His most serious brush with the law came in 1980 when he was broke and in a bad mental place - supposedly he was sent over the edge when faced with going to the opera on his own.Why was a broke boxer going to the opera alone?
Mr Bozic then walked into a branch of the Manufacturers Hanover bank in Manhattan and told them than men outside had guns pointed at the bank. He asked for $60,000 and was taken to the vault before the police arrested him. He was given a lenient sentence of probation after admitting robbery in the third degree. It was after this that he met Miss McNear whilst working as a bouncer at a transvestite club in New York, a job he had only taken to try and keep the judge in his court case happy. She was working as a lawyer in Chicago at the time phoned up the club asking for a place to hold a benefit night. He told her his life story and, against all odds, they began to fall for each other.Chicago, eh? Another coincidence. And why would lawyer McNear be looking to hold a benefit in a transvestite bar in New York? For whom? It's all so bizarre as to not seem real.
CASHILL SPEAKS 5/4/12
Rather than focusing on the Vanity Fair outing of the girlfriends he focuses on the other 'composites' in the book, and there are many--and many that have been proven fraudulent or simple exaggerations. He makes a good case that Ayers manhandled the book. But he did not cover the presumption that Ayers' true love Oughton was used for the girlfriend composite, which appears less likely now, or even touch on the fact that Cook attended Bank St. College at the same time Ayers was there. Does any of this mean anything? Probably not. Integrity isn't a campaign theme anymore.