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by Sharon Rondeau

Obama giving his victory speech at Grant Park, Chicago, November 4, 2008

(Sep. 28, 2015) — In a one-hour, six-minute DVD production released in 2009 by NBC News, former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams narrates the purported political career of Barack Hussein Obama from his alleged birthplace in Hawaii to his ascendancy to the White House in January 2009.

The DVD, titled “Yes We Can!” begins by showing the photo of Obama which appears on the paper cover of the DVD case with orchestral accompaniment ending in a cymbal crash. The viewer must then choose to continue, after which a “playlist” appears. From there, the viewer can select a specific section or see the presentation from beginning to end.

The video begins with Obama giving his victory address on November 4, 2008 following the announcement that he had acquired the necessary 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our Founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” Obama said to a cheering crowd at Grant Park in Chicago.  In soaring rhetoric, Obama said, “The answer’s spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled…Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states; we are and always will be the United States of America,” with an emphasis on the word “states.”

Williams opened his narration by stating that “America made history” by electing Obama.  “He is a man from Kenya and Kansas and Chicago, from Hawaii and Harvard by way of Indonesia.  He was born with the unlikely name ‘Barack Hussein Obama,’ and now he becomes the 44th president of the United States.  The first African-American president in our history, he will occupy a White House that was built by slaves,” Williams said, describing the presidency as “the most powerful office on earth.”

A recap of NBC’s Election Night coverage with Williams anchoring then ensued.

In February of this year, Williams was suspended for six months without pay after admitting to having exaggerated or fabricated several stories about his years as a correspondent involving alleged dangerous situations.  At the time of his suspension, Williams was reportedly earning $10 million annually, matching the reported 10 million nightly viewers of his newscast.

Williams is now covering “breaking news” at MSNBC, which is owned by NBC.  He began last Tuesday by providing coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. at a “lower” but undisclosed salary.  The New York Times reported in June that Williams was expected to begin at MSNBC “in mid-August.”

“Whether MSNBC can make a transition from a left-leaning cable network to a newsier presentation during the daytime will be a challenge, which will most likely require a significant investment,” The Times reported.

In a formal apology statement included in a June news release, Williams was quoted as having said, “I’m sorry. I said things that weren’t true.”

The DVD continued by showing Obama’s former Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, giving his concession speech in which he asserted that Obama’s election had particular meaning to “African-Americans.”

Obama’s victory speech was pictured, in which he said, “We will get there…I promise you, we will get there,” while not saying where “where” was.

Brian Williams succeeded Tom Brokaw in anchoring the NBC Night News in 2004. He was suspended in February 2015 after it became evident that he had embellished or fabricated several high-profile stories over the years

Williams narrated that Obama’s election was seen by many as “a decisive repudiation” of then-President George W. Bush’s policies.  The video then cut away to Bush speaking in the Rose Garden about Obama’s “historic” election on November 5, 2008.

A portion of Obama’s speech given on July 27, 2004 at the Democrat National Convention in which he said he was “grateful for the diversity of my heritage” was provided.

Commencing a new section, Williams said, “Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii” while showing a photo purportedly of Obama riding a tricycle at approximately the age of three.

Williams said that “Obama’s parents, Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr., met at the University of Hawaii, where they were both students.  They married in 1960…(7:04 mark).

Obama’s public life story states that his parents were married on February 2, 1961.  A marriage certificate has reportedly never been located.

A book by Christopher Anderson titled “Barack and Michelle” published the same year as the NBC production states on page 40 that Obama’s mother discovered in October 1960 that she was pregnant, which would have made a birth on August 4, 1961 implausible.  Anderson also states on the same page:

Excerpt from page 40 of “Barack and Michelle” by Christopher Andersen, published in 2009, stating that Obama’s parents were “reportedly” married on February 21, 1961. Other reports say that the date was February 2, 1961.

Witnesses have generally been required at weddings outside of the officiant, although some laws may have changed.  Today, Hawaii requires a witness of the signature on the marriage application.

In July 2010, a researcher for The Post & Email reported, after traveling to Hawaii and taking photos of entries from some of the records books, that “Stanley Ann Dunham” was listed as a bride in the “Marriage Index” both with groom Barack Hussein Obama and later, with Lolo Soetoro, her second husband.

In August, Hawaii Office of Vital Statistics Registrar Dr. Alvin Onaka provided The Post & Email with a purported receipt dated May 30, 2007, indicating that someone requested not only a copy of a birth certificate, but also a copy of a marriage certificate.  Under Hawaii law, a requester cannot obtain a copy of a vital record, including a marriage record, for anyone to whom he is not related or for which a “direct and tangible interest in the record” does not exist.

In a 2009 book, Obama was quoted as having said that he did not “have the courage to explore” the circumstances of his parents’ marriage, but a 2007 receipt is purported to indicate that a copy of a marriage certificate and a copy of a birth certificate were provided to Obama or his designee.

The purported receipt contains no personal information, making it impossible to know who made the request.  On April 27, 2011, former White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House website that “In 2008, in response to media inquiries, the President’s campaign requested his birth certificate from the state of Hawaii. The state sent the campaign the President’s birth certificate, the same legal documentation provided to all Hawaiians as proof of birth in state, and the campaign immediately posted it on the internet.”

Obama and his wife were married in Chicago, not Hawaii, and his grandparents reportedly did not live in Hawaii until their daughter Stanley Ann was a teenager.

The DVD resumed with Obama shown “making light” of his unusual name in a “Today” interview from 2004.

Williams said that Obama’s mother was remarried to an Indonesian, Lolo Soetoro, when her son was six, relocating to that country, where Obama was said to have “adapted quickly to his new surroundings.”  An interview with the caption “2004” depicts Obama saying that he comes from a diverse background.  “I grew up not only in Hawaii, but also in Indonesia and Southeast Asia,” Obama tells the interviewer.

Indonesia consists of thousands of islands, large and small. It is predominantly a Muslim country

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia.

At 7:57, Williams said that “When Obama was six, his mother remarried an Indonesian man, Lolo Soetoro, and the family moved to Jakarta, Indonesia.”  A minute later, Williams narrated that Ann separated from Soetoro “when Obama was nine and moved the family back to Hawaii.”

In the book, “Barack Obama in Hawaii and Indonesia:  The Making of a Global President,” author Dinesh Sharma states that Obama went to Indonesia when he was four years of age and stayed until he was ten.

Another account by The Associated Press from 1990 states that Obama moved to Indonesia “at age 2” and attended school there “through the fifth grade.”  A more recent AP story from 2007 stated that Obama lived in Indonesia from age 6 to age 10.

The AP did not address The Post & Email’s query about the discrepancies between the two articles.

Williams narrated that Obama began attending Occidental College in 1979 and “it was there that Obama’s interest in public service and his knack for delivering a speech started to take root,” referring to a passage in Obama’s “Dreams From My Father” which begins, “I noticed that people had begun to listen to my opinions.  It was a discovery that made me hungry for words…”

Williams reported that after transferring to Columbia University, Obama “stopped using drugs.”

In the section of the DVD titled “Chicago Roots,” Williams said that in 1985, Obama left an unidentified “lucrative corporate position” to work in the field of “community organizing.”

Some versions of Obama’s life story say that he worked for Business International Corporation for a year following his graduation from Columbia.

Obama reportedly answered a “newspaper ad” for the community organizing job located in Chicago for which he interviewed with Jerry Kellman, identified as a community organizer in the video.

On camera, Kellman stated that Obama must have “had some strong motivation” to work with the poor who were “isolated geographically, socially, politically…”

Kellman reportedly assisted with Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012.

Although providing numerous interviews at the time, on June 5, 2012, Kellman referred The Post & Email’s interview request to an associate, who then gave us two other names and email addresses of individuals “who would be able the provide the information you’re looking for.”  Neither was willing to speak with us.

Photos in the video then showed boarded-up, abandoned brick buildings and people whose faces were obliterated sitting on their cement doorsteps, presumably the neighborhoods in which Obama began his community organizing.

Emil Jones worked on JFK’s presidential campaign and as a municipal employee for 20 years. He became a state representative, after which he was elected to the state senate and served as its president from 2003 to 2009.

Obama reportedly sought financial help for high school “dropouts” in the areas in which he was working from former Illinois State Sen. Emil Jones.  Jones is depicted in the video stating that Obama was “genuinely sincere” in his efforts and that as a result, the State Board of Education provided a grant for dropout prevention services.  Jones also said that he and Obama became “good friends.”

Williams stated that Obama’s mother died in 1995, when Obama was “in his early thirties” and just several months after the publication of his first book, “Dreams From My Father.”

Williams then shifted to Obama’s instruction in “civil rights law” and entry into politics.

David Mendell, author of “Obama:  From Promise to Power,” published in 2007, provided commentary on Obama’s ambition to have a stronger impact by seeking elected office.

Williams stated that “some of his (Obama’s) Democratic opponents” objected to his “going to court” to challenge signatures collected for their respective races.  Williams explained Obama’s actions as “standard operating procedure in Chicago politics.”  As a result, all of Obama’s opponents were disqualified, resulting in Obama’s running “unopposed” for the 13th district state senate seat.

The swearing-in of new Illinois legislators is shown in early January 1997.

Showing footage from Obama’s activity in the Illinois Senate, Williams narrated, “Not everyone was cheering him on.”  Williams nevertheless said that Obama’s “ambition” “made Obama a force to be reckoned with in Illinois and later, on the national stage,” as Obama is shown jogging alone.

Mendell is shown saying that some of Obama’s fellow legislators were jealous of him, especially the “African-American” ones.

Williams said that Obama developed friendships among both Republicans and Democrats while accomplishing “death penalty reform,” tax credits for working-class families, and “increased child care subsidies.”

Obama reportedly attended a weekly “Special Committee Meeting” which Williams said was “code for the Wednesday night poker game,” where legislators discussed pending bills.

Williams said that during his second term as a state legislator, Obama sought national office by challenging U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in 2000 for his congressional seat.  According to Williams, after his loss in the primary, Obama reportedly considered leaving politics in discouragement, reinforced after the 9/11 attacks by his name, which Williams said “sounded too uncomfortably close to ‘Osama bin Laden.'”

Obama is then shown saying that he opposed “a dumb war” after then-President George W. Bush announced his intentions to invade Iraq.

Re-energized to seek national office in 2004, Obama entered the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by one-term Senator Peter Fitzgerald.  While omitting how, Williams narrated that Obama accomplished a surprise upset win in the March 2004 Democrat primary.

Obama at the DNC 2004 convention

Williams said that then-presidential candidate John Kerry asked Obama to give the keynote address at the Democrat National Convention that year.  Williams described Obama’s July 27, 2004 speech in which he stressed American unity as “unforgettable.”  During his address, Obama described himself as “a skinny kid with a funny name” and having benefited from America’s bountiful opportunities.

“…There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.  The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states:  red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats.  But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome god in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents pokin’ around in our libraries in the red states,” Obama said passionately.

“We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes,” Obama continued to a cheering crowd.  “…The audacity of hope…”

Mendell commented that Obama “hit the ball out of the park” during the speech.

Williams narrated that Obama’s Republican opponent in 2004, Jack Ryan, “withdrew” from the race as a result of a “sex scandal,” but not that the Chicago Tribune had played a role in having Ryan’s sealed divorce records opened to the public by a California judge.

Mendell covered politics for the Tribune from 1998 to 2008.

The DVD then showed Alan Keyes, who became the Republican candidate facing Obama that November after Ryan’s withdrawal. A video clip shows Obama using the slogan “Yes we can!” during the campaign.

At the 32:00 mark, MSNBC analysts Craig Crawford and Richard Wolffe provided commentary about Obama’s beginnings in the U.S. Senate.

Crawford resigned from MSNBC in 2011 from a sense of imbalance in reporting on the part of the network.  In an email to Mediaite, Crawford wrote, “…Trying to be fair became seen as bias in the new thinking over there.”  He also reported an incident in which commentator Chris Matthews, an admitted Obama supporter, accused Crawford of being a “racist” on air.

Williams described Obama as “a passionate advocate for the less fortunate.”

Obama is then shown on his 2006 trip to Kenya, “where his father grew up,” on an HIV-prevention campaign.

“In just two years, Obama became a star of the Democratic Party,” Williams narrated, stating that Obama began to be perceived as a presidential candidate as he “raised money and campaigned for others.”

On January 22, 2006, Obama is shown telling the late Tim Russert of NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would serve out his U.S. Senate term, with no plans to run for higher office.

Obama then reportedly turned to work on “ethics reform” in the Senate.

Williams reported that in 2006, the Democrats won the House and Senate, the first time in a dozen years they gained control of Congress.

Depicting Obama traveling around the country on campaign stumps, “The idea of Obama running for president in 2008 was starting to take hold,” Williams said. The video then showed Obama on the cover of TIME Magazine on October 23, 2006.

“The anticipation and the speculation continued to build,” Williams narrated, showing MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and CNN’s David Gergen‘s punditry on the topic.

During Obama’s announcement speech on February 10, 2007, he is heard utilizing a soft Southern accent.  White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett is then shown describing the excitement of the crowd that day.

Obama’s Southern accent reappears at a rally in Austin, TX after announcing his candidacy. “All of us have to say, ‘Yes, we can,'” Obama told the crowd there.  The accent was used at a Los Angeles rally as well.

Williams said that Obama’s fundraising abilities were extraordinary.  “Obama became a phenomenon, the candidate as rock star,” Williams said, followed by a YouTube clip from the “Obama girl” singing the song, “I’ve got a crush on Obama.”

“But not everyone caught Obama fever, and among his detractors, things got ugly,” Williams said, then showed a video clip of Dick Morris and Beau Dietl arguing about Obama’s “middle name” in which Morris said Dietl was being “racist.”

“Hate mail and threats directed at Obama prompted the U.S. Secret Service to assign a protective detail earlier in the race than ever before,” Williams continued, while Obama is shown getting out of a vehicle accompanied by men in dark glasses.

Mendell, who followed Obama’s campaign, said that he realized that “There were times when we were on the campaign trail where I have to concede that I was walking next to a black politician who reminds people of Bobby Kennedy.”

Williams said that Obama weathered the criticisms voiced against him “without wavering.”

“In an overwhelmingly white state, Obama pulled off a stunning upset,” Williams said of Obama’s performance in the Iowa causes in January 2008.

Rampant fraud and coercion were later reported by attendees at the caucuses who were creating a documentary about the 2008 Democrat primary season.  Of the documentary, which appears to have remained unfinished, filmmaker Gigi Gaston wrote:

This documentary is about the disenfranchising of American citizens by the Democratic Party and the Obama Campaign. We the People have made this film. Democrats have sent in their stories from all parts of America. We want to be heard and let the country know how our party has sanctioned the actions of what we feel are Obama Campaign “Chicago Machine” dirty politics. We believe this infamous campaign of “change” from Chicago encouraged and created an army to steal caucus packets, falsify documents, change results, allow unregistered people to vote, scare and intimidate Hillary supporters, stalk them, threaten them, lock them out of their polling places, silence their voices and stop their right to vote, which is, of course, all documented in “We Will Not Be Silenced.”

Obama’s run for the presidency was reported to have been planned by his closest advisers, who carefully planned where he would appear as a U.S. Senator.

Embedded in a paragraph on Mendell’s website is a link leading to a U.S. News & World Report synopsis of a part of Mendell’s biography of Obama:


The website url at the USN&WR article is the same url as Mendell’s website.

The post at U.S. News begins:

You’ve heard about the questionable “plan” Bill and Hillary Clinton hatched to make them the first husband and wife presidents, revealed in the new book Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Clinton. Well, now we are finding out that her popular presidential campaign rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, had one too. But unlike the tale told by Clinton’s New York Times biographers, whose plan claim has been disputed, Chicago Tribune Obama biographer David Mendell charts Obama’s in detail from the initial days of the senator’s arrival in Washington in 2005.

The second-to-last paragraph in the piece reads:

The final act of the plan was turning up the talk about a potential presidential bid, which was greatly aided by his positive press and suggestions by pundits that he run for president. “Up to now, ‘The Plan’ had been working to near perfection,” writes Mendell, and the rest is pretty much history.

The DVD then depicted a “contentious” exchange between Obama and Clinton during the primary when Obama said, “I spent a lifetime fighting against Ronald Reagan’s policies.”

On January 21, 2009, Obama signed an executive order as to how presidential records would be released which largely mirrored Ronald Reagan’s pre-electronic-age executive order signed four days before he left office, on January 16, 1989.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright was pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, where the Obamas were married and their children attended Sunday school

A recap of Obama’s statements after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “incendiary” address to his congregation at the Trinity United Church of Christ in which he said, “God damn America!” followed in the video presentation in which Obama said that he “did not agree” with everything Wright had said.

“Obama never lost his early lead in delegates,” Williams narrated when Obama was announced the primary winner in early June 2008.

Williams reported live from the Democrat National Convention in Denver where Obama made his acceptance speech.

The last eight weeks of the general election campaign were then recapped, including a scene from a skit with Sarah Palin impersonator, Tina Fey, following McCain’s selection of Palin as his running mate.

Obama is pictured saying, “We need to use our military wisely.”

On 11:00 p.m. ET on Election Night, Williams announced that Obama had been elected the 44th President of the United States.  “We have news…there will be young children in the White House for the first time since the Kennedy generation.  An African-American has broken the barrier as old as the republic; an astonishing candidate, an astonishing campaign, a seismic shift in American politics.  You are looking at the 44th President of the United States…” Williams said.

Ecstatic supporters cheering after the election results were declared are then shown, some with tears running down their faces.  Oprah Winfrey is shown hugging two people on either side of her along with many young and middle-aged people waving American flags and smiling.

Williams said that Obama concluded the race with 284 electoral votes.  “He did it with the coalition you’ve been watching on the screen…If he [Obama] is the new face of America, they are, too, and he represents them,” he said, referring to the young people and “minorities” Williams said voted for him.

Williams then brought in retired NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, who said, “This is a very emotional moment for everyone in this country and for the world, for that matter.  This is not just a moment in American history; this is a profoundly important passage out of the deep shadows of our racist past that began with that first slave loaded on the ship.  Race has been a curse for America for a long time.  We have been working our way through it, and this young man that Andy Young calls a ‘planetary leader,’ not just a civil rights leader – bright, articulate, instinctive and cool – comes to us when America had been so polarized in its political arena, especially – politics had become so exclusionary, and he invited everyone in…”

Brokaw added that Obama would be assuming office during a period of “extraordinary stress.”

Rep. John Lewis became active in the civil rights movement at a young age. He has served Georgia’s 5th congressional district since 1987

Rep. John Lewis, who was beaten on “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, AL in 1965, was then brought in to the conversation.  Lewis said that Obama’s “victor” was not only about Obama, but also all of the American people.

While Brokaw was not pictured, Lewis was brought on camera.  Lewis said Obama’s win invoked his memories of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Lyndon B. Johnson, President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy.

“It is a night of gratitude…I feel very blessed to be able to see this day,” Lewis said.  He then predicted that Obama would be “a great leader not just for America, but for the rest of the world.”

Dinesh Sharma, also, believes that Obama is a “global” leader.

Obama and his family were then announced onto the stage at Grant Park.

“It’s been a long time comin’…change has come to America,” Obama told the crowd.  He then said for those who did not cast their vote for him, “I need your help, and I will be your president, too.”

“A new dawn of American leadership is at hand,” he said.

He then promised to “put our people back to work…to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace…”

He concluded with his campaign slogan, “Yes, we can!”

The scene ended with the Obamas and Bidens holding up their hands together on the stage, rejoicing in their election win.

Williams concluded the production by stating that the “Yes, we can!” slogan related to Lincoln’s optimism about the future following the Civil War and Obama’s having been inspired by Lincoln. “By getting elected president, Obama was given the opportunity to realize the dream in Dr. King’s speech and to fulfill the hopes expressed by Lincoln.  That’s the beginning; now comes the hard part,” Williams concluded.

He then signs off.

A menu of “DVD Extras” then appears which contains a number of interviews Williams conducted with Obama and one with Michelle Obama.

In one of the inteviews, Williams broached the “ugly topic” of Obama’s “personal safety.” “A lot of the young people in your crowds don’t know to fear American crowds. Guys our age do.  Do you find yourself ever looking for a face in the crowd?” he asked Obama.

Williams asked Obama very few policy questions during the interviews.  During one, Obama said that he thought his mother “would be proud of me.”

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