IBD editorial advanced disputed claim that "radical extremist" assisted Obama's law-school application

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

Investor's Business Daily wrote in an editorial: "Does Barack Obama owe his meteoric rise to an Israeli-hating adviser to a Saudi billionaire? Why did a race-baiting mentor to the Black Panthers favor this yet unknown community organizer?" IBD noted that former Manhattan borough president Percy Sutton claimed that he was introduced to Obama by "a friend raising money for him," that the purported friend, Khalid al-Mansour, asked Sutton to "write a letter in support of Obama's application to Harvard law school." But IBD did not note that the Obama campaign has denied the story or that al-Mansour has said that he has never met Obama and did not ask Sutton to write a letter on Obama's behalf.

An Investor's Business Daily editorial, posted online on September 5 and published in the September 8 edition of the paper, cited a September 3 Newsmax.com article and asked, "Does Barack Obama owe his meteoric rise to an Israeli-hating adviser to a Saudi billionaire? Why did a race-baiting mentor to the Black Panthers favor this yet unknown community organizer?" The editorial noted that "[i]n an interview earlier this year on New York's all-news cable channel NY1," former Manhattan borough president Percy Sutton claimed that he was introduced to Obama by "a friend raising money for him," and that the purported friend, Khalid al-Mansour, asked Sutton to "write a letter in support of Obama's application to Harvard law school." But IBD did not note that the Obama campaign has denied the story or that al-Mansour has reportedly denied the story, saying that he has never met Obama and that he did not ask Sutton to write a letter supporting anyone's admission. In addition, Sutton's family has since released a statement describing Sutton's statements as "inaccurate."

IBD reported in the editorial that "[i]n an interview earlier this year on New York's all-news cable channel NY1, the 88-year-old Sutton made some interesting revelations about his relationship with the young Obama. He told NY1 reporter Dominic Carter on 'Inside City Hall' that he was introduced to Obama by a friend raising money for him. The friend asked Sutton to write a letter in support of Obama's application to Harvard law school." Sutton later identified the "friend" as al-Mansour, who Investor's Business Daily reported was "born Donald Warden." IBD further reported that "[w]hen he was known as Donald Warden, according to the Social Activism Project at the University of California at Berkeley, al-Monsour [sic] was the mentor of Black Panther Party founder Huey Newton and his associate, Bobby Seale." Drawing on Sutton's claims, IBD wrote: "What did this radical extremist see in young Barack Obama that he would seek to sponsor and perhaps finance Obama's education? Obama says he paid his way solely through student loans. How did they meet? Where did the money he raised come from?"

On September 4, following the publication of the Newsmax article on Sutton's NY1 interview, Politico blogger Ben Smith reported that "Barack Obama's campaign is flatly denying a story told by former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton, who cast an ex-Black Panther turned Muslim businessman and lecturer as a key Obama mentor but whose story seems off in at least one key detail." According to Smith, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt stated that "Obama did not know and does not know Khalid al-Mansour," that "Obama doesn't have a relationship with Sutton and that 'to our knowledge, no such letter was written.' Obama was in Chicago, not New York, when he applied to Harvard."

Moreover, in an update to his post, Smith reported that on September 4, he "spoke to Mansour ... who said he'd avoided directly contradicting the story out of respect for Sutton, 'a dear friend, his health is not good.' But pressed, he denied all the details of Sutton's story. 'The scenario as it related to me did not happen,' he said." Smith further reported that al-Mansour added "he'd never asked Sutton to write a letter to any university supporting anyone's admission" and quoted al-Mansour as saying, "I've never met him [Obama]."

Additionally, on September 6, Smith reported that the "Sutton family retracts" Sutton's story. From Smith:

This evening, a spokesman for Sutton's family, Kevin Wardally, e-mailed over a statement that (because there's absolutely no other evidence for the story, and much that contradicts it) seems to put the story to rest for good:

The information Mr. Percy Sutton imparted on March 25 in a NY1 News interview regarding his connection to Barack Obama is inaccurate. As best as our family and the Chairman's closest friends can tell, Mr. Sutton, now 86 years of age, misspoke in describing certain details and events in that television interview.

We regret this unfortunate incident and we ask good conscientious people to extend compassion and grace to Percy Sutton, a man who has served America in many capacities; an officer with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II and as a public servant who was the first elected African-American Manhattan Borough President.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Investor's Business Daily
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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