INN Interviews Aaron Klein, "The Manchurian President" author
Released in May of this year by WND Books, "The Manchurian President" has been both embraced by political
Obama has an "Israel problem". He has a real issue with the Jewish state.
conservatives and repudiated by Obama apologists in progressive enclaves. Listed as number 23 on The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list as of June 27th, this account of President Obama's ties to radical left-wing extremists represents the latest work of former INN writer, investigative journalist and WABC radio talk show host, Aaron Klein.
INN's New York Correspondent and writer for The Jewish Voice, Fern Sidman, sat down with Mr. Klein to discuss his new book.
FS: Concerning your latest book, "The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and other Anti-American Extremists", what served as the inspiration for you and Brenda J Elliott to collaborate on such a monumental investigative task?
AK: I was inspired to undertake this task because so few reporters were conducting any real investigation into Barack Obama's background. I reported in February of 2008 that Obama was tied to Weather Underground criminal/terrorist Bill Ayers. When I did a Google search to see if any other reporters or media outlets had uncovered this information, I was stunned to find that they had not. After all, it is the responsibility of the media to engage in a vetting process of sorts when it pertains to presidential candidates. Based on my research, it was clear to me that Obama had a long relationship with Ayers and Ayers even gave Obama his first job at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. They also served together, in the 1990s on the board of the Woods Fund; a non-profit organization that funneled money to leftist causes including the Midwest Academy that practiced Alinsky-like tactics of working within the capitalist system in order to overthrow it. What really served as the impetus for me to write this book was the lack of any real independent investigative journalism on the part of the mainstream media, as it pertained to Obama's past.
FS: As you previously mentioned to Sean Hannity on FOX News, President Obama was not forthright in his book concerning his first boss who he claimed was Marty Kaufman. Since no such person exists, and the person to whom he referred was Gerald "Jerry" Kellman, what connections does Kellman currently have with this administration?
AK: While Jerry Kellman may not have ties to the administration, it is clear that Obama apparently deliberately disguised the fact in his autobiography that he was given a job at the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools or ABC's by someone he claimed was Marty Kaufman, who in fact does not exist. Rather, he was referring to Jerry Kellman, who is an avowed Marxist and a stalwart acolyte of Saul Alinksy, the radical community organizer. Obama also disguises other names in his so-called autobiography, "Dreams From My Father", and neglects to mention that his childhood mentor was another Communist agitator named Frank Marshall Davis. Very little information was known about Obama other than what he had penned in his book. All of this information should be considered a major political scandal and the fact that he changed the names in his book should be challenged.
FS: Why do you think the mainstream media did not scrutinize Obama's background and ties to extremists and why do you think he was not carefully vetted by the Democratic party?
AK: I think the mainstream media promotes the same kinds of policies that Obama is espousing. He is the kind of candidate that they've been wishing for and hoping for. He is their dream come true. The Democratic Party did not carefully vet him because even those in his own presidential campaign such as David Plauth, who made a lot of Obama's videos, admitted that he didn't check out his background and was unaware of his affiliation for over 22 years with Rev Jeremiah Wright's church and black liberation theology. The party betrays it's past and it's roots by remaining indifferent to the polemical aspects of Obama's career. Obama has been pushing for the very same policies that the mainstream media itself that has been advocating for years and now they have this candidate named Obama so of course they're not going to investigate him in any serious way. To them these issues are not scandals. The media has been promoting Bill Ayers and other radical leftists and the causes that Obama has been representing for years, so this comes as no surprise.
FS: Your book sheds light on the sketchy details surrounding Obama's college days. What were his political leanings during his years at Occidental College and Columbia University and was he under the tutelage of Marxist mentors and professors?
AK: As to Obama's college days, no official or unofficial records were ever made available to the media. No college transcripts, published records, or even contemporary newspaper announcements about his education have been released. Obama remarkably relates in his autobiography "Dreams from My Father" that, beginning at Occidental, he surrounded himself with an assortment of radicals, socialists, Marxist-Leninists, Maoists and communists. Obama, however, provides neither names nor clues.
It was at Occidental that Obama first engaged in community activism, delivering what has been described as the first political speech of his career. On Feb. 18, 1981, Obama addressed students gathered outside Coons Hall administration building, exhorting Occidental's trustees to divest from South Africa. Obama writes in "Dreams" about the rally in which he took part, reportedly led by the Black Student Alliance and Students for Economic Democracy. Students for Economic Democracy, or SED, was a national student advocacy group established by soon-to-be California State Representative Tom Hayden, now a professor at Occidental, and his former wife, actress Jane Fonda.
FS: As to Israel, the Middle East and relations with the Muslim world, many people feel Obama has coddled our Islamic terrorist enemies such as Iran, and their proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. In a recent article (June 15) by Jerusalem Post reporter, Caroline Glick, she writes:
"It is not surprising that Obama is siding with Hamas. His close associates are leading members of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza outfit. Obama's friends, former Weatherman Underground terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayres participated in a Free Gaza trip to Egypt in January. Their aim was to force the Egyptians to allow them into Gaza with 1,300 fellow Hamas supporters. Their mission was led by Code Pink leader and Obama fundraiser Jodie Evans. Another leading member of Free Gaza is former US senator from South Dakota James Abourezk."
What are your comments on this?
AK: As I reported back in January of this year, Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers along with Code Pink's Jodie Evans were in the forefront of fomenting chaos on the streets of Egypt in an attempt to enter Gaza with the Free Gaza Movement to join in solidarity with the territory's population and leadership. The three helped to stir riots after the Egyptian government refused to allow a large number of protesters to enter neighboring Gaza. Eventually, the protesters accepted an Egyptian offer of allowing about 100 marchers into Gaza. Once in the territory, those marchers were reportedly met on the Gaza side by Hamas' former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Clearly, President Obama's associates have helped shape his adversarial stance towards Israel, but he has a history of political leanings towards Hamas. In the 1990s, Obama spoke at pro-Palestinian events alongside Ali Abunimah, who was with Evans' group in Egypt, and who runs the web site called "Electronic Intifada" which spreads anti-Israel propaganda. In one such event, a 1999 fundraiser for Palestinian "refugees," Abunimah recalled introducing Obama on stage.
Obama, like most leftists, believes that all conflicts can be resolved through dialogue and negotiations, which is why I believe he is coddling Iran in part. He is advancing and agitating for policies that help Hamas and we might see in the future even the White House eventually opening channels with Hamas because they believe that Hamas can be talked out of their extremism-- that is patently ridiculous. I know many Hamas leaders and have interviewed them and they are looking to spread their brand of Islam around the world and it's not like we can talk them out of it or talk them into peace negotiations. Obama has an "Israel problem". He has a real issue with the Jewish state. This is evidenced by his radical affiliations with such people as Rashid Khalidi, the pro-PLO Columbia University professor and others like him.
FS: Can you shed some light on whom, in the Obama administration, were significant figures in pushing a socialist domestic agenda including the national health care reform bill?
AK: As I reveal in my book, a convicted felon named Robert Creamer who is the husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who was one of Capitol Hill's most visible cheerleaders for Obama's health-care bill is the one who helped provide a blueprint for the president's health-care legislation. Creamer said his declared strategies on health-care reform are not about "policies" but "are about the distribution of wealth and power." Creamer also recommended the president "create" a national consensus that the country's health-care system is in a state of crisis in order to push a radical new health-care plan. Creamer was sentenced to federal prison in 2006 after pleading guilty to bank fraud and withholding taxes while heading Citizen Action of Illinois. While in prison, he wrote a book titled "How Progressives Can Win." Obama's chief adviser, David Axelrod, touted Creamer's book as providing "a blueprint for future victories," including on health care. His book was endorsed by other leading Democrats and by Andy Stern, a close ally of the president who as head of the Service Employees International Union had visited the White House more than any other individual.
FS: You write quite extensively on the role of the SEIU, AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, and of course ACORN in their support for President Obama. Can you tell us if the leadership and rank and file of these unions call for a Socialist and/or Communist agenda and what role, if any, they play in helping to craft legislation?
AK: For example, one of Obama's close advisors is Eliseo Medina, the international executive vice-president of Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. Medina is in the forefront of spearheading legislation that would grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants, with the stated objective being the expansion of the "progressive" electorate that would help to ensure a "progressive" governing coalition for the long term. The SEIU is closely linked to the controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN and they are top supporters of Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez's Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Bill, which seeks to document up to 12 million illegal immigrants inside the U.S.
During the most recent presidential campaign, Medina and Gutierrez served on Obama's National Latino Advisory Council. Also on the council was Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., the co-sponsor of Gutierrez's immigration reform bill. Medina was a chief lobbyist credited with a change in the longstanding policy of the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the U.S. The union reversed its stance against illegal immigration in February 2000, instead calling for new amnesty for millions of illegals. The New Zeal blog documents how Medina was honored in 2004 by Chicago's Democratic Socialists of America for his "vital role in the AFL-CIO's reassessment of its immigration policy." That same year, Medina became a DSA honorary chairman. The DSA also supported Gutierrez's 1998 bid for Congress. In the mid-1990s, Gutierrez served on the board of Illinois Public Action alongside a number of DSA members, including Obama health-care advisor Quentin Young.
FS: Can you elaborate on David Axelrod's Communist background that you extensively explore in your book?
AK: David Axelrod was mentored by Don Rose, a founder of the pro-Communist publication called "Hyde Park Voices" and who, in the 1960s, was a member of a purported Communist Party front called the Alliance to End Repression. Axelrod began his professional career as a journalist with this paper. Rose also worked with the late David S. Canter, who was the co-founder of the Voices newspaper and was named as a communist in the late 1960s by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In my book, I document the fact that Rose had written to Marc Canter, the son of the late David Canter and said, "Your dad and I 'mentored' and helped educate Axelrod politically, which is perhaps why you may recall seeing him hanging around the house." In 1987, Axelrod was hired to help in the re-election campaign of Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor, where he once again worked with Rose and Canter. It should be noted that Washington's campaign was supported by a coalition of communist and socialist groups.
FS: Will you be speaking about this book on college campuses throughout North America?
AK: I will not be focusing on a speaking tour right now but will be putting my efforts into a media tour to help promote the book.