Obama says America is great, but let's "try to change it."
Bloggers on Saturday, February 2nd, 2008 in a blog posting
A made-up quote goes global
It appears, however, that Obama never made the remark. It originated in a Jan. 28, 2008, blog post on The Corner, a blog at National Review Online. The poster was Mark Steyn, the Canadian columnist, author and conservative commentator, who was passing along a made-up, tongue-in-cheek stump speech crafted by a "correspondent of mine." Steyn, whose work appears in many newspapers and is a frequent guest on conservative radio and TV, has his own Web site.
Said Victoria Ayrsmith, an assistant editor at SteynOnline.com: "The alleged quote is, in fact, a letter from one of Mark's readers, who devised a parodic all-purpose stump speech written in the aftermath of Iowa and New Hampshire when Senators McCain and Clinton were claiming to be 'agents of change.' There is no mention of Barack Obama anywhere in the item at all."
If fact, it was attributed to no one, not even its intended targets, McCain and Clinton.
Ayrsmith continued: "The letter was submitted to the Mailbox page at our Web site, but Mark thought it a funny enough joke to merit a stand-alone post at National Review. It is the inspired creation of one of his readers north of the border — John Gross, who lives in the Province of Quebec. Mr. Gross certainly deserves credit, if only because, with all the attention it's getting, it seems likely to be in the next edition of Bartlett's."
Some of the confusion may have come from the headline Steyn placed on his original post, "Barracking Barack."
We contacted Obama's campaign. But on a week when his staff was consumed with fallout from Obama's ties to Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., they seemed unconcerned about the inquiry. A staffer who asked not to be named said, "I don't think he said this but I'm not 100 percent sure."
We conducted a thorough electronic search of all print stories as well as transcripts of television and radio programs, news conferences and press briefings. There is no record that Obama or any other candidate publicly uttered the words in question. More evidence: A Google search of the quote finds no mention of it before Steyn's Jan. 28 post.
Our fact-checking cousins at Snopes.com also looked into the quote and the claims that Obama said it. They found them false.
We'll second that. In fact, it's so false it's Pants on Fire wrong.
Published: Monday, March 24th, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
Sources:National Review Online — The Corner, "Barracking Barack," Jan. 28, 2008
Snopes.com, "Small Change," March 15, 2008
E-mail interview with Victoria Ayrsmith, assistant editor, SteynOnline.com, March 20, 2008
E-mail interview with Barack Obama campaign, March 19 and 20, 2008
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