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Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Will Newsmax Retract Apparently False Obama Attack?
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 3 Newsmax article by Ken Timmerman asserted that Barack Obama "was closely associated as early as age 25 to a key adviser to a Saudi billionaire who had mentored the founding members of the Black Panthers.":

In a videotaped interview this year on New York’s all news cable channel NY1, a prominent African-American businessman and political figure made the curious disclosures about Obama.

Percy Sutton, the former borough president of Manhattan, off-handedly revealed the unusual circumstances about his first encounter with the young Obama.

“I was introduced to (Obama) by a friend who was raising money for him,” Sutton told NY1 city hall reporter Dominic Carter.

“The friend’s name is Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, from Texas,” Sutton said. “He is the principal adviser to one of the world’s richest men. He told me about Obama.”

Sutton, the founder of Inner City Broadcasting, said al-Mansour contacted him to ask a favor: Would Sutton write a letter in support of Obama’s application to Harvard Law School?

Timmerman's story, however, seems to be falling apart.

First, Politico's Ben Smith reported (h/t Media Matters) that the Obama campaign denied the story, stating that "Obama did not know and does not know Khalid al-Mansour," Obama doesn't have a relationship with Sutton, and that "to our knowledge, no such letter was written." Further, Obama was in Chicago, not New York, when he applied to Harvard, according to the campaign. While Timmerman noted in his article that "The Obama campaign did not respond to requests for comment," he has not yet gone back to report the denial.

Smith further reported that the Sutton family was retracting Percy Sutton's claim:

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.

Smith added that "there's absolutely no other evidence for the story, and much that contradicts it." Timmerman has made no mention of this, either.

So, will Timmerman acknowledge that his article has essentially been blown out of the water? Or will he try to cling to some shred in order to salvage it? We shall see.

Of course, being proven demonstrably false didn't keep Investor's Business Daily from uncritically repeating Timmerman's debunked claims.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EDT

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