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Douglas Andrews / November 17, 2020

Barack Obama’s ‘60 Minutes’ of Revisionism

The 44th president took to friendly airwaves to rewrite history and hawk his third autobiography.

There’s a certain strain of self-importance that necessarily runs through every autobiographer. But the author of two autobiographies? Even three? And before reaching age 60? Such would require an other-worldly degree of narcissism.

And so it is with Barack Obama, who sat for a “60 Minutes” interview with Scott Pelley to hawk his third memoir (yes, Dreams from My Father still counts as such, even if Bill Ayers wrote it for young Barry).

In all, the 44th president has now written more than 1,500 pages about His Excellence. If you’re keeping track, that’s 400 pages more than War and Peace. And this latest tome, A Promised Land, checks in at a boat-anchoring 768 pages all by its lonesome.

Obama’s favorite subject thus reminds us of the old joke about the weary narcissist who complains, “I’m tired of talking about myself. Tell me, what do you think about me?”

True to form, as excerpted in The Atlantic, Obama writes, “I’m not yet ready to abandon the possibility of America. I wrote my book for young people — as an invitation to bring about through hard work, determination, and a big dose of imagination, an America that finally aligns with all that is best in us.”

As Scott Johnson writes at Power Line, “Barack Obama must be sleeping better at night secure in the belief that Joe Biden will soon be in position to kill further disclosure of their wrongdoing in connection with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and — what’s the word? — transition. Obama has a new doorstop of a memoir out this week and took advantage of his old supporters at 60 Minutes to defame and disparage President Trump in connection with Obama’s promotion of the book.”

As Johnson notes, the interview reminds us of why we loathed Obama in the first place. “As always,” he says, “projection reigns supreme.”

The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman picks up on this theme, noting that Obama, “who presided over historic abuses of government surveillance powers, is once again attacking one of the principal targets.” He explains, “Four years after the Obama Justice Department misled a federal court into approving a surveillance warrant against a Trump campaign associate, Mr. Obama is comparing President Donald Trump to a murderous dictator.”

Said Obama to Pelley, “The president doesn’t like to lose and never admits loss. I’m more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion. … I think that there has been this sense over the last several years that literally anything goes and is justified in order to get power. And that’s not unique to the United States. There are strong men and dictators around the world who think that, ‘I can do anything to stay in power. I can kill people. I can throw them in jail. I can run phony elections. I can suppress journalists.’ But that’s not who we’re supposed to be.”

So the Projector-in-Chief, the guy who spied on his presidential successor, the guy who jailed conservative author Dinesh D'Souza on a trumped-up campaign finance charge, the guy who spied extensively on the Associated Press and spied on and bullied individual journalists such as Fox News’s James Rosen and The New York Times’s James Risen … is comparing Donald Trump to “strong men and dictators”?

Got it.

As Risen wrote in 2016, “Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists.”

Pelley doesn’t commit any real journalism, either. Obama has always loved a good cupcake, and Pelley served him up a steady diet. For example, Pelley says, “Mr. Obama is speaking after four years of virtual silence on Donald Trump. He followed a traditional commandment largely observed since Adams succeeded Washington — thou shall not criticize your successor.”

Virtual silence?

The Journal’s Freeman corrects this Orwellian faux history: “Mr. Obama publicly criticized his successor within 10 days of Mr. Trump’s inauguration. More recently, Mr. Obama lambasted Mr. Trump at the virtual Democratic convention in August, and at various stops along the autumn campaign trail. Mr. Pelley’s own network reported last month on a speech in which ‘Mr. Obama delivered a sweeping condemnation of Trump.’”

But other than that, Pelley’s account was as accurate as Obama’s self-assessment.

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