Right wing news sites and bloggers are abuzz over an "admission" by Bill Ayers that he ghost-wrote Barack Obama's first book, Dreams From My Father.
The rumors that the former Vietnam War-era radical-turned-pedagogy professor wrote Obama's book have been a favorite of right-wing bloggers since the 2008 election, but a claim by a conservative blogger earlier this week that Ayers admitted writing the book to her has fanned the flames once again.
And indeed Ayers has claimed to have written Dreams From My Father -- twice, in fact, in recent days. But, as many bloggers -- including a few conservative ones -- have pointed out, Ayers was very likely joking.
On Tuesday, blogger Anne Leary said she ran into Ayers at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, where Ayers admitted to having written the book, and offered to split the royalties with Leary if she could find proof:
Then, unprompted he said--I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said--Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He's about my height, short. He went on to say--and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again--I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said--I wrote it. I said--why would I believe you, you're a liar.
He had no answer to that. Just looked at me. Then he turned and walked off, and said again his bit about my proving it and splitting the proceeds.
And at a book festival last week, a National Journal writer asked Ayers about the authorship of Dreams. Ayers reportedly responded:
"Here's what I'm going to say. This is my quote. Be sure to write it down: 'Yes, I wrote Dreams From My Father. I ghostwrote the whole thing. I met with the president three or four times, and then I wrote the entire book.'" He released National Journal's arm, and beamed in Marxist triumph. "And now I would like the royalties."
"So what's going on here?" asks The Hill. "The most likely scenario is that Ayers is simply amused by the endless theories surrounding his relationship (or lack thereof) with Obama and has decided to stoke the fire for fun."
"It sounds like Ayers is jerking some chains," wrote conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg.
"Ayers is messing with conservatives," David Weigel wrote at the Washington Independent, adding that he's confident of the assertion because Ayers has, in the past, "done it to me."
But some bloggers continue to believe. "Despite her parting shot, Anne [Leary] was convinced Ayers was in earnest," wrote James Simpson at Examiner.com "He was making a public statement. He wanted this news out there.
"Was he, as she had asked, pulling our collective legs? Other sources report rumors that Ayers is very upset both about not getting any credit for helping Obama on ‘Dreams,’ and may also be put off by being summarily thrown under the bus along with Rev. Wright and everyone else who becomes an inconvenience to this president."
As Roy Edroso wrote at the Village Voice, "proof does nothing to stories like this. That Bill Ayers wrote Obama's book will be turning up as accepted, scientific fact for years to come."