HONOLULU - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama hit back Thursday with a 40-page rebuttal to the best-selling book "The Obama Nation," arguing the author is a fringe bigot peddling rehashed lies.
Jerome Corsi's anti-Obama book, "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality," claims the Illinois senator is a dangerous, radical candidate for president. The book is a compilation of all the innuendo and false rumors against Obama — that he was raised a Muslim, attended a radical, black church and secretly has a "black rage" hidden beneath the surface.
In fact, Obama is a Christian who attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
The Obama campaign picked apart the book's claims in a rebuttal titled "Unfit For Publication," to be posted on the Obama campaign's rumor-fighting Web site, FightTheSmears.com. The title is a play on the book Corsi co-authored against 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's military service called "Unfit For Command."
"Jerome Corsi is a discredited liar who is peddling another piece of garbage to continue the Bush-Cheney politics he helped perpetuate four years ago," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "His is just one of what will likely be many more lie-filled books rushed to print this election cycle, which are cobbled together from debunked Internet sources to make money and advance a partisan agenda. We will respond to these smears forcefully with all means at our disposal."
Corsi's book is off to a swift start and is No. 1 on The New York Times' hardcover nonfiction best-seller list, even though Obama's campaign would argue the book should be listed as fiction.
Obama's campaign says the book is full of factual inaccuracies that include the wrong date for the Obamas' marriage. Corsi also writes that Obama left much of his family background out of his autobiographies — his father's polygamy and alcoholism, his sister's birth in Indonesia and that his then-fiance Michelle accompanied him on a visit to Kenya — but the campaign points out page numbers from "Dreams From My Father" where Obama discussed all those things.
In "The Obama Nation" — the title is a twist on the word abomination — Corsi catalogs various allegations that have haunted Obama on right-wing blogs and anonymous e-mails.
Corsi suggests, without a shred of proof, that Obama may be using drugs today. Obama has acknowledged using marijuana and cocaine as a teenager but says he quit when he went to college and hasn't used drugs since.
Corsi makes an issue of the fact that, before he quit smoking cigarettes, Obama didn't want it widely known that he smoked. "If Obama takes pains to hide his smoking from us, what else does he take pains to hide?" Corsi asks in the book.
Corsi also dwells on Obama's mother marrying Obama's African father and later marrying someone from Indonesia — whom Corsi describes as "a second man of color to be her mate." The Obama campaign says the description is one of many examples of Corsi's "offensive language" in the book.
He claims Obama received extensive Islamic religious education as a boy in Indonesia, education that was only offered to the truly faithful. Actually, Obama is a Christian and as a boy he attended both Catholic school and Indonesian public schools where some basic study of the Koran was offered.
He accuses Obama of wanting to weaken the military even though Obama's campaign calls for adding 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 Marines.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Corsi defended raising the issue of drugs without any evidence.
"I don't need more," he said. "I'm putting this question forward. I'm putting the evidence forward. Voters can make up their own minds."
Corsi writes for World Net Daily, a conservative Web site whose lead headline Thursday was "Astonishing photo claims: Dead Bigfoot stored on ice."
In a series of Web posts several years ago, Corsi said Pope John Paul II was senile and unconcerned about sexual molestation of boys, referred to Islam is "a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion" and suggested Kerry was secretly Jewish.
Corsi apologized for the remarks and now says he didn't mean them and was simply trying to provoke discussion.
"Obama Nation" is published by Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster that is run by Mary Matalin, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Corsi readily acknowledges the political goal of his book. He considers Obama a "radical leftist" who should not be elected president. Corsi said he has no plans to work against Obama with groups comparable to 2004's Swift Boat Veterans for Truth but said he would be willing to consider it.
Kerry has set up his own Web site, http://www.truthfightsback.com, to push back against accusations from Corsi and others.
Associated Press Writer Christopher Wills in Springfield, Ill., contributed to this report
This video is from CNN's Larry King Live, broadcast August 13, 2008.