10-part report raises questions about narrative of Obama's early life
First lady Michelle Obama told the Democratic National Convention that "Barack and I were both raised by families who didn't have much in the way of money or material possessions."
It is a claim the president has repeated in his books, on the speech-making circuit and in countless media interviews. By his account, he grew up in a broken home with a single mom, struggled for years as a child in an impoverished Third World country and then was raised by his grandparents in difficult circumstances.
The facts aren't nearly so clear-cut.
Ann Dunham was just 18 years old when she gave birth to Obama. She was a freshman at the University of Hawaii. His Kenyan father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., was a few years older than Ann. They were married against family wishes.
Obama Sr. does not appear to have been welcoming or compassionate toward his new wife or son. It later turned out that he was secretly married to a Kenyan woman back home at the same time he fathered the young Obama.
He abandoned Obama Jr.'s mother when the boy was 1. In 1964, Dunham filed for a divorce that was not contested. Her parents helped to raise the young Obama.
Obama's mother met her second husband, an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro, while working at the East-West Center in Hawaii. They married, and in 1967, the young Obama, then known as Barry Soetoro, traveled to Indonesia with his mother when the Indonesian government recalled his stepfather.
In Indonesia, the family's circumstances improved dramatically. According to Obama in his autobiography "Dreams from My Father," Lolo's brother-in-law was "making millions as a high official in the national oil company." It was through this brother-in-law that Obama's stepfather got a coveted job as a government relations officer with the Union Oil Co.
The family then moved to Menteng, then and now the most exclusive neighborhood of Jakarta, where bureaucrats, diplomats and economic elites reside.
A popular Indonesia travel site describes Menteng: "Designed by the Dutch Colonial Government in 1920s, Menteng still retains its graceful existence with its beautiful parks, cozy street cafes and luxurious housing complexes."
In 1971, his mother sent young Obama back to Hawaii, where his grandmother, Madelyn, known as Toots, would become one of the first female vice presidents of a Honolulu bank. His grandfather was in sales.
Obama's grandparents moved the same year into Punahou Circle Apartments, a sleek new 10-story apartment building just five blocks from the private Punahou School, which Obama would attend from 1971 to 1979.
Chapter I: A childhood of privilege, not hardship | WashingtonExaminer.com
The Full Ten Chapters Here
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