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Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Just as much as anyone else who supports John McCain, I really hope that the story about the Michelle Obama tape is true. It would really let Americans know what this guy is all about.

But the more I hear/read about it the more I doubt its true (I hope I am wrong). Let me explain why I think it will never see the light of day.

  • I First Heard about it from Geraldo. Everyone knows that you have to doubt his reports, unless he is giving US Troop positions.
  • If this tape exists, why haven't the masters of dirty politics, the Clinton's found it and distributed it?
  • If the Republican party really has this tape, why would they wait till October. Releasing it now would throw the entire democratic convention is disarray.
  • Jim Geraghty is say that there is a question of what she really said, to paraphrase Prince Hamlet, Whitey, or Why'd He? THAT is the question:

Is the Michelle Obama Tape a Matter of Enunciation?


A really interesting theory about the alleged Michelle Obama tape, which could explain a lot, from the liberal blog Booman Tribune. Michelle, offering a speech critical of President Bush, offers a refrain of "why'd he" — the words "why did he" mushed together — that sounds like "whitey" on the tape.

Apparently, if the tape ever comes to light, her words will sound something like:

Whitey cut folks off Medicaid?
Whitey let New Orleans drown?
Whitey do nothing about Jena?
Whitey put us in Iraq for no reason?*

...when the intended message is,

Why'd he cut folks off Medicaid?
Why'd he let New Orleans drown?
Why'd he do nothing about Jena?
Why'd he put us in Iraq for no reason?

Or so we will be told. The irony is, if the latter interpretation is accurate, we still have a potential first lady accusing her husband's predecessor of "letting" New Orleans drown.

UPDATE: Contemplating the rumor below, I wondered when and how Michelle Obama and Louis Farrkhan would appear on a panel together. Farrakhan doesn't seem like the type to voluntarily share the stage. But then I noted that in late 2007, Trinity United gave Farrakhan its lifetime achievement award with a full ceremony — the video shown that evening is still on YouTube, with the feminine announcer declaring, "For his commitment to truth, education and leadership, we honor Minister Louis Farrakhan with the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. lifetime achievement award." (Before you ask, the announcer is not Michelle Obama.) Is it possible the two are at the head table for a banquet? Is this the circumstance of Michelle Obama's remarks?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Readers point out that whether this is a question ("Why'd he") or a statement ("whitey") should be fairly clear from the intonation of the sentence, if we ever get to hear the audio of the tape. The pitch usually increases for a question, and decreases for a statement.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: There's another transcript floating around FreeRepublic and elsewhere that would make it hard to believe that this is a mispronunciation of "why'd he." I have no idea where this alternative transcript comes from, and note that those who are posting it to various conservative chat rooms, etc., give no sense of where they heard it from.

An interesting point about the alternative explanation posted on Booman Tribune. Whoever felt the need to give that clarifying transcript to a liberal blog is, by that action, confirming that the tape exists.


Don P said...

I have to agree with you. I suspect that if there was an actual tape, it would have been out by now. If that many people have seen it, there must be more than one copy, and if more than one copy, it would be on you-tube by now.

Dimensio said...

There exists absolutely no evidence that any video, as reported by Larry Johnson, exists.

Following the outbreak of reports on the rumour of the existence of the video, a Fark user named “1000 Hurts” speculated that what would be presented would be a video of Michelle Obama saying “why’d he” several times and that the quality of the audio made it more or less easy to misinterpret the phrase “why’d he” as “whitey”. Note, however, that this claim was pure speculation; it was not based upon any actual known video or audio recording of Michelle Obama.

This speculation may be seen at

Other internet forum users began repeating the speculation on other Internet forums. Unfortunately, in so doing they reworded and restated the initial speculation when doing so and, over successive iterations, the claims have been misinterpreted as fact based upon a known (though wholly unsourced and undemonstrable) recorded speech.

Individuals promoting the fraudulent claim of such a video — either because they wish for the claim to be true or because they are knowingly promoting a lie — have since utilized this misunderstood speculation as proof of the existence of a video; their reasoning is that the attempts to “explain” Michelle’s wording is evidence that those promoting the “explanation” must have seen the video. Larry Johnson has gone so far as to claim that the “why’d he” explanation was released by the Obama campaign, which is simply false.

It would appear that the alleged transcript excerpt is also based upon this speculation, incorporating the misunderstood hypothetical explanation of Michelle saying “why’d he” combined with an actual use of the word “whitey” in an attempt to show that the explanation, while true, does not vindicate Michelle Obama against charges of racially-tilted rhetoric.

I have concluded that the claim of any such video is fraudulent. No evidence for its existence has been given. Larry Johnson’s claim, issued today, that he has spoken to individuals who have spoken to individuals who have seen the video — thus asserting that he is two levels removed from actually viewing the video — strains credibility so far that it almost as though it appears that he is attempting to deliberately make the story resemble a poorly supported urban legend. Attacks upon Barack Obama should be based upon legitimate criticisms of his various stated policy issues — for example, valid arguments can be made that his positions on firearms restrictions are in direct opposition to the statements of the United States Constitution. Attacks upon Barack Obama that are based upon highly dubious rumour and innuendo are dishonest and dishonorable.