Will Michelle Obama tape 'change political atmosphere in America'?
African news says she should 'come clean,' but candidate's campaign calls story 'made up'
Posted: October 16, 2008 - 2008 WorldNetDaily
The African Press International news agency, which reported that Michelle Obama called to protest its coverage of WND investigative stories about her husband – characterizing the source of the material as "racist" and describing WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi as "evil" – now is calling on the possible first lady of the United States to "come clean" about her call.
As WND reported, the Norway-based API said Michelle Obama called to accuse the agency of "colluding with American Internet bloggers in an effort to bring down her husband."
The Obama campaign immediately denied there had been any telephone call from Michelle Obama, flatly dismissing the story as "not real" and "made up." API later responded by claiming it had recorded the conversation. Besieged by demands from both sides of a campaign that has reached the white-hot stage, the agency said although it had the tapes, it would not release them immediately.
Now, in a statement dated Friday because of the time difference, API Chief Editor Korir has promised that the tape will be made available after his lawyers clear it for publication, and he denied being an advocate either for or against Obama's campaign.
He said the delay also is intended to allow Michelle Obama to explain her actions first.
There was no response to a WND call to the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago tonight to request a comment.
"A number of Americans who are die-hard Obama followers have tried their best to intimidate API using all kinds of threatening methods when they call in and when they e-mail us," the API statement said. "They are implying that API is planning to destroy Obama's chances to become the next U.S. president. API does not have a direct interest in the U.S. presidential elections and we want Obama supporters to understand that. However, when someone who may become the next first lady makes such comments as in the story we have published, the public have the right to know. Intimidation directed to the publishers of the story is not the answer.
"The delay to make public the recordings is expected to give time to Mrs. Obama to come clean and tell the American people that her comments were not meant to harm anyone but that she was reacting to the media pressure on her husband. She should also come out and tell the American people that she will not discriminate those who are not Obama fanatics if she becomes the first lady," the statement said.
Those on the other side of the political fence also were told to back off.
"Those who do not support Obama are actively pushing for the release of the recordings also, and we understand them very well. In many telephone conversations with them we, however, get disturbed when we realize that most of them want the recordings to be released because they want to use it to stop Senator Obama from being elected president. They state clearly that if the story is true and released now, the contents will sa[v]e America from a constitutional crisis that may come if things come out after the elections that proves Obama was adopted by a foreigner, thus, disqualifying him from the presidency," Korir wrote.
The statement confirmed that API "has recordings of the conversation between API and Mrs. Obama" and "we confirm that the audio will be released to the public."
"In the last 24 hours, API has been consulting legal advisers on the way forward in order to avoid being sued by the Obama camp. API has realized that the contents of the tapes if made public may change the political atmosphere in America for ever, especially in the next few days," the statement said.
"API now understands the impact of the statements made by Mrs. Obama. The American people have reacted in a way we in API would never have expected.
"Many have question[ed] why Mrs. Obama would choose a little known online media group instead of the American media. API was chosen because of a Nairobi contact that did not like the way API was covering Barack Obama using information collected from American media outlets. The Nairobi contact prevailed upon Mrs. Obama to talk to API," the statement said.
"The only thing API may have done wrong is not informing Mrs. Obama that the conversation was being recorded. This is why it is taking time to release the recording while consulting a legal team because API wants to be legally safe from any Obama camp law suit," Korir wrote.
"API is not out to convince the American public of anything. We do not want to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections. API got a true story and published it. The fact that the story has caused a stir was unexpected, but that does not mean API must rush in a manner that will cause problems to itself, just to satisfy those who want the audio tapes so badly," the statement said. "When the legal concerns are cleared, which is happening in a short while, API will make public all the recordings available. This will also include comments, not yet published, which will most certainly put the Obama campaign spokesperson who had dismissed the story off balance.
"Even if our recordings or any other recordings had surfaced after the elections and if the contents were damaging to the elected person that still could have caused any elected president to vacate the White House. We all know that the tapes released in the U.S. in 1974 forced President Richard Nixon out of office. The truth is the truth. The tapes during Nixon time did not lie. The same here. The recordings that API will release soon will not lie to the American people. Most probably, it will change the political landscape, something the Americans should start getting prepared to face," Korir suggested.
API's original report said Mrs. Obama said she had hoped the African media "was mature enough to be in the front to give unwavering support to her husband, a man Africans should identify themselves with."
API's account said it was "only relaying what the American bloggers and other media outlets had discovered through their investigations." This, according to the story, angered her.
"African Press International is supposed to support Africans and African-American view," she reportedly said. "It is strange that API has chosen to support the racists against my husband. There is no shame in being adopted by a stepfather. All dirt has been thrown onto my husband's face and yet he loves this country. My husband and I know that there is no law that will stop him from becoming the president, just because some American white racists are bringing up the issue of my husband's adoption by his stepfather. The important thing here is where my husband's heart is at the moment. I can tell the American people that my husband loves this country and his adoption never changed his love for this country. He was born in Hawaii, yes, and that gives him all the right to be an American citizen even though he was adopted by a foreigner."
After the initial API report, Tommy Vietor, an Obama campaign spokesman, told National Review's Byron York the conversation didn't happen.
"The answer is no, it's not real, the report is made up. She did not speak to the organization," Vietor said, according to York's report on National Review Online's blog "The Corner."
Korir, however, responded to WND's e-mail confirming the report is accurate.
"API hereby confirms to you that the story is true and if the huge interest on this particular story continues, we will post the recording on our website in the next immediate days," his e-mail said.
API asked Michelle Obama to comment on the detention of Corsi during his visit last week to Kenya, where he was investigating the presidential candidate's links to a controversial strongman serving as prime minister.
"When API asked Mrs. Obama to comment on why Dr. Corsi was arrested by the Kenyan government and whether she thought Kenya's prime minister, Mr. Raila Odinga, was involved in Dr. Corsi's arrest, she got irritated and simply told API not to dig [into] that which will support evil people who are out to stop her husband from getting the presidency," the publication reported.
API also said the Democratic candidate's wife had some clear instructions for the publication.
"Mrs. Obama asked API to write a good story about her husband and that will earn API an invitation to the inauguration ceremony when, as she put it, her husband will be installed as the next President of the United States of America next year," the report said.